Crossover & Midsize

Is the Ford Flex a Good Alternative to a Minivan?

The Ford Flex made its debut over a decade ago and proved to be a unique solution for anyone looking to get into a bigger vehicle without having to step up to a large SUV. It’s tech-savvy interior and versatile three-row layout made it a great candidate for anyone needing more room and not wanting to bear the stigma of driving a minivan. But in actuality, could the Ford Flex be a great alternative to a minivan?

The Ford Flex wasn’t a cookie-cutter crossover

front three-quarter shot of ford flex
2019 Ford Flex | Ford

If you have never seen or heard of a Ford Flex before, don’t let its boxy exterior fool you as it’s more stylish than its outside looks entail. Yes, it looks like a refrigerator on wheels, but its square architecture provides a lot of function, which is noticeable once you step foot inside. The Flex is able to seat up to seven passengers with plenty of head and legroom and it has a host of features that will make most SUVs on the market today somewhat jealous.

When it debuted back in 2009, Ford meant for the Flex to fill a void in the marketplace that no minivan or SUV could. In doing this, they created a boxy crossover that could fit as many passengers as a minivan and had the capability of an SUV, sans the higher ground clearance, of course. Otherwise, the Flex’s interior looked clean, simple, and professional, in fact, Ford wanted it to have a “business class experience” and it doesn’t disappoint. The interior is adorned in leather, all of the seats are comfortable, and there’s plenty of head and legroom in all three rows. Additionally, the second row had the option for a small, compressor-driven refrigerator in the center console, which further added to the overall prestigious feel of the cabin.

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interior dash view of the ford flex
2019 Ford Flex SE full instrument panel | Ford

The Ford Flex cannot, and will not, be replaced

Aside from the Flex’s luxurious interior, it proved to be capable as well. Under the hood, the Flex is powered by a choice of two different engines including a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 287 horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque and a more-powerful twin-turbo V6 that puts out 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. In case those numbers don’t seem too impressive, just note that the latter engine is able to scoot the Flex up to 60 in about 6 seconds, according to Car and Driver.

But this car isn’t about performance, it’s about the luxurious amenities that you get with it. Aside from the business-class refrigerator, the Flex is available with intelligent all-wheel drive, the latest version of MyFord Touch infotainment, dual skylight moonroofs, and a host of driver-assist features including adaptive cruise control and Park Assist, which are grouped in Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 suite. That means that this box on wheels can “almost” drive itself and park itself, all while having enough space for the whole family and all their luggage.

Speaking of space, the Flex has 20 cubic feet of storage space with the third row folded up, 43 cubic feet with it folded down, and 83 total cubic feet of space with both the second and third rows folded. This might not be as much as a minivan, like the Honda Odyssey for example, but it is more than the typical SUV-like crossover with the added headroom thanks to the box-like shape.

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The Ford Flex is being discontinued, but it’s a good alternative

Throughout its production cycle, the Ford Flex has seen some updates, including a mild refresh in 2013, however, it will be getting the ax after the 2019 model year. Although it sold 296,000 units during the Flex’s production cycle, Ford’s plan to discontinue the crossover was based on its strategy to focus its attention on the “fastest-growing” segments, like larger SUVs, as well as the growing competition from Korean brands like Hyundai and Kia.

While the Ford Flex will be gone, it shouldn’t be forgotten. If you’re looking to get into something larger than your typical sedan and you don’t need the higher ride height and bold capabilities of a mid-size SUV nor the stigma of a minivan, then the Ford Flex could be a great choice.