Ford Flex Vs . . . ? Flex owners, what else did you consider?
So I'm looking for a bigger family car for my wife, the Mazda3 just isn't doing it anymore. I like the look of the Flex. I'm having a hard time figuring out what I should be comparing against. I'll consider pretty much any brand, and for now, let's assume price doesn't matter.
For those of you who own a Flex, what other vehicles did you consider, and what convinced you to buy the Flex?
I'd say that the Chevy Traverse is in the same size class.
If you liked the "3", maybe check out the CX-9 from Mazda.
Based on sales, I'd say a lot of people are shopping the new Explorer instead of the Flex.
Jeep Grand Cherokee is getting good reviews.
The new Durango looks pretty good... but it's still a Dodge.
There is the GL class of SUVs from Mercedes.
If it had a slightly higher ride-height, we would own a Flex instead of the Edge.
2012 Ford Fusion SE I4
2011 F150 XLT CC 4x4 w/3.5L V6 (sold-family reasons)
The wife drives a 2009 Flex that she got in Oct. 2008. It now has 40,000 miles on it and the only thing we had a problem with is a cross member worked loose in the engine compartment causing a rattle and sounded like it was coming from the dash. Problem was solved. That's it. No other problems. I like driving it and it rides really good. The only discomfort that I have is where my left foot rests on the raised area on the floor. If you've test driven one you will know what I am talking about.
She looked at a Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia, Toyota ??? and always end up with Fords. We like them.
She likes the 3rd row seat so she can get the Grand-kids in there and still have plenty of room on short trips.
Mileage wise, it gets about 22 MPG on her 30 mile round trips to school everyday. On the road we can get 26 MPG @ 70 MPH.
We were on a two-fold trip of about 1300 miles thru the upper midwest and it amazed me after hours of interstate driving and boredom how few Ford Flexes I saw. They are easy to spot with the profile but hard to find. Lots of Edges and other crossovers out there.
We averaged around 25mpg for the trip with no problems.
The Flex is so similar to the Explorer that I almost wonder why they continue to offer the two models side by side. The Flex is pretty long at 200 inches or so. A friend of mine who has an '05ish Explorer had a 2010 Flex as a loaner last weekend at a bicycle race and it has a LONG load floor and a great 2nd row seat in terms of legroom. I've been a full size van guy for years, and when it comes time to replace it, have been thinking in terms of something like the Flex. (Or a Transit Connect if they start building them in the US and give me another foot or so of length, and maybe a larger engine.)
One concern in the medium/long term might be resale value; if the Flex is cancelled, it might not hold as much value as the Explorer (which I'm assuming is going to be popular based on the number I see around Detroit already). On the other hand, you will probably get a bigger discount on the Flex up front because they are not as "hot and new" as the new Explorer.
Between the Flex and Explorer, the choice might come down to something as superficial as looks. I would not trust the Chrysler products to be as reliable as the Fords down the road (but do find the Grand Cherokee and new Durango appealing).
Although it is not remotely in the same size class, I actually replaced my Mazda Protege (my former daily driver and predecessor to the Mazda3) with a Subaru Forester, about the same size as an Escape but I wanted AWD and a stick. But I still have the big van for serious people/cargo carrying. My wife likes smaller cars and loves driving my Forester--but I know she would not like the largeness of the Flex or the Explorer. I'd suggest having your wife drive as many cars as possible and see what she's comfortable with. If you want/need the 3rd row, though, you will have to go larger for real seats back there.
The Flex is so similar to the Explorer that I almost wonder why they continue to offer the two models side by side.
Second Row Legroom.
The Flex has a massive amount of legroom for the 2nd row passengers. Being nearly 7feet tall, I can fit behind the front row seats with them all the way back and still have plenty of room to get comfy. The Explorer, while looking similar on paper, has far less real world legroom. These comparisons were made over the last week with the 2 vehicles side by side.
My parents bought a 2010 Flex when the Freestar when the way of the dodo.
They rave about the room in the second row and after riding there from Saskatoon to Calgary I agree.
I even rode in the third row in Calgary for awhile ( I'm six feet tall around
250 so not small) The 2nd and 3rd row in my 2006 Explorer is not even close
and from what I see on the 2011 Ex it will be tight in the back.
The Flex would be my next choice, I would chose the platinum if the funds allow
but if not a Ecoboost limited will do.
My wife's Escape Hybrid was rear ended by a cement truck and totaled. She wanted something with more interior space (creature comfort) and she test drove several mini-vans. Safety is a big issue with her - she wants a vehicle that is built like a tank.
We happened across a Flex and were sold. It seems to be such a solid and comfortable vehicle. Her Flex is an '09 lease return with almost 40,000 miles and it seems like a new car!
__________________ -Jim G
1952 Mercury M-1 Flathead 8, 3-on-floor
2000 Ford Ranger 2WD
2009 Ford Flex 2WD
Looking at Ford's vehicle line-up, I see the Edge, the Explorer and the Flex as almost being competitors with one another, even using the same basic platform, engines and transmissions. Toss in the Escape and the Expedition, and Ford has five "wagon-type" vehicles on the market, each one vying with one another for the buyer's money. These vehicles overlap each other to a tremendous extent. But then, Ford is afraid of offering the Worldwide Ranger in North America because it could encroach upon the F-150's market?
To my ancient eyes, the Flex is a happy reminder of my childhood days when we had a Ford Country Sedan 9-passenger station wagon, and all six of us kids argued about who got to sit in the "way-back" seat. All the Flex needs is some "Country Squire" wood paneling on it to be a real memory-shaker. To me, the Flex, like the Taurus-X and its predecessor, is really a Taurus Station Wagon. Why American manufacturers avoid the phrase "Station Wagon" or simply "Wagon" is totally beyond my comprehension.
To the original poster's question: If I were in the market for something like a Flex, I would cross-shop the Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country mini-vans, perhaps the Mazda CX-9, and perhaps also (if I felt daring) the Traverse and other of GM's derived products.
We never thought we'd buy the Flex, as they were pretty uncommon at the time. We actually thought about the Taurus X at the time, because the were almost giving them away. We drove the Flex & my wife loved it. My kids love it - and we have plenty of room for friends or our 2 great danes. 24mpg is average, and enough power to pull my boat. 2 years & 100,000 miles later its still a great car - and now there's 4 others in our neighborhood...
We ended up with a very low mile EcoBoost Lincoln MKT (The Flex's luxury equipped sibling), and paid pretty much what the used EcoBoost Flex's are bringing on the market. They're the same vehicle mechanically, but have a different skin on the outside. The MKT suffers a slight loss of 3rd row headroom because of the sloped roofline, but average height adults can sit back there if the space is needed. I haven't found another vehicle that has the power, efficiency, or comfort that the Flex and MKT offer.
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