2017 Ford Flex
- The cabin is spacious and versatile for cargo carrying
- Visibility is as good as it gets for a vehicle of its size
- Turbocharged engine option has power to spare
- The standard second-row bench doesn't slide
- Limited availability of the latest advanced driver safety aids
- Some hard-to-use interior controls
- Third-row seat is limited to two passengers
2017 Ford Flex pricingin Ashburn, VA
Edmunds' Expert Review
The Ford Flex has been in production for quite a while now. It debuted for the 2009 model year and hasn't received a full redesign since. That's well past most vehicles' expiration date, as automakers typically do redesigns every four or five years. But maybe Ford is just following the old adage of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
We've certainly held the Ford Flex in high regard all these years. Even now in 2017, the Flex is still one of the more distinctive vehicles on the road. Its squared-off appearance and spacious third row draw comparisons to a minivan, but conventional rear doors and minimal cargo space behind the third row reveal that the Flex is actually more like a crossover SUV or big wagon. The Flex's bold styling isn't its only unusual characteristic. The Flex's base V6 makes power typical for a three-row crossover, but a 365-horsepower turbocharged V6 is also available, ensuring that passing maneuvers on a freeway with a cabin full of passengers will be no problem at all.
Still, there could be some reasons that the Flex isn't quite right for you. Its seating flexibility isn't that great, and the Flex's older design means it lacks some of the latest advanced driver safety aids. Lackluster fuel economy could be another drawback. In contrast, the Honda Pilot received a full redesign last year, and its third-row seating is roomier. The Toyota Highlander is another good choice, particularly if you want a fuel-efficient hybrid model. Ford's own Explorer plus the sporty Mazda CX-9 and powerful Dodge Durango are worth looking at, too. Overall, though, the Flex, aging as it may be, has enough good qualities to earn a spot in your garage.
Standard safety features for all 2017 Ford Flex models include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, emergency telematics via a paired cellphone, and Ford's MyKey system that monitors the vehicle and allows owners to set certain limitations and alerts for valets and teen drivers.
Optional inflatable second-row seat belts are available for all Flex trims. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert is available on the SEL and standard on the Limited. Paired with the Limited's optional adaptive cruise control is a forward collision warning system that pre-charges the brakes for maximum responsiveness but does not brake automatically like some rival systems.
In crash testing conducted by the Institute for Highway Safety, the Flex earned the top score of Good in the moderate-overlap front-impact, side-impact, roof strength and head restraint (whiplash protection) tests. It received the second-best score of Acceptable in the small-overlap front-impact test.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Flex Limited with 20-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in 120 feet, which is bit shorter than average for the class.
Trim levels & features
The 2017 Ford Flex is a large crossover/wagon that can seat either six or seven passengers and is available in SE, SEL and Limited trim levels.
The SE trim's standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, rear parking sensors, heated mirrors with integrated blind-spot sections, rear privacy glass, a keyless-entry keypad, remote locking and unlocking, cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cloth upholstery, a six-way power driver seat with manual recline and lumbar adjustment, 60/40-split folding second-row seats with an auto-folding passenger side, 50/50-split folding third-row seats, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a 4.2-inch central display screen, Sync voice activation and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player, an auxiliary jack and a USB port.
The SEL trim dresses up the Flex with 18-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, foglights, chrome exterior trim, keyless entry and ignition, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control with manual rear controls, wood-appearance interior trim, heated front seats, a 10-way power driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), a six-way power front passenger seat (with manual lumbar adjustment) and the Sync 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, a second USB port and smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
SEL models are eligible for the 202A option package, which adds a power liftgate, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, power-adjustable pedals, driver-seat memory settings, leather upholstery (vinyl for the third row), a 110-volt household-style power outlet, and an upgraded seven-speaker audio system.
At the top of the range, the Limited trim includes the 202A package plus 19-inch wheels, xenon headlights, LED taillights, power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, additional metallic exterior trim, upgraded wood interior trim, ambient interior lighting, a navigation system (optional on SEL) and a 12-speaker Sony audio system with HD radio.
