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2012 Ford Flex

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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
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 236 Ratings for the 2009 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.3/10
  • Comfort
    9.5/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

If they sill made Sta-Wagon, this w/be King Wagon

By on Monday, June 13, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very good gas millage, 22-24 on Hwy"

Cons: "lots lower than a SUV,U may bump head for a wk."

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

"Seem like there nothing I don't like about this Vehicle, it's roomier than a truck! All 6 seat are made for big people. Ride heavy like a truck and give a solid ride but quick like a car..."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Roomy, comfortable, functional

By on Sunday, May 29, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Roomy, comfortable, good for long trips"

Cons: "Price was a bit high"

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

"The Flex is the roomiest SUV in its class. Adults have great comfort in the front 2 rows. It rides comfortably, has adequate power with the standard engine and provides good fuel economy for a vehicle this size."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Best SUV I have ever owned...

By on Sunday, April 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "To me, everything..."

Cons: "None..."

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

"I don't know why Ford doesn't advertise this vehicle and wants to keep it a secret... I'm 68 and have owned many vehicles, and, this is the best SUV and possibly the best vehicle I've ever owned... Mine is a 2011 SE... For a basic model, with SYNC, it's pretty well equipped... It drives and rides like a dream, and, even with the 262 hp engine in 2011, it has more than enough power for passing on the highway... I drove 220 miles each way between my old home and new home every week for two years until I retired and it never let me down... I'm pretty much a lead foot on the highway and still averaged over 21 mpg... Without being a lead foot, I got a little over 23 mpg... My average mpg now, with a mix of driving, is about 21 mpg, which is quite good considering it's size...You can't believe what you can haul in this thing, it's truly amazing... As for reliability, it's been great... Only one non maintenance issue in 63K miles was a sticky rear brake caliper that made me replace it and the rear discs for $345... Other than that, just normal maintenance, oil changes, I use full synthetic every 10K, transmission fluid and filter change, coolant flush and fill and one set of tires... That's it and it purrs and runs like a new vehicle and not one that has had a hard 5 years and 63K miles put on it... Buy one if you can find one and you will never regret your purchase... I'm going to drive mine until the wheels go square... Still don't know why Ford keeps this great vehicle a secret in the US... I understand they sell like hotcakes in Canada, especially the AWD models..."

11 people out of 16 found this review helpful

I Love My Flex

By on Monday, April 4, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, roomy, comfortable, sexy, sporty..."

Cons: "Gas mileage, back moonroofs should be sunroofs"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I absolutely love my Flex! It is large enough for my family, including our dogs, to travel comfortably. Took it camping last summer with my husband and our dogs and it worked out great for camping too. The only thing I don't like about it is the gas mileage which seems to stay around 16 MPG. But the trade off is worth it. It's comfortable, easy to drive, smooth and sexy."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Have drive this Vehicle Coast to Coast

By on Saturday, February 20, 2016

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Lease

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Nicely priced especially if you can get a 2015."

Cons: "umm, can be a little heavy on the fuel use."

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

"The Flex is about the nicest riding vehicle that I have ever owned or for that matter,been in. I have been through Ford Mini vans and got out of them with over 150,000 miles. I was disappointed when I found out that they were discontinued. At first I scratched my head when I saw the Flex. i eventually leased a well loaded SE model in 2011. As a touring musician, I just about lived in this vehicle and literally camped in it. Aside from that, we have a big Golden Retriever, two kids and do a lot of camping, skiing and family getaways. I also drove this car across the country. I got a UHaul trailer hitch, loaded it up, loaded up the Flex and my daughter Dog and I took off leaving the East Coast Thursday afternoon and arrived very early Sunday morning in Sadona AZ. We spent some time there with the dog and then took of for the Pasadena area. The car was like riding on an Amtrak. I expected someone to come through with coffee and a paper. . This is one amazing vehicle. If you set cruise at 60 and just let it do its thing, the fuel economy is actually quite impressive, exceeding the window sticker estimates by a good bit. In the city fuel economy is pretty bad compared to the smaller fuel efficient cars that we also own. The bad news is I got into an expenssive two year lease. Couple that with Insurance and fuel costs at the time just under $5.00 gallon, I could not wait to get out of the car . We did in CA after a few months and got into a 2013 Fusion. Man is that tight for our family and dog. We drove it back east with all of us and luggage. Man..... Whoow! Now that the Lease is up on the Fusion and fuel prices are down, I am about to Lease a 2015 Flex SEL with some additional options like Nav and so forth. We'll drive that car back to CA... Hello Amtrak.. Oh sorry, I mean hello Flex!! It truly is the nicest car that I have ever owned and one of the most comfortable riding cars there is.. Truly. Just great in every respect!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Great car

By on Friday, January 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "high quality interior,easy to get in and out of"

Cons: "gas mileage,small gas tank"

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

"Ibought this car it was A lease vehicle.We have had no issues with it.awesome in the winter has been reliable very high quality interior and ext. Gas mileage is not very good needs a bigger gas tank and getting in and out of the 3rd row seats is A challenge but other than that it is an awesome vehicle."

10 people out of 24 found this review helpful

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