Is it a tall wagon or is it an SUV? What you have is the three-row Ford Flex, one of the more unusual vehicles of our day. Introduced in 2009, the Flex offers standard front-wheel drive, available all-wheel drive and room for seven.
Ford Flex Overview
Few manufacturers have dared to resurrect the traditional station wagon, and while the Ford Flex is anything but traditional, it offers a layout similar to wagons of yore. This platform is freshened with a modern theme composed of blacked-out roof pillars and available white or black roofs, depending on the model year and option package selected.
When it was introduced, the Ford Flex came with a 3.5-liter V6 providing 262 horsepower. All-wheel drive models are available with a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 delivering 365 horsepower, and with this engine, premium gas is recommended.
The Ford Flex has a rectangular two-section silhouette, with a moderate-length hood that’s followed by an enormous passenger compartment. Squared-off edges dominate for a model punctuated by a long, upper narrow grille and an even narrower lower grille opening. A broad hood and a steeply raked windshield amplify the Flex’s front end.
Along the slab sides are large, flared wheel arches and four sets of character lines running horizontally below the door handles and above the rocker panel. A long and straight beltline and roofline, as well as 17-inch or larger wheels are present. From the back, the Flex features a flat liftgate, dual exhaust ports and a pair of combination lamps with character lines or chrome ornamentation between the two.
Inside, this model offers seating for seven in three rows. Buyers can also choose a six-seat layout by substituting the middle bench seat for a pair of captain’s chairs. This choice increases legroom for third-row passengers.
The Flex comes is available with amenities such as dual-zone climate control and heated front seats on upper trim levels. From the start, the Ford Flex has offered generous amounts of storage, including 10 standard cup holders, a refrigerator option for the second row and under-floor storage.
Although relatively unchanged throughout its first-generation model run, new and updated features have been introduced. In 2010, Ford added a telescopic steering column, and the EcoBoost V6 became available. For 2011 and 2012 Ford offered a top-of-line Titanium edition with 20-inch chrome wheels.
In 2013, Ford refreshed the Flex by upgrading the front end, seats and instrument panel. The “Ford” badging was removed from the front and replaced with large F-L-E-X lettering on the lip of hood just above the grille. The base engine got a slight power boost to 287 horsepower, and a manual-shift feature was added to the automatic transmission. The second generation of the available MyFord Touch infotainment system was introduced, and new features such as adaptive cruise control, inflatable second-row seatbelts and parallel parking assist were made available.
Beginning in 2016, Ford rolled out the third generation of its infotainment system, now called Sync 3, giving it a much more user-friendly interface. Ford also made a rearview camera standard across the model line.
Besides the Ford Flex, buyers might consider the Ford Explorer, which is a more conventional three-row SUV. Other SUVs in in this segment include the Dodge Durango, Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia, Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander, Buick Enclave, Nissan Pathfinder and Chevrolet Traverse.