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2013 Ford Flex - Review

 
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9.2
/ 10
TCC Rating
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BASE
INVOICE
$29,123
BASE
MSRP
$30,900
Quick Take
With an unmistakable design, strong performance, and a roomy, comfortable interior, the 2013 Ford Flex proves that three-row crossovers don't have to be boring. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features
Mileage

Mini-Cooper-on-a-high-protein-diet look

Autoblog »

smart styling

Automobile »

The blue oval grille badge is gone, replaced by extra-width “FLEX” lettering spanning the hood's leading edge.

AutoWeek »

a Taurus Country Squire sans wood siding

Motor Trend »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$30,900 $43,820
MSRP $30,900
INVOICE $29,123
Get Price Quote
4-Door FWD SE
Gas Mileage 17 mpg City/24 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas V6, 3.5L
EPA Class 2WD Sport Utility Vehicle
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 7
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style 4dr Car
See Detailed Specs »
9.2 out of 10
The Car Connection
2013 Ford Flex
9.2
/ 10
TCC Rating
MSRP from $30,900
Get FREE Price Quote

Shopping for a new Ford Flex?

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Choose a Style Below for Colors and Options
STYLE INVOICE MSRP
2013 Ford Flex 4-Door SE FWD
4-Door FWD SE
Gas V6, 3.5L
Front Wheel Drive
$ 29,123 $ 30,900
2013 Ford Flex 4-Door SEL FWD
4-Door FWD SEL
Gas V6, 3.5L
Front Wheel Drive
$ 31,052 $ 33,300
2013 Ford Flex 4-Door SEL AWD
4-Door AWD SEL
Gas V6, 3.5L
All Wheel Drive
$ 32,872 $ 35,250
2013 Ford Flex 4-Door Limited FWD
4-Door FWD Limited
Gas V6, 3.5L
Front Wheel Drive
$ 36,554 $ 39,200
More Styles »

The Basics:

The boxy 2013 Ford Flex wagon isn't just fashionable; it's one of the better picks for a cross-country trip; and for carrying six adults out for the evening; and for busy moms; and for all of an afternoon's ill-advised IKEA purchases.

Catch our drift? While the Flex looks like a vehicle that must have some sort of deal-breaking packaging flaw, there really isn't. Compared to most other crossovers on the market, the Flex not only makes more sense, it's more stylish, and at least next to the Explorer, it drives better. You get the interior packaging goodness of a minivan, without the mommy-wagon image. Plus, with this year's changes, a more cohesive design than ever and with the EcoBoost, a vehicle that can be hustled as quickly as some sporty sedans.

It’s a pleasant vehicle to drive, too, and we think it's a step up from the likes of the Traverse, Pilot, and Highlander. Mostly, it's because of the superior ride quality, descended way back from the Volvo XC90 that spun off the Flex' platform, the same one underpinning the Taurus, the Lincoln MKS and the MKT. Even the base Flex carries itself like a smaller wagon, with crisp steering feel and a compliant feel that comes from its long wheelbase, but great control over its body motions even when it's hustled in a way no family vehicle will ever be used. Trust us on this one.

Ford has made good by fitting variable cam timing to the base 3.5-liter V-6 this year, so it now makes 287 hp and returns 1 mpg better compared to last year. But the star of the lineup remains the turbocharged, 365-hp EcoBoost Flex, which runs off 0-60 mph times of under seven seconds and lightens up the Flex's footwork, making it faster than anything in the class. Thanks to a new electric power steering system, a quicker ratio, and a steering unit that's now locked onto the subframe, steering feel is more precise, while a host of improvements improve ride harshness and keep the cabin much quieter from road noise.

As large as the 2013 Flex is (it's 202 inches long, with an also-long 118-inch wheelbase), it's surprisingly manageable to park and drive around the city. It doesn't exactly drive small, but it doesn't feel much more cumbersome than a mid-size sedan. All the seats in both the first and second rows are cozy, with limousine-like room in every direction, and a choice of buckets or a bench. The long wheelbase pays off most here, but even the third-row seat has leg room for smaller adults, though head room is scant for six-footers.

The Flex is among the safest vehicles you can buy. Its comprehensive safety package includes six airbags, anti-lock brakes, and stability control with anti-rollover technology. A rearview camera and parking sensors are available, as are a blind-spot warning system and adaptive cruise control, and this year it gains inflatable second-row seat belts, and adaptive cruise control (with forward collision alert), and a blind-spot monitoring system.

The 2013 Ford Flex isn't only about bold looks and three-row seating; it aims to be an excellent, full-featured family wagon, and especially in its top Limited guise feels like a full-fledged luxury model. The base Flex SE comes standard with three-row seating; a CD player; power windows, mirrors and locks; capless fuel filling; and MyKey, which lets owners set pre-programmed levels for radio volume and vehicle speed, effectively putting an electronic leash on younger drivers. Upscale Flex crossovers can be fitted with the EcoBoost turbo engine; all-wheel drive; a leather interior; and a glass panoramic sunroof. All 2013 models except the base SE include the new, upgraded version of MyFord Touch, which includes improved responsiveness, a less cluttered look, improved fonts, and a better design for on-screen buttons. The main instrument panel has been redesigned to go along with MyFord Touch, and a left panel can be reconfigured to show a number of different functions, including a graphic tachometer. Also new, just below MyFord Touch, is a capacitive panel that houses supplemental audio and climate-control buttons. There's a physical button for the hazard lamps, but all else (even climate controls) relies on touch.

Likes:

  • Utilitarian-chic look
  • EcoBoost rush
  • Supportive seats
  • Improved cabin refinement
  • Surprisingly good steering/handling

Dislikes:

  • Third-row still hard for adults to access
  • Capacitive climate controls seem unnecessary
  • High price tag in Limited form
Next: Interior / Exterior »

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