Used Car Review

2014 Ford Flex: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Ron Sessions February 2016

In a market overflowing with SUVs and crossovers that look like SUVs, the 2014 Ford Flex brings classic wagon proportions and a unique rectilinear design to the 3-row utility segment. This isn't one of those high-riding SUVs; the step-in height is about the same as a Ford Taurus sedan. The Flex uses conventional rear doors instead of sliding doors but is nearly as roomy and flexible as any minivan. It carries seven passengers with the standard second-row split bench or six passengers with captain's chairs. A deep well behind the fold-flat third-row seat swallows 20 cu ft. of cargo, and maximum cargo capacity is 83.2 cu ft. The front passenger seat also folds flat to enable carrying long objects.

The Flex is available with an improved version of MyFord Touch driver-connect technology, combined with Ford's excellent SYNC infotainment system for hands-free connectivity with smartphones and MP3 players. It comes standard with eight airbags, anti-lock brakes, adjustable head restraints, and stability and traction control that incorporates roll stability control, which senses the onset of a rollover and takes action to avoid it. Inflatable second-row seat belts, collision warning with brake support, a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic detection are also options.

The Flex is a good choice for buyers looking for the roominess and utility of an SUV combined with the layout and overall appearance of a car-based station wagon.

What We Like

EcoBoost V6 power; SYNC voice-activated infotainment controls; retro wagon looks; Range-Rover-like front appearance; roomy second-row seat; fold-into-floor third-row seat; quiet inside; easy ingress and egress

What We Don't

Large turning circle; impact harshness with 20-inch wheels; crosswind sensitivity; drives as big as a minivan

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The Flex comes standard with a double-overhead-camshaft 3.5-liter V6 with variable valve timing, which uses regular unleaded fuel. The 3.5-liter V6 generates 287 horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque. It's teamed solely with a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission. Equipped with front-wheel drive, the V6 has an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 18 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, while all-wheel-drive versions are rated at 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy. Its maximum tow rating is 4,500 pounds.

Optional on the Flex Limited trim is a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. This twin-turbocharged V6 develops 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. EPA ratings are 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy, and premium fuel is recommended but not required. The EcoBoost V6 also tows 4,500 pounds.

The available intelligent all-wheel-drive system monitors traction and delivers the required amount of torque to each wheel based on road conditions and driver inputs.

Standard Features & Options

The 2014 Ford Flex is available in SE, SEL and Limited trims.

The SE offers 7-passenger seating and includes standard front and rear air conditioning, tweed cloth upholstery, a power driver's seat, a leather shift knob, a front center armrest, cruise control, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with remote audio controls, remote keyless entry, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with an MP3 decoder, auto headlamps, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, intermittent wipers, a trip computer, backup sensors, 17-in alloy wheels, a rear-window washer/wiper, split fold-down second- and third-row bench seats, a panic alarm and power doors, windows and mirrors.

SEL models gain automatic air conditioning, heated front seats, a power passenger seat, heated door mirrors, a garage-door opener, fog lamps and 18-in alloy wheels. SEL options that aren't available on the SE include navigation with SiriusXM traffic and travel links, leather seating, driver's-seat memory, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, a power Vista Roof sunroof, a power lift gate, adjustable pedals, a 7-speaker premium audio system, second-row buckets, all-wheel drive and 20-in alloy wheels.

The Limited adds leather seats, a navigation system with an 8-in touchscreen, a 12-speaker DVD audio system, a memory driver's seat, a leather-and-wood steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, a power lift gate, 19-in alloy wheels, adjustable pedals and a center armrest with cupholders. Heated rear seats are optional, along with ventilated front seats, a Vista Roof sunroof, roof rails, a power tilt steering wheel, dynamic cruise control, 20-in alloys and all-wheel drive. The Limited is also available with the 365-hp EcoBoost 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6.

All Flex trims are available with rear-seat entertainment. Power-folding third-row seats, a small second-row electric refrigerator/cooler and a self-parking system are also available.

Pricing

Because the Flex is a roomy, family-type vehicle, it's often used for long road trips, and finding a low-mileage used example won't be easy. There's constant demand for pre-owned midsize crossover wagons such as the Flex, provided that they are clean and have the right equipment.

To get a good idea of the 2014 Flex's price range, you should investigate the used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued the following safety recalls for the 2014 Flex:

On some models, the occupant classification system may improperly suppress the front-passenger front airbag with an adult seated, increasing the risk of injury in a crash.

The front halfshaft may disengage from the drivetrain while the car is in motion, increasing the risk of a crash. This condition may also cause the vehicle to roll away and crash when parked if the parking brake is not applied.

Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

As with the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 models, NHTSA didn't rate the 2014 Flex overall or for frontal and side impacts but did give it a 4-star rating for rollover performance.

The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2014 Flex an Acceptable rating for small-overlap front impacts and Good ratings for moderate-overlap front and side impacts, as well as for head-restraint and seat performance.

Ford Motor Company sold the 2014 Flex with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, a 5-year/unlimited-distance corrosion-perforation warranty and 5 years/60,000 miles of roadside-assistance coverage.

Ford certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles can't be more than 5 years old or show more than 80,000 miles on the odometer. Each CPO model undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, and powertrain coverage extends 7 years from when the vehicle was first sold or until it reaches 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first. A vehicle-history report and roadside assistance are also included.

Other Cars to Consider

2014 Toyota Highlander -- Toyota's largest crossover is roomier for 2014, with fresh styling, a sportier ride and room for up to eight passengers. Continued are a fuel-saving 187-hp 2.7-liter 4-cylinder base model and a gas-electric hybrid. Most buyers will opt for the peppy 270-hp V6.

2014 Chevrolet Traverse -- Chevy's 7- or 8-passenger Traverse crossover is longer, wider and taller than the Flex, boasting more cargo capacity, as well. But it has less legroom in the second-row seat and lacks the Flex's fold-into-the-floor third-row seat. Maximum tow capacity with the dual-exhaust 288-hp 3.6-liter V6 is 5,200 pounds.

Autotrader's Advice

Because Ford recommends that more expensive premium fuel be used in the EcoBoost V6, we suggest the base V6, which has ample power and runs on regular fuel. Go with a reasonably well-equipped SEL or Limited with long-wearing, easy-to-clean leather upholstery. The optional 20-in wheels look great, but the 20-in tires ride harshly over bumps. All-wheel drive is a plus in northern climes, but with all-season tires, front-wheel drive offers ample traction and returns better fuel economy. Look for a CPO Flex or a low-mileage example that's seen obvious care and maintenance. Make sure the Flex you're thinking of buying has had any applicable safety recalls attended to by the dealer.

Find a Ford Flex for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2014 Ford Flex: Used Car Review - Autotrader