Crossover & Midsize

The Bronco Sport Reminds Us Of Another Former Ford SUV

Critics and consumers have been buzzing about the first-ever Ford Bronco Sport crossover, which expertly blends style and utility. While the Bronco Sport is unique, we can’t help but think of another one-of-kind Ford SUV with a similar fashion. Remember the Ford Flex?

The Flex brought the funk

The Ford Bronco Sport and the Ford Flex have the same, boxy, square style
The Ford Bronco Sport takes styling cues from the Ford Flex

Like the Bronco Sport, the Flex exhibits a funky, boxy style. But the Bronco Sport is geared toward off-road adventures, and the Flex caters more to families. So for those looking for a versatile vehicle that can carry seven passengers, the Flex is an attractive option. Its novel design makes it a real standout. 

As Consumer Reports puts it, the Flex fuses the best aspects of a crossover, station wagon, and minivan. Sadly, Ford decided to discontinue the Flex in 2019. While you can no longer get one brand new, the Flex presents above-average reliability ratings, making it a worthy option to buy used. 

What it’s like to drive the Ford Flex

The Flex is known for its distinctive styling and its smooth performance. There are two powertrain options available on the Flex. Over the years, Ford improved the Flex’s standard 287-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine with fuel efficiency in mind. 

This standard engine comes on the SE and SEL trim levels. For a more refined experience, you’ll want to look for Limited models equipped with an EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6 engine that generates 365-hp. Front-wheel drive came standard on Flex, but some SEL and Limited models will have all-wheel-drive. 

Above all, the Flex is a smooth, comfortable ride. The Flex is also reasonably easy to handle even though it’s large and hefty. This crossover has a decent towing capacity too. But as CR notes, there are two downsides you should be aware of when driving the Flex. The Flex’s rear visibility is limited, and driving it can feel awkward at times. It’s also worth mentioning that unlike the Bronco Sport, the Flex isn’t ideal for off-roading. However, you can improve its off-roading capabilities with a lift kit

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On the inside of the Flex

The black 2019 Ford Flex SE  and instrument panel display.
2019 Ford Flex SE interior | Ford

What also helps the Flex to stand out is its exceptionally comfortable car cabin. CR describes its seats as “sofa-like” and its generous leg- and headroom too. The Flex also boasts a quiet interior, so excess road noise isn’t a problem. If you’re interested in having some of the latest in-car electronics, you’ll want to shop for 2018-2019 models with smartphone integration apps and advanced safety equipment.

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Reliability ratings

According to CR, the 2013-2014 Flex model years are the least reliable. The 2013 Flex has six safety recalls actions on it, and the 2014 model has four. These recalls had to do with potential issues with the Flex’s fuel system and suspension. From 2015 onward, the Flex earned better reliability scores with the 2016 and 2018 model among the best years to choose from. 

While the Flex’s reliability history is a bit spotty, its owner satisfaction ratings are more consistent. Flex owners are pleased with their vehicles’ performance, comfort, and style. Value is also a significant selling point of the Flex.