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2012 Ford Flex

Overview
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2012 Ford Flex Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.9

The 2012 Ford Flex is not your typical 7-passenger CUV, at least not if looks count for anything. Where most CUVs attempt to mirror SUVs, the Flex takes a decidedly different approach. Its long and boxy silhouette is reminiscent of the big station wagons of the 1960s and 1970s, plus it's lower to the ground than an SUV. And, while competitors like the 2012 Honda Pilot, Dodge Durango and Chevrolet Tahoe may boast about their max towing or off-road ability, the Flex makes no such claims. Sure, the Ford Flex can tow a trailer or small boat (up to 4,500 pounds), but for the most part, the Flex is all about transporting people. There is no arguing that you can find these same attributes in a minivan, but none of the minivans we can think of have the Flex's cool factor. Then again, if you have teenagers you might find yourself wishing for a minivan because with such forward-thinking options as the voice-activated SYNC communication system, 12-speaker Sony audio, built-in refrigerator and huge Vista Roof glass moonroof, this rolling dorm room makes for the perfect Saturday night cruiser.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a family wagon that is the modern equivalent of the classic American wagon driven by your mom and dad, the 2012 Ford Flex fills the bill. It offers seating for seven, a wide range of models and prices and a turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine. Oh, did we mention it looks pretty cool?

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need a family vehicle that can also haul more than 4,500 pounds or go venturing down seldom traveled dirt paths, the 2012 Ford Flex is not the best choice. V8-powered SUVs such as the Dodge Durango or Ford Expedition are better geared to these tasks. Similarly constructed CUVs like the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia offer more cargo space behind the third-row seat and more legroom for third-row passengers.

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the Ford Flex now offers roof-rack side rails with the Vista Roof sunroof, repositions the rear wiper arm for better coverage, and adds a folding armrest with cup holders to the second-row bench on the Limited and Titanium models.

Driving the Flex

Driving Impressions If you think the Flex's wide body and long wheelbase make it a bear to manipulate in tight spots, think again. The 2012 Ford Flex's ability to maneuver through tight...

turns is really quite impressive, and its smooth ride and whisper-quiet interior further an already pleasant driving experience. Sway and body roll are kept in check by a taut suspension, big wheel and tire packages and the Flex's low-to-the-ground stance. Despite is boxy appearance, the Flex glides effortless at freeway speeds, slipping through the air with little buffeting or wind noise. Of course, it's the Flex's generous helping of laminated glass that helps keep wind and road noise at bay. Pushing the Flex to its limits, we simulated a number of emergency maneuvers, all of which were adeptly handled by Ford's AdvanceTrac stability and traction-control system. And, although we were not able to test it in snow conditions, the 2012 Ford Flex's available all-wheel drive is sure to add another level of assurance when encountering slippery road conditions.

Rear-Console Refrigerator
The ideal option for long trips with the kids, the 2012 Ford Flex's rear-console refrigerator can hold up to seven 12-ounce cans. And, with a low of 23 degrees Fahrenheit, it can double as a mini ice cream cart.

SYNC Communications System
One of the best audio options in the industry, Ford's SYNC communications system features a voice-activated command center that can access music from an attached MP3 player, pick up and place calls from a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone and even speak incoming text messages.

2012 Ford Flex Details
2012 Ford Flex photo Interior

While a car's exterior may make its first impression on you, it's the interior where you'll spend 99 percent of your time. That's why Ford took extra pains to make the 2012 Ford Flex someplace special with an inviting interior that is not only highly functional, but elegantly appointed and meticulously assembled. There are the numerous technological edges – such as the available center-console refrigerator and massive 4-panel Vista skylight – that set the Flex apart from more common forms of transport. Further attention to detail can be seen in Ford's extensive use of interior lighting located in the foot wells and overhead, as well as in the fabric choices such as the diamond sew pattern on the Limited trim's leather seats. A comfortable driving position is made possible for drivers of all sizes thanks to the available power-adjustable pedals, and when not carrying human cargo, the Flex's front-passenger, second- and third-row seats can be folded flat to create a massive level load floor. As for accommodations, the 2012 Ford Flex's first- and second-row seats provide adult-size comfort for four, five in a pinch. Unfortunately, the Flex's third-row seat is short on legroom and the second- and third-row seatbacks are a bit low, requiring taller passengers to fully extend the head restraints.

Exterior
2012 Ford Flex photo

The 2012 Ford Flex has a design that is both old and new at the same time. To those born before 1979, the Flex's long lines and paralleled side groves are vaguely reminiscent of the old Ford Country Squire wagons, which featured distinctive wood panels and bold colors. Younger buyers will probably appreciate the same design for its unique look and wow factor, especially the aluminum-plated rear hatch and optional contrasting roof paint. Some might even claim to see hints of Scion xB and MINI Cooper in the Flex's reflection, yet its boxy, upright sides and bold front end are pure Ford. And, while the Flex's big wheel and tire combo and low-to-the-ground stance won't win it any friends among weekend off-road adventurers, the folks who love a long and slow Saturday night cruise will likely give a big thumbs-up to this family-friendly ride.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Ford Flex comes in four trim levels: SE, SEL, Limited and Titanium. Standard equipment includes Ford's keypad keyless entry, a 6-way power driver's seat, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, Reverse Sensing System, fog lights, Easy Fuel capless fuel system, front and rear air conditioning, an MP3-compatible CD player and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls for cruise control and audio. Moving up to the top-of-the-line Limited and Titanium trims brings heated front seats, a 10-way power driver's seat with memory, Sony Premium audio with Ford SYNC communications system, voice-activated navigation, leather interior, a power rear liftgate, power folding third-row seat, dual-zone automatic climate control and 19-inch polished aluminum wheels (20-inch on the Titanium trim). Standard safety equipment on all models includes three-row side-curtain airbags and AdvanceTrac electronic stability and traction control with Roll Stability Control.

