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A Ford Flex EcoBoost Is a Good Car Enthusiast Family SUV

If you’re a car enthusiast interested in a fun family car, you’re probably a bit dismayed by the current crop of family crossovers. While years past have provided many interesting family SUVs — the Acura SLX, anyone? How about the Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited? — modern SUVs are a bit blander, a bit more mass-produced and a bit less car enthusiast-friendly.

 

But there’s one that stands out. That "one" is the Ford Flex EcoBoost, and it stands out because it has everything a car enthusiast is looking for. For one, the Flex isn’t at all a "lookalike" midsize crossover, as many car enthusiasts complain about how the styling of most crossovers is just too similar. Not so with the Flex, which is boxy and unusual and special. Some people call the Flex ugly, but I often find that these are the same people who complain that crossovers all look alike. So what do you want?!

 

Another special aspect of the Flex is the "fun" quotient. Although the base-level Flex isn’t very exciting, Ford took its boxy family crossover and shoved in an optional 365-horsepower turbocharged V6 — which is pretty amazing. It’s essentially an unusually shaped performance SUV, and it can do 0-to-60 mph in something like 5.9 seconds, which is a truly incredible figure for a crossover this large. Short of the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 and other similar high-end vehicles, few family haulers are this fast.

 

And then you have the rarity factor. Not surprisingly, a box-shaped Ford crossover with a big engine isn’t a strong seller — and, in fact, Ford is canceling it. The regular Flex is a bit rare, but the EcoBoost models are especially rare and quirky, which is another win for car enthusiasts who want their family hauler to stand out from the norm.

 

And so, with that in mind, you have it all: a family crossover that doesn’t blend in with everything else, a family crossover that’s actually surprisingly fast and a family crossover that’s rare and quirky. What more could a car enthusiast want? Of course, there are many Flex EcoBoost models on Autotrader right now with an average asking price of $27,000 — and many older ones are much cheaper than that. Find a Ford Flex for sale

 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I agree 100% with Doug’s review of the Flex. My wife and I owned a 2011 Flex EcoBoost and it was the perfect family car for us. Suprising in every way, quirky, and insanely practical. The only reason we sold it was we needed more seats due to a growing family. 

    The happy medium between high performance and family practicality is often hard to find but for a time out family’s driveway was home to both a Black Volvo V70R, and a Black Ford Flex EcoBoost. We miss our Flex.
  2. My wife, and I traded a 2013 Flex SEL, and a 2014 v6 Mustang in on a loaded ’13 Flex Ecoboost back in January. So far we love it. We have 2 kids so the Mustang just sat in the garage 90% of the time. We liked our SEL a lot so we figured the Ecoboost Flex was the best of both worlds, and so far haven’t been disappointed. I’ve already added an AEM water/methanol kit, and our future plans involve exhaust cutouts, a bigger intercooler, and bigger turbos. We want to keep it stealthy, and reliable while making as much power as possible. I figure we can get it into 5.0 Mustang territory (400 WHP) with the mods we have planned.
  3. Fortunately for me, unlike the women around Tom (below), my wife has always liked the Flex and we long ago decided it would be our anti-minivan kid hauler, which is why we bought a lightly used one a few months ago. We got a 2018 Flex Limited EcoBoost w/ 10,000 miles, with every option except the towing package for $35,000, which is a 16k discount over new. I do regret not getting the towing package, as cars equipped with it are rated for 5,000 pounds but without is only 2,000 or 2,500, even if you add the factory hitch and wiring. So, with 8k miles in the books, here’s some pros/cons for anybody that is considering one:

    Pros:
    – Style: Like Doug said above, it’s polarizing but unique too. 
    – Room: short of minivans, there’s not much in the price/size range that has as much room, especially in the 2nd row. That’s actually the thing that made the final decision for me, vs. a 2018 Explorer Sport, which has more updated tech and styling, but has 5″ less 2nd row legroom – I couldn’t put a rear-facing baby seat behind the driver seat and fit in it, but I can in the Flex and that made the decision. Lots of cargo room too.
    – Comfort: seats are comfy and six people fit well, overall a good place to be for a road trip
    – Features/Tech: heated/cooled seats, heated steering wheel, power seats in all three rows, adaptive cruise, blind spot monitoring, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Vista Roof
    – Gas Mileage w/ the N/A Motor: I’ve rented Flexes a couple times for road trips and got 24-26 MPG on the highway, even with four people and a lot of cargo aboard.
    – Reliability: the good thing about so much of the Flex being the same for a decade now is that, theoretically, it should be very reliable and Ford should have worked out all the kinks by now, theoretically. 
    Cons:
    – Features/Tech: while it has some good ones, it lacks the latest stuff like lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking (it only has warnings for this but it doesn’t brake for you), heads-up display and front camera. 
    – Outdated interior design: Ford hasn’t made hardly any updates to it since 2013, unfortunately, which is most evident with the gloss black, Sony-branded center stack that’s not great.
    – Gas Mileage w/ the EcoBoost Motor: I got the turbo motor and sometimes regret it. Yes, it’s powerful and fun to floor it but in everyday driving, it’s a pretty big mileage penalty – I’m averaging about 19 so far and that’s with 80%+ highway mileage…and I don’t floor it very often. Best tank yet was only 22.7, I think. It’s also more complicated and less reliable, long-term, than the simpler, N/A motor.
  4. my wife and  play “punch flex,” our modern day version of punch buggy.  it works great, especially since you can get faked out at a distance by some bony silhouette cars like kias, scions, and rovers.  there’s enough around to make any reasonable drive have a winner.

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More
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