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You need a used SUV, but you don’t want the same old crossover all the other families have. Well, there’s an overlooked gem on the used market. It comes from Ford, and it’s called the Flex. This retro-inspired SUV is a funky, practical alternative to more mundane used crossovers

Ford Flex offers an escape hatch from minivan life

If a minivan seems inevitable, but you can’t stomach the uncool aesthetic, a used Ford Flex might be for you. These spacious, practical SUVs offer car-like handling, distinctive styling, and outstanding interior utility. 

The Ford Flex sits at the point where minivans and SUVs converge. In the olden times, such vehicles were called station wagons. The Flex is a return to that time with its long-roof design, squared-off dimensions, and ample passenger space. 

Funky styling with retro appeal

The Ford Flex was unique when it came, and it’s still hard to miss today. It isn’t like any other Ford SUV. The Flex is a long, square SUV that rides low to the ground. You wouldn’t mistake it for an Escape or Explorer. 

Ford offered the Flex in a variety of eye-catching colors, from royal blues to dark reds. They also featured contrasting roof colors in white or black, hopping on a trend that took other manufacturers years to catch up to. 

For one, the Flex has a long, flat roof without any notable curves or angles. It’s an uncommon trait in modern vehicles. It also sits considerably lower to the ground than most other SUVs of its stature. The Flex doesn’t make any attempts to convince you that it’s a rugged off-roader. Instead, it leans into what it does best: haul lots of people and stuff. 

Amazing interior space even has an optional fridge

The Flex is long and wide, just like a minivan. While it may not have sliding rear doors, its passenger and cargo capacities rival those of other people carriers. 

The SUV offers three rows of seats standard for room for passengers. You can also find models with second-row captains chairs – but that does reduce seating capacity to six. Fold all of the rear seats down and the Flex offers up 83.2 cubic feet of cargo space, according to Motor Trend. And if you look carefully, you may be able to find a Flex with the available Ford OEM back-seat fridge. 

Surprising power under the hood

The Flex may not look like it, but it’s quite the muscular SUV with its available twin-turbo EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6. According to Motor Trend, the EcoBoost turns the Flex into a sleeper performance SUV with 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Add available all-wheel drive, and the Flex can provide more than a little fun behind the wheel.  

Is a used Ford Flex worth it?

A silver Ford Flex on display at an auto show.
Ford Flex | Bryan Mitchell, Getty Images

A Ford Flex is a worthy minivan alternative for drivers who want a family-hauler with some personality. Its quirky looks, practical interior, and available twin-turbo engine make an impressive combination. Plus, used models run much cheaper than today’s new minivans. However, it does have some drawbacks. 

Ford first introduced the Flex back in 2009, and it didn’t change much over the years. Even in its final model year of 2019, the Flex had essentially the same features package as a decade before. It lacks modern driver-assist technology, has poor fuel economy compared to more modern designs, and its interior styling shows its age. 

But shiny new features and technology aren’t everything that drivers care about. Heck, the Toyota 4Runner continues to draw top dollar despite being just as old as the Flex. If you can stomach some older features, a used Flex can be a charming and memorable family SUV.