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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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2011 Ford Flex Interior

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

The Ford Flex's six-seat (seven-seat-available) interior boasts spacious theater-style seating and plenty of cargo versatility. Though most reviewers were impressed with the quality and look of the cabin, a few still said there are too many hard plastics.

  • "For the first time in years, we are actually impressed with a Ford vehicle's interior materials, such as the nice seat fabrics, decent leather, lots of padded surfaces, and the tasteful splashes of shiny chrome." -- Car and Driver
  • "The cabin presents well, with most hard-plastic surfaces hidden from view. Some testers find the mixture of textures and colors less than tasteful." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Ford Flex's interior quality is top-notch, with abundant soft-touch materials and an attractive, upscale design. The spacious layout affords true seven-passenger seating -- even the third row is hospitable for full-size adults." -- Edmunds
  • "The Flex is one of the more quiet vehicles we have tested in a longtime, which is amazing considering the last time we drove a boxy vehicle down a highway, it whistled like a teapot at full boil. Not so with the Flex." -- Left Lane News
  • "While the primary dash surfaces are covered in decent plastic, secondary surfaces on the transmission tunnel are very low rent. Worst of all, start feeling around and sharp plastic edges abound." -- Jalopnik
  • "Cabin quality is good, but the Flex isn't Ford's best effort. Padded materials with attractive finishes line the dash and doors, but they overlap a number of cheaper, grainier plastics from Ford's not-so-halcyon days of interior quality." -- Cars.com

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Front-Row Seats

Interestingly enough, the Flex's front-row seats don't get as much praise as its second and third rows -- largely because more than one tester had trouble finding a good driving position.

On base models, manual cloth seats are standard, and leather seating isn’t available. SEL and Limited models get power heated front seats, while the Limited gets standard leather upholstery in the first and second rows. The Titanium model upgrades to charcoal black leather-trimmed first- and second-row seats with gray Alcantara suede inserts.

  • "Ironically, for me, the Flex's least comfortable seat was the left front, thanks to an aggressively raked (per federal mandate) passive head restraint that forced my noggin too far forward. The only alternative is an active headrest, which Ford needs to find the budget to offer." -- Motor Trend
  • "A defining asset. Ample space for drivers of any size on very supportive seats. Large door openings and a low step-in height make for easy entry and exit. Narrow roof pillars allow for decent visibility in all directions. Kudos to Ford for adding a telescopic adjustment to the steering column." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Even with power-adjustable pedals, the driving position for our six-foot two-inch frame wasn't optimal. The steering column adjusts for rake, but does not telescope. To get the legroom we needed, our arms were forced awkwardly outstretched. The headrests, oversized to limit head and neck injury in a crash, rested uncomfortably close to our heads even after we tweaked them." -- Autoblog

Second- and Third-Row Seats

The Flex seats six with captain's chairs in the second row or seven with an available second-row bench. Reviewers generally found the seats to be surprisingly comfortable, but the biggest surprise of all is that the two-person third row is big enough for adults. That’s quite a compliment for a midsize SUV.

Another plus is that you can fit three car seats in the Flex. It provides the LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tether Anchors for Children) at the second-row outboard positions and at the third-row passenger side.

  • "Adults will occupy the third row without protest, and still remain on speaking terms with the others. With above-average legroom, and skylights overhead in our Limited model, it is far from claustrophobic sitting in the 'way-back.'" -- Autoblog
  • "Access to the third-row seat is as easy as pressing a single button on the C-pillar that electrically folds and dumps the middle seat. Once back there, moderately sized adults can easily tolerate a cross-town commute, enjoying reasonable legroom and stadium-seat forward visibility that can be further improved with the headroom-expanding $1495 Vista Roof option. ..." -- Motor Trend
  • "Another deal maker is the standard two-butt third row that is quite comfortable for average-size adults -- knees and toes included -- and getting back there is a snap, thanks to a single-motion second-row release and huge, tall rear doors." -- Car and Driver
  • "The second row offers more legroom than the front (43 inches compared with 41 inches) and it's here that the Flex really stands out. If you choose the optional captain chairs over the standard bench seat, you may loose space for one passenger but did you really need it? You feel like Capt. Kirk in the second row of the Flex." -- The Detroit News
  • "With bench or bucket seats, Flex is generally adult friendly in back as well. Larger riders in the 2nd row will have limited knee clearance behind a front passenger of similar size. Headroom is ample, though center passengers on the standard bench seat will have to contend with an awkward floor hump. The 3rd row is no penalty box for adults under 5-foot-8-inches." -- Consumer Guide

Interior Features

The Flex has easy-to-use controls and offers plenty of high-tech features. Standard equipment for the base model includes front and rear climate control, a manual tilt and telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, remote keyless entry and an audio input jack. Plenty of high-tech options were available when it was new. Highlights include a dual-headrest DVD entertainment system, Ford’s SYNC infotainment system and a voice-activated navigation system.

A multi-panel vista roof consists of four skylights covering all three rows of occupants. But the coolest feature -- literally -- is a refrigerated second-row console. It can chill up to seven 12-ounce cans, four half-liter bottles or two 20-ounce bottles. It even has a freeze mode. But it’s only available on the Limited and Titanium models.

  • "Big gauges are clearly marked and easy to read. Most controls are handy, large, and easy to find. The available navigation system absorbs only a few audio and climate functions." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Sync, when incorporated with the navigation system, has the best touch screen set up in the automotive world. It's easy to use manually and just as easy through voice commands. Of course, Sync doesn't punish you if you don't get the navigation system, because it will still work easily without it. It's nice to have those choices." -- The Detroit News
  • "Although we've used Sync's voice command in other cars over the last couple of years, it is still phenomenal how well it recognizes even the most difficult artist names. Similarly, Sync let us dial people in our paired phone's contact list just by saying their names." -- CNET
  • "Typical Ford controls occupy places in the center stack, and they are all logically placed and easily identifiable." -- Left Lane News

Cargo

Reviewers loved the Ford Flex’s cargo versatility. In fact, every seat except the driver's seat folds flat for optimum capacity. On top of that, the Flex comes with a lockable glove box, 10 cup and bottle holders, second-row coat hooks and grocery bag hooks in the cargo area. A power liftgate is standard on Limited and Titanium models.

As far as cargo capacity goes, the Flex will carry plenty if you fold down the second and third rows. But if you have a full house, reviewers say the Flex’s remaining cargo area isn’t too useful. The Flex provides 20 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats in use, 43.2 with the third row folded down and a maximum of 83.2 with the second row folded down.

  • "The Flex will carry almost everything for sale at the home improvement store, thanks to its 10-ft. cargo-length capacity (from instrument panel to liftgate)." -- AutoMedia.com
  • "The cargo area is vast. The load floor is completely flat with the seat backs folded. Kudos to Ford for offering a power-folding 3rd-row, but we wish it were available across the entire Flex lineup, rather than only on the most-expensive versions. Without power operation, collapsing the seats requires more steps and stretching than in most SUVs." -- Consumer Guide
  • "With one or two third-row seats folded flat, there's lots of room for stuff but obviously less for people. With all seats folded flat, the Flex can swallow just about anything." -- AutoWeek
  • "The cargo-area width is a full four feet, so go crazy at Best Buy -- it's going to fit." -- Car and Driver
  • "A grocery net fills in the very back, and the auto-opening rear door allows easy entry to the rear cargo areas. It also comes in handy during frequent rain showers that are so prevalent here in South Florida." -- Left Lane News
  • "The lack of cargo space in the rear when the third-row seats are in use could be a problem for large families." -- CNET