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#12

in 2010 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $14,877 - $23,725
Original MSRP: $28,950 - $42,465
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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2010 Ford Flex Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2010 Ford Flex delivers competent -- albeit a bit boring -- performance. Test drivers especially liked the ample engine power and smooth ride, but most classified the overall driving experience as just adequate.

  • “The Flex with EcoBoost is more than just a Flex with a different engine. The engineering team has also modified the suspension with stiffer springs, higher damping rates, and a ride height that has been lowered by ten millimeters. Combined with the already-low ride height and excellent body control, the subtle changes make this Flex one of the best handling crossovers on the market and do a good job of disguising its 4839-pound weight." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The EcoBoost'd Flex drives like a nicely sorted, and much lighter, car. The increased bodyroll management makes for probably the smoothest CUV driving experience we can remember. Grab the thick, leather-lined steering wheel and guide the Flex like you would any other car. No amusement park rollercoastering, no dancing from side-to-side. It's a job well done." -- Autoblog
  • "The 2010 Ford Flex is rather unremarkable to drive, but it's not offensive either. The ride is always comfortable -- even with the bigger wheels." -- Edmunds
  • "Despite the additional power, Flex is still a very staid ride, more of a family hauler than a hot rod -- not a criticism, just an observation and categorization. As a matter of taste, I prefer an SUV that's a little lighter on its feet, a little more responsive than the Flex." -- About.com

Acceleration and Power

The Flex comes with a more than adequate base engine -- a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 262 horsepower. New for 2010 was an available twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, available on SE and SEL models only, that makes 355 horsepower while taking only a minimal toll on fuel economy. Test drivers loved the EcoBoost’s extra power, but said you don’t really need it unless you want a more fun driving experience.

According to the EPA, the FWD Flex should net 17/24 mpg city/highway, while AWD models (including those with the EcoBoost engine) should get 16/22 mpg city/highway.

  • "The 4,839-pound Flex is well served by the EcoBoost. The turbos don't wait to kick in, so the plenary complement of torque is available from 1,500 rpm. Acceleration is a feel good event, especially considering you're driving something that's sized like a Costco on wheels." -- Autoblog
  • "While the normally aspirated engines -- a 3.6-liter V-6 in the Acadia and a 5.7-liter V-8 in the Dodge Durango -- wheezed from a lack of air, the Ecoboost's turbochargers kept the Flex steaming ahead." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The base V6 is adequate for a vehicle this size, motivating the Flex with enough gusto to keep up with competing crossovers. The six-speed automatic can be frustrating, though, often refusing to downshift unless you put your foot to the floor. The twin-turbo V6 is a different story, giving the Flex a sport wagon flavor and offering direct control of the transmission via the standard shift paddles." -- Edmunds
  • "Though its passing power falls a bit short of a V-6 Toyota Highlander or Chevy Traverse, the Flex's base 262-horsepower V-6 should prove capable enough for most buyers. The 355-hp EcoBoost is far more than just capable: Even with the added weight of standard all-wheel drive, it handily steams past both competitors. It's quicker than any other non-luxury crossover I've driven lately. Turbo lag, which used to be the bane of most turbocharged cars, is virtually undetectable." -- Cars.com
  • “Although we were impressed by the available acceleration, and used it for passing maneuvers, merging with traffic, and climbing hills, it seemed like overkill, as the standard V-6 felt adequate for the 2009 Ford Flex we tested earlier." -- CNET

Handling and Braking

The Flex features an independent front and rear suspension that make for a smooth – though relatively unexciting -- ride. It also has power rack-and-pinion steering and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes.

  • "Combined with confident body control and surprising handling, the torque-monster (EcoBoost) engine creates a fun driving experience. All-wheel drive provides sure footing, and the paddle shifters allowed us to run up and down through the gears and keep boost at the ready." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "That said, the Flex EcoBoost is no handling champ. There's plenty of body roll on twisty roads, and the nose dives under hard braking. The standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes suffer from a mushy pedal." -- Cars.com
  • "Where the stock Flex wobbles and floats over bumps and through corners like the crossover that it is, the EcoBoost felt downright sporty. That's no small achievement for a 4,600 lb. tall wagon. Crisp handling, a rarity in a world of electric power steering, and a taut but composed ride gave the Flex a truly world-class feel that we haven't encountered in its Japanese or domestic rivals." -- Left Lane News
  • "The chassis is well tuned for a family crossover, with pleasantly direct steering that has just the right amount of boost and good on-center feel." -- Car and Driver
  • "As if the styling isn't enough to differentiate the Flex from workaday crossovers and stroller-toting minivans, Ford has been eager to make the driving experience something unexpected. And, indeed, for a big ocean-going passenger liner of a vehicle, the Flex is pretty damn composed through bends." -- Edmunds