The 301A package is exclusive to the Limited and adds an automatic parallel parking system, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, a power-adjustable and heated steering wheel, a 10-way power front passenger seat, ventilated front seats and power-folding third-row seats.
The Appearance package, available on SEL and Limited models, adds 20-inch wheels, black exterior and interior trim, and upgraded leather upholstery.
Additional options, depending on trim and configuration, include 20-inch wheels, roof rails, a tow package, a panoramic sunroof, inflatable second-row outboard seat belts and a rear entertainment system.
The standard engine for all 2017 Ford Flex models is a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 287 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels by default, but all-wheel drive is an option for SEL and Limited trims. Though EPA fuel economy estimates are not yet available for the 2017, we don't expect them to change from last year. The 2016 Flex with this engine was estimated to return 19 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway) for the front-wheel-drive model and 18 mpg combined (16 city/22 highway) with all-wheel drive.
The Limited trim is eligible for the optional turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that increases output to a heady 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard with this engine, as are steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. In Edmunds testing, an all-wheel-drive EcoBoost Flex Limited accelerated to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, a quick performance for a mainstream three-row crossover. Fuel economy was downgraded slightly to 17 mpg combined (15 city/21 highway).
Properly equipped, the Flex can tow up to 4,500 pounds, regardless of engine choice. This figure is a bit below average for a three-row crossover vehicle.
For the majority of drivers, the base 3.5-liter V6 should be adequate, but a Flex loaded to the brim with passengers and cargo will tax that engine. The turbocharged EcoBoost engine certainly solves that problem, and it's downright fast on the open road, accelerating into arrest-me range with astonishing ease. In addition to the power bump, the EcoBoost adds a hint of athleticism with a slightly stiffer suspension. Of course, the hot-rod Flex commands a hefty price premium, but if you're looking for some excitement in your family hauler, it's well worth the stretch.
With such a strong focus on utility, it's no surprise that the Flex generally prioritizes comfort over responsive handling. That said, the Flex's steering is responsive, and this boxy bus is rock-solid stable on the highway. It's also very easy to see out of. The Flex's age shows when ruts and bumps rock the cabin; most competitors are newer and better at soaking up body movements while traveling over rough pavement. Overall, though, the 2017 Ford Flex makes for a rewarding companion, whether you're tackling the morning carpool or a coast-to-coast trek.
The 2017 Ford Flex's boxy shape translates to a wealth of interior space, including adult-friendly accommodations in all three rows. The front seats are decently comfortable, but some drivers might find them overly flat, lacking in support for long-distance drives.
The infotainment system is one thing Ford has kept updated since the Flex debuted in 2009. The newest system features the Sync 3 interface. It's easy to use thanks to a simple menu layout and quick response times. Unfortunately, the touch-sensitive radio and climate control buttons just below the touchscreen are less intuitive. Simply brushing your arm against the center stack can alter those settings. The old-school steering-wheel button layout is similarly confounding.
Behind the rear seatbacks, you'll find up to 20 cubic feet of cargo space. If you keep the third row folded flat when it's not in use, you'll have a much handier 43.2 cubes at your disposal, while folding down both rear rows opens up 83.2 cubes. These figures are a bit less than what you'll find in some rival SUVs, but the Flex is still highly functional thanks to its squared-off roofline.
