By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
The 2014 Ford Flex is not your typical 7-passenger family vehicle, as you can tell just by looking at it. The silhouette – long, flat-sided, squared off – suggests the big station wagons of the 1960s and 1970s, and it sits lower and sleeker than a typical SUV. Competitors like the Honda Pilot, Dodge Durango and Chevrolet Tahoe can tout maximum tow ratings and off-road capability, but the Flex chooses to focus on transporting people over paved surfaces. It's striking and stylish as well as functional and useful – a fine combination similar to minivans and SUVs in capabilities, but clearly different from both.
If what you'd really like is a modern interpretation of the classic American station wagon theme, the 2014 Ford Flex could be the one. It offers seating for six or seven, a range of trim levels and prices, available all-wheel drive, and a turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine.
If you need to tow more than 4,500 pounds or go bounding over rugged, unpaved terrain, the 2014 Ford Flex is not your best choice. A big V8-powered SUV such as the Dodge Durango or Ford's own Expedition is better geared to those tasks.
After a thorough facelift and some mechanical and equipment upgrades last year, the 2014 Ford Flex gets minimal changes in package contents.
Driving Impressions The 2014 Ford Flex manages to feel maneuverable and responsive despite its wide body and long wheelbase. Through tight turns, especially, it shows good poise, and its smooth ride and...... quiet interior help make for a pleasant driving experience. Sway and body roll are minimal thanks to taut suspension, big wheel and tire packages and the Flex's low-to-the-ground stance. Electric power steering often comes up short on feel, but this system works well. Despite its boxy appearance, the Flex seems to slip through the air easily at freeway speeds, creating very little wind noise. The base 287-horsepower engine gives adequate acceleration but the EcoBoost option is clearly stronger (365 horsepower) and adds an element of sportiness to the drive. An available all-wheel-drive system adds another level of assurance on slippery roads.
Pick the middle-row captain's chairs rather than the standard bench seat and the console in between can contain a built-in refrigerator that holds up to seven 12-ounce cans. And, with a low temperature of 23 degrees Fahrenheit, it can double as a mini ice cream cart.
SYNC COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM
Ford's continually evolving SYNC communications system features a voice-activated command center that can access music from an attached MP3 player, answer and place calls from a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone, and even read aloud incoming text messages.
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.Exterior
The 2014 Ford Flex looks functional and quirky, a little edgy but still timeless. Think Ford Country Squire station wagon meets Mini Cooper. It's a box, for sure, but an elegantly detailed box, with aero-friendly contours and soft edges. The new-last-year face is quite modernistic, with a strong horizontal character and some unconventional treatments in the relatively subtle headlights and prominent Flex name in chrome across the nose. A liftgate clad in brushed aluminum and the optional contrasting-color roof are also strong visual elements. This "flying brick" shape may not appeal to everyone, but it's a distinctive and functional way to build a family hauler.
The 2014 Ford Flex comes in three trim levels: SE, SEL and Limited. Standard equipment includes keyless entry, a 6-way power driver's seat, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Reverse Sensing System, fog lights, front and rear air conditioning, an MP3-compatible CD player, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Specifying the Limited trim adds heated front seats, a 10-way power driver's seat with memory, Sony Premium audio with Ford SYNC communications system, voice-activated navigation, leather upholstery, a power-folding 3rd-row seat, and 19-inch alloy wheels. Standard safety equipment includes 3-row side-curtain airbags and inflatable 2nd-row safety belts.
Options for the 2014 Ford Flex vary by trim and include the 365-horsepower EcoBoost V6 (Limited only), all-wheel drive (SEL and Limited), a rearview camera, a power rear liftgate, heated 2nd-row seats with power Autofold mode, 2nd-row captain's chairs with a center-console refrigerator, a 4-panel Vista roof, a contrasting-color painted top panel, remote start, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, and the Park Assist active parallel-parking aid.
Across its trim levels, the 2014 Ford Flex offers a choice of two V6 engines (both with a 6-speed automatic transmission) and either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). The standard engine is a smooth and efficient 3.5-liter V6 with variable valve timing. It makes 287 horsepower and is certainly adequate if not class-leading. Fuel economy is quite good for the vehicle's size with an estimated 17 mpg city and 24 highway. All-wheel-drive models earn slightly lower estimates. The Limited trim offers the option of the EcoBoost V6, which has twin turbochargers and direct injection to produce an impressive 365 horsepower. This EcoBoost engine is offered only with AWD.
287 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
254 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (FWD), 17/23 mpg (AWD)
3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6
365 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
350 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a 2014 front-wheel-drive Ford Flex SE starts just under $32,000. For the mid-level SEL, prices start around $34,400 (FWD) or $36,400 (AWD). A top-of-the-line Limited begins at about $40,300 with the base engine and FWD and bumps up against $45,400 with the EcoBoost V6 and AWD. Heavily optioned, a Flex Limited can easily exceed $50,000. That pricing is in line with such competitors as the Chevrolet Traverse and Honda Pilot. To make your best deal, be sure to check our Fair Purchase Price and see what typical Flex transaction prices are in your area. Considering resale value, Kelley Blue Book expects the Flex to hold a good portion of its original purchase price, on par with the Chevy Traverse, but falling slightly behind the Honda Pilot.
By marc on Thursday, January 29, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive"
Cons: "cannot think of any"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"it's a fun car to drive, and very functional if you have children and or pets, it is as good as it gets in terms of the latest high tech equipment, and the only reason we are selling it is because we have access to a company car."
By Michigan_Mark on Saturday, January 10, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Interior size, comfort, quietness, driveablity, sm"
Cons: "'rake lines'"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"So smooth, so quiet. Room for 7 adults. My brother-in-law is 6'7" and has plenty of leg room in the second row. Some people don't like the exterior looks, but I am yet to find a person who doesn't love it once they ride in it. Awesome vehicle. It was a little pricey, that is 9/10 on value. Not a big fan of the 'rake lines' on exterior, that is the 9/10 on Design: Interior & exterior. Warranty had to replace the lumbar support on driver seat and the heat actuator on passenger side over the last 3.5 years. That is my rating of 9/10 for quality. I would have no problem buying this vehicle again. If you are thinking of buying one, get it checked out by a certified mechanic. If the mechanic says it's good, I recommend you buy it. Great vehicle!"
14 people out of 23 found this review helpful
By Joe on Saturday, November 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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."
35 people out of 61 found this review helpful