NADAguides Consumer Review

Be the first to review this 2018 Ford Flex.

Rate This Vehicle

My Rating

Braking
Fuel Economy
Interior Comfort
Acceleration
Dependability
Handling
Ride Quality
Overall Rating

My Review

Type your review and click the Submit button
600 of 600 character remain


Expert Reviews ( 2 )

2018 Ford Flex
New Car Test Drive

Introduction

Introduced for the 2009 model year and facelifted for 2013, Ford’s sizable, defiantly squared-off crossover continues to stand apart from the crowd. The futuristic, space-age design isn’t quite as distinctive as it used to be, but the Ford Flex remains a practical, family-friendly utility vehicle.

The 2018 Ford Flex is a carryover, with little change evident from 2017.

2018 Flex SE, SEL, and Limited trim levels offer a choice of two V6 engines:

Standard is the long-lived 3.5-liter V6, rated at 287 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque and paired with Ford’s familiar 6-speed automatic transmission. With front-wheel drive, the base engine serves well enough. Because the Flex is no lightweight, optional all-wheel drive extracts quite a bit of its performance potential.

Optional is an Ecoboost twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 that develops 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet, also working with a 6-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is standard on a Limited with the optional EcoBoost engine, adding $8,200 to the retail price of a regular front-wheel-drive Limited with the standard engine.

Three-row seating is standard, providing seven-passenger capacity. At 117.9 inches, the Flex wheelbase is almost 7 inches longer than that of a Honda Pilot.

Ford offers some valuable active-safety technology for the Flex, but most features are optional, and only for the most costly trim levels. The Limited model, for instance, comes with blind-spot monitoring. Adding forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, coupled with adaptive cruise control and a power-folding third-row seat, means paying $2,900 additional.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave Flex Good scores for most crash-tests, with an Acceptable rating in the challenging small-overlap frontal-impact test.

All Flex crossovers have a rearview camera. Also standard is a system that can apply front braking to the outside wheel, intended to provide a more secure feeling when zipping through corners.

Ford’s optional MyKey system lets parents set limits on a youngster’s driving habits. MyKey can restrict vehicle speed, stereo volume, and various entertainment features. Additional Flex options include a panoramic sunroof, second-row captain’s chairs, a power-folding third-row seat, a heated steering wheel, and a towing package.

Model Lineup

Flex SE ($30,300) has a 3.5-liter V6, 6-speed automatic, front-drive, three rows of seats, a second-row bench, Bluetooth-enabled and voice-controlled SYNC infotainment, 17-inch wheels, CD player, cloth seats, heated power mirrors, rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera. All-wheel drive is not available on the base model. (Prices do not include $895 destination charge.)

Flex SEL ($33,000) adds an 8.0-inch touchscreen, SYNC 3 infotainment, remote start, keyless ignition, heated power front seats, 18-inch wheels, woodgrain trim, and dual-zone automatic climate control. All-wheel drive adds $1,950.

Flex Limited ($38,510) gets 12-speaker Sony audio, perforated leather seat trim, power front seats with driver’s memory, navigation, power liftgate, 19-inch wheels, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. All-wheel drive adds $1,950.

Only the Limited is available with the optional twin-turbo, 365-horsepower EcoBoost V6 engine. Priced at $8,200 including all-wheel drive, the EcoBoost version has an MSRP of $45,105.

A $1,495 Limited appearance package adds Shadow Black exterior details, deluxe leather-trimmed seats, and 20-inch wheels.

Walkaround

Not many vehicles brandish a body that’s so idiosyncratic. In stark contrast to the battling curves that have served as the main trend for recent crossovers, the Flex relies almost solely on angles and dead-straight lines. The boxy profile is highlighted by a pattern of grooved ribs reaching down its flat bodysides. Roofs can be black or body-colored, and the front end has been likened to a computer’s USB port.

Hints of several other makes, from Mini Cooper to Range Rover, might be discerned when viewing a Flex. Still, taken in total, this Ford is in a league all its own.

Interior

More sedate than charming in its current form, the Flex cabin benefits from a simple and effective control layout, centering on a large touchscreen. Touch-sensitive controls, arranged in a stack, work efficiently. In base models, the standard infotainment screen measures only 4.3 inches.

Quiet operation adds to the premium feel of the Flex. Upper trim levels get leather seating surface in the front and second rows, along with a power liftgate.

Comfort and usable space score highly, thanks to the boxy profile. Headroom is especially appealing. Adults can expect excellent seat comfort in front and second rows, whether the latter has captain’s chairs or the standard fold-down bench. Amply-padded second-row seats can accommodate occupants who are quite tall.

Easing into the front seats is no problem, facing abundant knee and shoulder room. Side bolsters are soft, but effective.

