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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 203 Ratings for the 2009 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    9.5/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Best Car I have ever owned!

By on Monday, March 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26

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: "Style, Comfort, Speed, Storage, TON of cup holders"

Cons: "Nothing. Clearance takes getting used to after 150"

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

"The flex on first sight for me was love! LOVE the shape, once I got in it was a done deal! Rides SOOO smooth but has the ECOBOOST to get me going where I need in a jiffy! Would highly recommend this car to anyone! Mother in law bought one after going on a road trip with us! Best long distance car average money can buy! AWD has no problem getting me up in to the Salt lake canyons If you haven't test drove one go do it!"

Excellent quality. Loads of power, great performer

By on Saturday, February 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 145,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great crossover vehicle. Performs well, 21.5 MPG"

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

"Bought my 2009 Flex Limited used in 2011, with 40,000 miles. The engine performs very well. The transmission takes some getting used to, because it's shifting a lot, but it teaches you to drive better. I've driven two times from California. to Oklahoma, and it is the most comfortable car ever. Even after hundreds of miles on the road, it's so comfortable. I can't say enough about the sync system, it accepts voice commands for almost everything, and it actually understands what you're saying. Also recognizes my 500 gig hard drive I have 20,000 songs available at the touch of a button. I tow a small trailer with it, and it does great ! The only compliant I have is both catalytic converters failed at 72,000 & 75,000 miles (just beyond the warranty period) and they were dealer items still, so that was $1,200 to pass smog... Rich.."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

trouble from the start

By on Thursday, February 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,900

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great design, smooth ride"

Cons: "reliability"

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

"My first new car ever!!! It was suppose to be reliable. I have never had as many issues with any other car I've owned. My 2009 Ford Flex was everything I wanted and it drove like a dream..Then things would go wrong. Most recently my car doesn't turn off when the ignition is off and the key is out. Dash lights flash horns go off series of clicking noises car dies. dealership can't find anything wrong in the 2xs this has happened. Just got car back today from dealer who had it for 3 days, had car 4 hours and was strand with my 2 kids in a parking lot in freezing temperatures. My extended warranty is up in a few days and feel like the dealer is just running the warranty out instead of fixing the car."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

My video 

2009 ford flex computer goes crazy

Great SUV Alternative

By on Friday, February 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive and plenty of space"

Cons: "Less than luxurious interior panels on the Limited"

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

"Purchased the Flex to haul our two Golden Retrievers, but wanted something that handled better than a SUV. The Flex has been a lot more fun to own than I anticipated. The AWD works well on wet and snowy surfaces in the mountains. Great for road trips with four adults and luggage, as well as trips to Home Depot. The twin turbo V6 provides acceleration that is amazing for a vehicle of this size. I'm sure it would easily tow a decent size boat."

16 people out of 29 found this review helpful

4 years and still love this car

By on Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

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, great cargo capacity, great price"

Cons: "hard to see backing up"

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

Bonnie and Clyde take trip down memory lane in Gibsland, LA

"We stalked the Flex for a year before we bought it because it was so big inside. A car big enough to hold all the grand-kids at the same time and all their junk. Finally took it for a test drive and fell in love - hook, line and hubcaps. Got a bodacious good price from the local Ford dealer and immediately took it on a three week road trip across the western US. Best road car I've ever owned. My sister-in-law laughed when we pulled up in the big black 'hearse' but after she drove it, she ended up buying one just like it. We took off for Mississippi in a two hearse caravan and turned heads across 4 states. What do we like best about this big black box? 1. The ride 2. The comfortable seats 3. The space 4. the sound system 5. Did I say, the ride? 6. Decent gas mileage Never regretted buying this car, not for one second. We are still in love with it after 4 1/2 years"

15 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Bonnie and Clyde take trip down memory lane in Gibsland, LA

very responsive car in very good condition

By on Thursday, January 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

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."

17 people out of 36 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?