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#14

in 2011 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $16,407 - $26,668
Original MSRP: $29,355 - $45,520
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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Used Car: 2011 Ford Flex Review

Review Last Updated: 12/31/12

Strong safety scores and a versatile interior are among the 2011 Ford Flex’s strengths. However, a low reliability rating drags the Flex down in this highly-competitive class.

The 2011 Ford Flex is ranked:

When it was new, reviewers said that the 2011 Ford Flex had one of the roomiest third rows in the class, and they loved the Flex’s family-friendly features, like an available refrigerated back-seat console. Plus, critics were impressed with the power from the available turbocharged EcoBoost engine. Test drivers said that one of the Flex’s best qualities, though, is its boxy exterior. Crossover SUVs all tend to look the same, but reviewers said the 2011 Flex will be sure to make an impression.

The 2011 Ford Flex is available with two engines: a 262-horsepower V6 and a 355-horsepower turbocharged EcoBoost V6. The base engine can be paired with front- or all-wheel drive, while the EcoBoost engine is only available with all-wheel drive. Reviewers were pleased with the performance from the more powerful EcoBoost V6, and said that the base engine was adequate for most situations. However, a few complained that the Flex’s transmission was slow to downshift when the accelerator was depressed for more power.

The Flex gets up to 17/24 mpg city/highway, which is about average for the class. In terms of handling, most critics agreed that the Flex offers a smooth ride, but they also said the base model isn’t exciting to drive. The Flex has an excellent safety score, though its reliability rating is below the class average.

The base Flex SE is fairly well-equipped with a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, automatic headlights, power front seats, reverse parking sensors and a six-speaker audio system. Higher trims offer features that include leather-trimmed seats with suede inserts, navigation, heated front seats, a backup camera, a power liftgate, a power-folding third row and a 12-speaker Sony audio system.

See the full 2011 Ford Flex specs »

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Other Cars to Consider

While the Flex falters with an unimpressive reliability rating, the 2011 Toyota Highlander earns a solid score within the class. The Flex does offer more spacious seating and a slightly higher safety score, but the base Highlander offers good fuel economy ratings and a functional, high-quality interior.

If you want an SUV that’s fun to drive, consider the 2011 Mazda CX-9. Reviewers said the CX-9 was one of the sportier-handling SUVs on the market when it was new, and that the engine is strong enough for most drivers. Though the CX-9’s third row doesn’t have as much space, its long list of standard features impressed test drivers.

Compare the Flex to the Highlander and CX-9 »