Third-row seats are usable, too. For short treks, at least, even those tall riders can manage. For enhanced storage, the split rear seat folds in two matching sections. Cargo volume totals 20 cubic feet behind the third row, growing to 83 cubic feet if both the second- and third-row seatbacks are folded down.

Driving Impressions

Comfort heads the list of Flex benefits. Specifically, ride comfort. Overall, the suspension is effectively compliant, though a fast-moving Flex can bound a bit in tight corners. Even the available 20-inch wheels don’t mar its smooth ride quality.

Standing tall and riding high, the Flex comports itself well. Considering that a heavyweight Flex tips the scales at around 4,600 pounds, handling is significantly better than expected.

Steering feels crisp, with even effort throughout its range. Brakes have plenty of stopping power.

Acceleration is adequate with the standard 287-horsepower V6, helped by a fuss-free automatic transmission. Still, a bit more energy would be welcome. That’s the job of the more exuberant twin-turbo V6, optional on the Limited, which provides some lusty sounds as well lively response to the gas pedal. Paddle shifters are included with the EcoBoost engine.

In either configuration, Flex borders on fun to drive. Both engines do a credible job of handling the Flex’s heft.

Gas mileage is well below average, trailing several three-row rivals. Base models with front-wheel drive and a V6 are EPA-rated at 16/23 mpg City/Highway, or 19 mpg Combined. With all-wheel drive, the estimate dips to 16/22/18 mpg. The twin-turbo V6 version is EPA-rated at 15/21 mpg City/Highway, or 17 mpg Combined.

Summary

Despite its age, the Flex remains a solid competitor in the large family-vehicle category, helped by an impressive standard-feature list. While substituting for a minivan in utility, a Flex is priced more like a classy Lincoln. That’s almost logical, since the family-oriented Flex boasts a fair number of luxury-car touches. Advanced safety features are costly, too, offered mainly for Limited trim.

Driving impressions by Marty Padgett, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.

2018 Ford Flex
New Car Test Drive

Introduction

The Ford Edge crossover SUV fits between the compact Escape and the large midsize Explorer. Now in its second generation, redesigned for the 2015 model year, the popular Edge is based upon the same foundation as the Ford Fusion sedan.

Except for a new option group, featuring gray wheels and trim pieces, little has changed for the 2018 model year.

Ford offers three engine possibilities and four trim levels: Edge SE, SEL, Titanium, and Sport. Base engine is a turbocharged four-cylinder, making 220 horsepower. When running on Premium (93-octane) gasoline, output escalates substantially: to 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque.

Next up is a 3.5-liter V6 that develops 280 horsepower and 250 pound-feet. Strong choice, standard in Sport trim, is a twin-turbo, 2.7-liter V6 that generates 315 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque when running on Premium-grade gasoline.

Each engine mates with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive an option. The Sport edition comes only with all-wheel drive.

As expected by its dimensions, the Edge is more spacious inside than Ford’s Escape. In terms of appearance, it’s sleeker than the huge Expedition with its truck foundation, or even the unibodied Explorer.

Like many vehicles today, the Edge can be equipped with some of the latest active-safety technology. But most features are optional rather than standard, available only on upper trim levels. Available safety systems include blind-spot monitoring, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and a 180-degree front-end camera setup.

All Edges have a rearview camera and a driver’s knee airbag. Inflatable rear seatbelts are optional. Top Edge models get a large, configurable instrument cluster to replace the usual gauge setup.

Except for one instance, crash-test scores have been good. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave Ford’s Edge a five-star overall rating, with five stars for individual tests as well. Crash-testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety resulted in Good scores, with the exception of an Acceptable rating for the more stringent small-overlap frontal-impact test. That score kept Edge from receiving a Top Safety Pick designation.

Model Lineup

The 2018 Ford Edge SE ($29,220) comes with the 2.0-liter turbo four engine, 6-speed automatic, cloth seats, air conditioning, cruise control, SYNC, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD player, and 18-inch alloy wheels. (Prices are MSRP and do not include $895 destination charge.)

All-wheel drive ($1,995) is available on many models. Front-wheel drive is standard.

Edge SEL ($31,955) adds power front seats, rear parking sensors, LED signature lighting, satellite radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, and heated power mirrors. Options include the 3.5-liter V6 engine, heated seats, blind-spot monitoring, and navigation.

Edge Titanium ($35,930) gets a 12-speaker Sony audio system, heated front seats, hands-free liftgate, SYNC 3 infotainment, a sunroof, and 19-inch wheels.

Edge AWD Sport ($40,675) has distinctive styling cues, a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6, all-wheel drive, a sport-tuned suspension, adaptive steering, SYNC 3, leather-trimmed seats with sueded cloth inserts, a hands-free liftgate, and 20-inch wheels.

