The 2014 Ford Flex comes from a somewhat less popular line of cars, but that means absolutely nothing – because this SUV delivers great results in all aspects. Its engines, superb (yet controversial) exterior design and slick but functional cabin make this car an absolute joy to drive. Those in search of a terrific family vehicle should definitely consider buying this one.
The 2014 Ford Flex may not come from the most popular line of SUVs, but it does deliver better results in several categories than some of its more popular competitors, like the Toyota Sienna, Honda Pilot and Dodge Grand Caravan. What aspects are we talking about? Well, we're talking about a very functional and feature-rich cabin as well as surprisingly high safety standards. Its engine and body design are great too, but they're not better than what you'd find in other, more popular crossovers.
The first thing you see when it comes to cars is their exterior design and the 2014 Flex is a delight to look at. It's stylish in some places and quirky in others, yet it still manages to stay timeless. Like the Ford County Squire, this SUV is as boxy as they come, but with so many elegant details, like aerodynamic lines and rounded edges, it's hard to see it as "old-fashioned." The most peculiar aspects of its design include a strong sense of horizontality, headlights that blend seamlessly with the grille and the "Flex" logo displayed prominently across the car's face. Is it an ideal look? Well, it depends on your preferences. In our book, its combination of unconventional details with a classic shape warrants a certain amount of appreciation. However, this kind of appearance may not be to the liking of everyone. So, take a look at it and judge for yourself!
On the inside, the Ford Flex delivers even more quality than on the outside. Here Ford has gotten everything right – there's no way around that. Everything is elegant, functional and covered in minute details. First, you'll notice the clean and easy-to-use instrument panel, which comes with three screen to support the new MyFord Touch system. There's also the huge four-panel Vista skylight, which is almost impossible to ignore – even upon your first inspection.
But the cabin isn't just impressive in terms of its features, but also when it comes to space and comfort. The first two rows have plenty of space to accommodate four to five adults easily, while the seats are both supportive and adjustable. The third row could benefit from a bit of legroom, but it's not catastrophic. You also have the ability to fold the two back rows to make the already generous cargo area even bigger.
As for the car's engines – you can choose one out of two V6's. The 3.5-litre option can produce 287 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque, while the 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged variant will give you 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are combined with a six-speed automatic transmission and either all-wheel or front-wheel drive. If there's one complaint that can be levelled against either of these, it would be somewhat uncompetitive fuel economy rating, with several rivals offering better results in this area. That said, it's only a minor quibble, which means that you'd benefit from ignoring it altogether.
Safety-wise, the 2014 Flex reaps the benefits of the newest technology, featuring six airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control with anti-roll control, Curve Control and torque vectoring. Optional features include parking sensors, a rearview camera, a blind-spot alert system and an adaptive cruise control. Road safety organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have both given this SUV their top safety ratings.
Overall, the 2014 Ford Flex is an excellent SUV, the predecessors of which have gone unnoticed for far too long. So, maybe it's time to change that! If you're looking for a quality family vehicle, you should definitely give this one a look – especially if you like its design.
|Trim / Style||MSRP||Est. Monthly Payment||Average Price||Invoice Price|
|Limited AWD||$44,399||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|Limited EcoBoost AWD||$48,299||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|SE FWD||$30,499||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|SEL AWD||$39,099||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|SEL FWD||$37,099||Get Local Price||Get Invoice Price|
|Number of Doors||5|
|Drive Train||Front Wheel Drive|
|Power and Performance:|
With either drivetrain, the Flex has ample power for the mission in mind, and its handling almost touches on fun. Still, we'd tick the boxes for the turbo V-6 almost every time.
The base V-6 is a little more muscular, but isn't blisteringly quick. The latest version of the Ford standby 3.5-liter V-6 now makes 287 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque, and turns in better gas mileage, too. Acceleration off the line is adequate, but passing power is strong, even with a few passengers on board. The six-speed automatic shifts smoothly, noticeably better than the similar transmission found in GM's big crossovers (Acadia, Enclave, Traverse). We'd advise you check out all-wheel drive if you live in the northern tier, but otherwise give it a pass, since it adds more lead to the Flex's feet, since it already weighs about 4,600 pounds.
EcoBoost models make 365 hp and churn out the torque, with a seamless wave as the six-speed automatic upshifts. These turbocharged crossovers get steering-wheel paddle shifters to go with their automatic, and a tap of a paddle gives a more manual control mode--though the gearbox will shift short of redline even without input. The system is smart and considers yaw and steering-angle sensors, as well as throttle, so if you're in the middle of a corner or still climbing a hill, it will stay in the lower gear; but if you ease off the throttle it will go back to the upper gear in as little as ten seconds.
The Flex comports itself like a smaller station wagon, with fairly crisp steering feel and a compliant ride that only gets boundy if you hustle the Flex into deep, tight corners, despite its size. It was surprisingly able on a curvy road before, but with some improvements for 2013, it's now almost in the fun-to-drive category. Ford's electric power steering system, which was previously only fitted to EcoBoost versions, is now included in all Flex models; it's also hard-mounted to the front subframe and has a quicker steering ratio this year. Brakes are also upgraded with more friction area and a larger master cylinder (plus different booster tuning) for improved pedal feel. Altogether, turn-in is now crisp, the steering loads up predictably, and there's even a little feel of the road coming through; the brakes have a noticeably stronger bite as well.
Originally appeared on The Car Connection.
|Interiors and Special Features:|
Ford worked hard to make the 2014 Flex a special place to be. The inviting interior is functional, elegantly appointed and meticulously assembled. The new-last-year instrument panel is clean and functional, with the three screens for the new MyFord Touch system. A massive 4-panel Vista skylight is one of the noteworthy features. The 2nd-row and 3rd-row seats fold flat, and so does the right-front passenger seat, creating what feels like acres of cargo space. For hauling people, the front and middle rows provide spacious and comfortable accommodations for four, or five in a pinch. Third-row occupants will find legroom a little tight.
Originally appeared on Kelley Blue Book.
The 2014 Ford Flex comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and rear parking sensors. The Ford Sync system includes an emergency crash notification feature that automatically dials 911 when paired with a compatible cell phone. Also standard is Ford's MyKey, which can be used to set certain parameters for teen drivers.
A rearview camera and a blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alerts are optional on the SEL and standard for the Limited. Optional for both are second-row inflatable seatbelts. The Limited is also available with a collision warning system with brake support.
In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Flex earned a top rating of "Good" for its performance in moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.
In Edmunds brake testing, both a Flex Limited with the standard 3.5-liter engine and an EcoBoost model stopped from 60 mph in 128 feet -- average for the class.
Originally appeared on Edmunds.
Updated on March 26, 2013
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