Most helpful consumer reviews
2017 Ford Flex video
Josh Sadlier: This is Edmund's editor Josh Sadlier, and here's an expert rundown of the 2017 Ford Flex. The Flex the crossover that just won't quit. If you can believe it, we had a long term Flex way back in 2009 here Edmunds. Still the same basic vehicle but, don't let that dissuade you. Still a great family option, three rows with adult sized space in all three. Standard V6 gets the job done, available all wheel drive. Of course we prefer the optional twin turbo V6, pumps out well over 300 horsepower, turns this thing into surprisingly fast minivan alternative, but it's pretty pricey so going to have to check the bottom line on that one. As you can tell from the breadbox styling, plenty of space inside. Maximum utility, fold down those seats so you can fit a bunch of construction supplies in there if you're so inclined. Step inside you'll see what I'm talking about with the passenger space, looks like a couch in there. Nice and high on the bottom cushion, plenty of headroom. You can see the optional glass panels on the roof there, lend a nice airy feel. In the third row, there's legitimate adult space, you can't say that about every three row crossover. You have no problem getting taller people back there. Up front the Flex has a conservative but stylish dashboard design. Sync 3 is a notable improvement over the previous MyFord touch infotainment system. It's a new touch screen, good graphics, responsive, easy to use. Nice materials too. The bottom line with the Flex is that it hasn't changed very much because it hasn't had to. It's still a fully competitive family hauler, certainly worth a look alongside other crossovers. For more Edmund's expert rundowns, click the link to subscribe.
2017 Ford Flex Expert Rundown Review
Looking for a wagonlike crossover with space and versatility? The 2017 Ford Flex may be a good match. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds editors.
Features & Specs
2017 Ford Flex for Sale
Ford first introduced the Flex in 2009, and it hasn't changed much since. We can't blame Ford for leaving it alone, though. With a boxy body meant to recall station wagons of the '60s and '70s, the Flex doesn't look like any other SUV on the road. The competition has had time to copy it; no one has. The Flex's squared-off profile and spacious third-row seat might put you in the mind of a minivan. But its hinged rear doors and limited cargo space (with all seats in place) reveal that this is actually a big wagon or a crossover SUV, albeit an unusual one.
The Flex treats its passengers well, with adult-friendly seating in all three rows — something few other crossover SUVs can claim. But cargo space with all three rows in place is limited to 20 cubic feet, which really isn't much. Folding down the third row yields a much more useful 43.2 cubic feet. We have other complaints: The touch-sensitive climate and stereo controls on the center stack are a bit too sensitive, and it's easy to brush your hand against the panel and press a "button" you didn't want. We like the new Sync 3 touchscreen interface, but the confusing layout of the steering wheel buttons is decidedly old-school.
The base engine for the Flex is a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 287 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. The EPA estimates its fuel economy for the front-wheel-drive Flex at 19 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway). Opting for all-wheel drive subtracts 1 mpg from the combined and highway figures.
With a full load of passengers and cargo on board, the base engine has to work its heart out to keep pace. Ford offers a solution in the form of an optional 3.5 liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6. Tuned for a V8-like 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, it turns the Flex into a three-row rocket ship. In Edmunds testing, it reached 60 mph in a brisk 6.2 seconds, and out on the open road, we found it eager to gallop at a license-losing pace. The turbo engine comes exclusively with all-wheel drive. Its EPA estimate is not far off that for the non-turbo engine: 17 mpg combined (15 city/21 highway). It is paired with a stiffer suspension, which adds a sporty edge to the Flex's comfort and stability, though both suspension setups show their age over rough pavement. They just don't absorb the bumps as well as newer designs.
The Ford Flex is available in three trim levels. The SE model comes equipped with the basics you'd expect in a modern family car, but we prefer the upgraded standard feature list (and available options) of the midlevel SEL. The top-of-the-line Limited is the only choice if you want the turbocharged engine or advanced-technology safety and driver aids. Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 Ford Flex for you.
2017 Ford Flex Overview
The 2017 Ford Flex is offered in the following submodels: Flex Wagon. Available styles include SE 4dr Wagon (3.5L 6cyl 6A), SEL 4dr Wagon AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), SEL 4dr Wagon (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Limited w/EcoBoost 4dr Wagon AWD (3.5L 6cyl Turbo 6A), Limited 4dr Wagon (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and Limited 4dr Wagon AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A).
What do people think of the 2017 Ford Flex?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 Ford Flex and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2017 Flex 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2017 Flex.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Ford Flex and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 Flex featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
Which 2017 Ford Flexes are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2017 Ford Flex for sale near. There are currently 1 new 2017 Flexes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $45,570 and mileage as low as 0 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2017 Ford Flex.
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Should I lease or buy a 2017 Ford Flex?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.