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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
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"Good" scores in all completed tests
Ford's rear-seat inflatable seatbelts also join the options list. They are designed to reduce the risk of injuries to smaller passengers, and have proven a very popular option on the Explorer.
Some of the newest safety technology make the Ford Flex one of the safest family vehicles on the market, but crash test scores are sagging late in its lifespan.
The Flex fields "good" crash-test scores from the IIHS in all its completed tests, but it's no longer a Top Safety Pick since it hasn't been subjected to the agency's new small-overlap crash test. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn't updated its ratings for the crossover since it was brand-new; the Flex hasn't changed significantly since then, but for published ratings, you'd have to look back to 2009--when the Flex earned near-perfect scores.
Among its standard safety features, the Flex has six airbags, anti-lock brakes; and traction and stability control with anti-roll control. All Flexes also include Curve Control and torque vectoring—both are software upgrades to the stability control system that help the Flex corner better. Over its life cycle, Ford has also redesigned the front-seat headrests: in the older versions, the headrests pitched your head uncomfortably forward. The new four-position design still protects well against whiplash while improving driving comfort.
Parking sensors and a rearview camera are on the options list, and so are a blind-spot alert system and adaptive cruise control. Ford's MyKey system remains available in the Flex; it lets parents or other owners set limits on the Flex’s stereo volume, vehicle speed, and other entertainment features, effectively keeping secondary drivers within the owner's comfort limits.
Inflatable seat belts were new to the Flex last year, and adaptive cruise control (with forward collision alert) and a blind-spot monitoring system were also made available.
Safety has been one of the Ford Flex's hallmarks since it was new.