2012 Ford Flex Review
The Ford Flex is a great alternative for those who need minivan utility but don’t want minivan styling. Test drivers say it has above-average driving dynamics, interior space and interior tech for an affordable midsize SUV.
Reviewers rave about the 2012 Ford Flex’s high-tech interior, adult-sized third row and optional EcoBoost engine. Most also give its boxy exterior styling a big thumbs up, though they recognize that it won’t appeal to all shoppers. "The 2012 Ford Flex has the space, the versatility, the features and the driving dynamics to make it a top choice among large family crossovers,” says Edmunds. “However, the very thing that makes it extra appealing to some (styling) may drive others away.”
The 2012 Ford Flex comes with an long list of standard features and a high-quality interior. But test drivers note that in order to get the best stuff Ford has to offer, you’ll have to check off a lot of option boxes. Some of their favorite items are only available as extra-cost add-ons, even on the highest trim level. For instance, test drivers love the Flex’s Vista Roof four-panel moon roof, turbocharged EcoBoost engine, Active Park Assist and refrigerated second-row console, but opting for all these features will add more than $9,000 onto the price of the already-expensive Titanium trim.
Still, if you pick and choose your options and packages carefully, reviewers say you’re in for a treat. The base six-cylinder engine is no slouch, but the EcoBoost V6 adds paddle shifters and a sporty driving experience to the Flex. Plus, nearly all reviewers say the Flex’s boxy, retro styling will make any parent seem hip. If you need an adult-size third row of seats, but can’t bring yourself to buy a minivan, reviewers say the 2012 Ford Flex is an excellent choice.
Other SUVs to Consider
If you’re looking for a three-row crossover with looks that will stand out in the car pool line, you should also take a look at the Dodge Durango. This macho dad-mobile has aggressive looks and a powerful V8 that keeps it on the sporty side of the crossover market. Plus, it starts at about $29,200, which is about $200 less than the Flex. However, its third row of seats is nowhere near as roomy as the Flex’s.
Shoppers who will choose function over form will be best served by a minivan like the Honda Odyssey. The Odyssey ranks at the top of its class for its extensive list of standard features, flexible interior and decent on-road handling. Plus, with five LATCH connectors, it can hold more child seats than just about any other vehicle on the market. The Honda Odyssey starts at about $28,100, which is about $1,300 less than the base Ford Flex, but like the Flex, it gets expensive with options.
Details: Ford Flex
The 2012 Ford Flex is offered in four trims, with several drivetrain and options configurations. The base Flex SE starts at about $29,400, and comes standard with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob, power windows, audio input jack and front-wheel drive. Stepping up to the approximately $32,000 Flex SEL trim adds power-adjustable heated sideview mirrors, larger wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control and the option to add all-wheel drive. The Flex Limited, which starts at about $35,700, adds a standard rearview camera, woodgrain-look interior trim, memory driver’s seat and a power liftgate. The top-of-the-line Flex Titanium comes standard with unique appearance tweaks, a Sony audio system with 12 speakers and leather-trimmed first- and second-row seats. Notable options on all trims include a refrigerated second-row center console, dual-headrest rear-seat DVD entertainment system and vinyl-upholstered, power-folding third row seats.
For 2012, the Ford Flex sees only minor changes compared with the 2011 model. Ford has dropped the EcoBoost option for Flex SEL models, so if you want the turbocharged powerplant, you’ll have to opt for the $35,650 Limited trim or the $38,145 Titanium trim.
- “Regardless of which trim suits your fancy, Flex delivers good handling and refined overall behavior. This is a people mover that merits our approval.” -- Consumer Guide
- "Let your neighbors pine over anonymous-looking Honda Pilots. The Flex manages all the usual child-corralling, boat-towing feats but still looks contrarian enough to drive while wearing hipster glasses. The additional power of the twin-turbo V-6 sure doesn't hurt.” -- Automobile Magazine
- "If all you need is room for the family, a minivan or mid-size SUV could certainly do the trick, but neither have the cutting-edge cool the square-as-a-shoebox Flex seems to ooze. You might even have to wrestle your teenagers for driving privileges - and why not? With room for lots of their friends, an optional built-in refrigerator and the technology-friendly SYNC audio system, the Flex can easily transform itself from family transport to Friday-night cruiser with just a turn of the ignition.” -- Kelley Blue Book