Optional Equipment

Options for the Ford Flex vary by trim and include a 355-horsepower EcoBoost V6 (SEL and Limited), rearview camera, power rear liftgate, heated second-row seats with power Autofold mode, second-row captain's-chair seating with rear-console refrigerator, 4-panel Vista roof, all-wheel drive, a contrasting painted top, remote start, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and Park Assist active parallel parking aid.

Under the Hood

Ford currently offers two powertrain options for the 2012 Flex. The standard engine on all trims is a 3.5-liter V6 engine with variable valve timing attached to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The smooth and efficient V6 generates a respectable 262 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque – not the best in class but certainly far from being tagged as anemic. Fuel economy, on the other hand, is near the top of its class, with an estimated 17 miles per gallon city and 24 highway. All-wheel-drive models earn slightly lower estimates. Optional on SEL, Titanium and Limited trims is the EcoBoost V6, which mates the 3.5-liter engine with gasoline direct injection and twin turbochargers to produce an impressive 355 horsepower. Ford claims the EcoBoost engine delivers V8-like performance with V6-like fuel economy. Flex models equipped with EcoBoost also feature all-wheel drive as standard equipment.

3.5-liter V6
262 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 16/23 (AWD)

3.5-liter V6, Twin-Turbocharged
355 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
350 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23

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2012 Ford Flex Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 192 Ratings for the 2009 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

I love the car; drives and performs as advertised

By on Saturday, November 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great car, fun to drive, dependable"

Cons: "Needs handy place for note pad, pen, bus. cards."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My vehicle is the 2011, Flex Limited. I bought the car for multiple reasons: its unique (appealing to me; not cookie cutter) appearance, ease of ingress and egress for my short wife and tall me (I'm 6' 4" tall), really spacious second row seating, and the roomy cargo area. With the 3.5 L Eco-boost engine we consistently get 17.5 mpg around town and 24.0 mpg on the highway, and I love the select shift 6 speed transmission; it's smooth and positive. The car is stable and straight on the highway with plenty of power, even when fully loaded. When making a quick pass be careful, as the downshift and acceleration are quick enough to throw your front seat passenger's beverage in the back seat; and the AWD - nearly 8" of wet snow, 10% grade, no problem. The navigation system is a little quirky, but the back up camera is the best. This package comes with the park assist, but this vehicle is so easy to parallel park, I've never used it. Yes, I will buy another. However, I would like an option to eliminate the third row seating; I have no use for it, and it just adds unnecessary weight. Also, with 20" wheels, clearance is limited so tire chains/cables are a no-no. The front seat leg room isn't bad, but for my height, a couple more inches would be helpful. I forgot to add the remote start to my package but I will next time. Overall, I'm very pleased with my Flex."

Downsized from Suburban-GREAT choice!

By on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Space, driveability, Like the look!"

Cons: "20 mpg, nothing else."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Love the space all over-head room, leg room (even 3rd row), cargo space. Great driveability-smooth, eco-boost, quick pick up, back up cam. Gas mileage way better than Suburban-so pleased with 20mpg. Love leather, heated seats, interactive panel, bluetooth, voice command."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Roomy 2nd row seating, loads of cargo space

By on Tuesday, November 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great ride, priced right, meets my cargo needs"

Cons: "headrest too large to look around, gas not as good"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The Flex rides great, holds to curves with complete control, has plenty of leg and head space, and when you let the 2nd & 3rd row seats down you can haul furniture on a moments notice when you find a sale! Our 3,000 mile, 2 week vacation of 4 in the car was extremely enjoyable. I can open the door and sit down without feeling like I'm falling into a hole like most cars because they are so low. The older you get the harder to crawl out of these new cars now days. Plan to replace this Flex with a new one some day soon. Not real crazy about the head rest being so big, makes it hard to look around when parking. Overall for the price, it offers a lot, and the size makes me feel safer especially with all the air bags."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Very good

By on Saturday, November 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,333

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "retro-futuristic styling, size, comfort & power"

Cons: "gas mileage, 3rd seat lost space, useless Sync"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Compliments and inquiries from other people.Most people never heard of the model and found it hard to believe that it is a Ford. Stunning in my red and white two-tone. Very comfortable to drive. Very much dislike that the 3rd seat does not fold flat or push forward - a whole lot of wasted space that way. The sync never worked right and a water leak from engine could not be acknowledged or fixed by the dealer under warranty. I will buy a new 2015 Flex again IF BUT ONLY IF they come out with an engine like a diesel that improves the miles per gallon. If they stick with the same engine I will take my business elsewhere."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

wifes work car low miles leather seats very nice

By on Wednesday, October 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great travel car roomy comfortable love the sync"

Cons: "larger car for family"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"great car for travel and comfort. Love the heated seats in the winter, great to haul the stuff.love the auto back door"

15 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Best Car I've ever had!

By on Friday, September 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Very reliable and comfortable and easy to drive."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is the second Flex I have owned. I have loved both. Had to convince my husband on the first one, then he loved it. Great vehicle for long trips. Very comfortable to ride and drive. Can't say enough about the Ford Flex!"

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?