Walkaround

Similarities to Ford’s other crossover SUVs are minimal. Designers chose instead to give the Edge a clean, more spartan appearance. Few suggestions of the familiar tough-truck, hard-duty themes are evident. As a result, the Edge seems more likely to deliver longer-lasting appeal than some companions and competitors.

At the same time, nothing about the design is likely to alter the entire crossover-SUV category. For instance, the front end is appropriately slanted, while the Edge profile includes somewhat thick pillars. An appropriate-size grille neatly balances the relatively large front end.

Interior

Although the Edge cabin is subtle, if not austere, its materials are nicely textured. Plentiful space for people and cargo adds to its appeal. So do the soft-touch surfaces and the comparatively tall dashboard, though considerable glossy black trim is used.

Seats are less appealing, those in front suffering from skimpy padding and flat,short cushioning. Supportive bolsters are largely absent, detracting further from comfort.

The back seat amounts to little more than a flat, rather hard bench. Installation of a panoramic sunroof cuts significantly into headroom.

Rear seatbacks recline and fold to create a large cargo well. Volume behind the second-row seats total 39.2 cubic feet, expanding to 73.4 cubic feet with the seatbacks folded. Small-item storage is bountiful.

In the Sport edition, perforated-leather front seats lack bolstering and contouring, but lateral support beats that of the regular seats.

Actual knobs, buttons, and switches control many functions. Controls for the climate system are helpfully identified. Active noise cancellation quiets the cabin, though not in every model.

Driving Impressions

Quick, nicely weighted steering helps give any Edge an eager feel. Steering and ride control don’t differ much from the related Fusion sedan. Ford’s electric power steering has ample on-center feel and tracks neatly on the highway.

Parking maneuvers can be accomplished without struggling back and forth with the steering wheel. Adaptive steering, standard on Titanium and Sport models, amplifies effort at lower speeds. Brakes can seem a little touchy at times, but they produce reassuring halts.

Unless big tires are mounted, the Edge’s ride is carefully composed and admirably controlled. The combination of a stiff body and an independent suspension translates to precision road feel and excellent body stability.

Performance is satisfying with any engine. Budget-minded buyers should appreciate the standard 220-horsepower turbo four, which develops smooth power even at low-end speeds, with little turbo lag.

Though low-end torque is less evident from the optional 3.5-liter V6, passing power beats that of the turbo power. More traditional than the turbo, the V6 ranks as a reliable all-around performer. Transmission downshifts are quick and crisp with each engine.

More than some vehicles dubbed Sport, the Edge variant deserves its model designation but suffers a stiff ride, battling potholes and harsh pavement. Special steering ensures lower-speed agility, but stiffer shock absorbers roughen the experience. Enthusiasts are likely to enjoy ts responsive turbo V6 and quick steering, along with the taut ride and gurgling exhaust.

Real-world fuel economy might fall short of EPA estimates. A 2017 base Edge with 2.0-liter turbo four was EPA-rated at 20/29 mpg City/Highway, or 24 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive was rated at 20/27/23 mpg. The 3.5-liter V6 was EPA-rated at 17/26 mpg City/Highway, or 20 mpg Combined with front-drive. The all-wheel-drive Sport edition, with twin-turbo V6, was rated at 17/24/19 mpg.

Summary

Exuding an uncomplicated aura, any Edge delivers a pleasant drive, helped by sharp road behavior. Four trim levels should appeal to quite a range of crossover-SUV customers. Lower-end models may compete against Honda and Hyundai compact crossovers. A stiff ride limits the appeal of the Sport model.

Driving impressions by Marty Padgett, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.


J.D. Power Rating
Overall Quality Not Available
Overall Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Powertrain Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Body & Interior Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Features & Accessories Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Overall Quality - Design
Not Available
Powertrain Quality - Design
Not Available
Body & Interior Quality - Design
Not Available
Features & Accessories Quality - Design
Not Available

Overall Dependability Not Available
Powertrain Dependability
Not Available
Body & Interior Dependability
Not Available
Feature & Accessory Dependability
Not Available

Search car listings & find the right car for you
Click here for 2018 Ford Flex SEL FWD local listings

Car Buying and Selling Resources



J.D. Power Rating Legend
Among the Best
5 / 5
Better than Most
4 / 5
About Average
3 / 5
The Rest
2 / 5

* The J.D. Power Ratings are calculated based on the range between the car manufacturer or car model with the highest score and the car manufacturer or car model with the lowest score. J.D. Power generates a rating of a five, four, three, or two. If there is insufficient data to calculate a rating, “Not Available” is used in its place.

J.D. Power Ratings may not include all information used to determine J.D. Power awards, visit the Car Ratings page to learn more about awards and ratings.