I'll be able to tell you more about them in three weeks or more. We ordered a 2014 limited awd 3.5na three weeks ago. I love them what I have drove them and looked at them. I do know that they had trouble with with the ptu for the awd in the 2012 and below.
family of 6 here. we loved our Flex. unfortunately had a tire warranty issue and now I don't have it because I cannot stomach dealing with Ford after 4 ridiculous warranty issues they refused to cover (4 different vehicles)
the 3.5 motor is pretty awesome with 260 HP. we got an average of 15-17 mpg with 100% city driving. she wouuld get 25+ mpg on the highway.
if you buy used, I highly suggest you look at a Ecoboost powered one. they only come in AWD and the extra 100 HP has got to be nice.
We have a '10 Limited EB. We bought it used with just under 30K on the odometer and have about 37K now.
Overall, we really like the car. It checks off so many things on the list for a family vehicle for us.
For starters, I'm 6'7", so legroom and headroom are critical. Neither are an issue in this vehicle. I have so much headroom that I still have inches to spare WITH A SUNROOF. That NEVER happens! I can also fit people my height behind me without their knees being in my seat (and that's without adjusting mine). Again, unheard of.
We needed something that can handle all the crap having a baby requires you to haul around, and this swallows it up pretty well. I'm still absolutely dumbfounded by just how much room a stroller and a car seat takes up nowadays (never again will I make fun of folks who drive SUVs just to handle their kids!!), but that's another issue. The only thing I'm not a fan of is the lack of protection for 2nd row passengers from items in the back in the event of an accident (assuming the 3rd row is folded flat), but we bungee the stroller in place and that seems to work fine.
The next thing on the list was to find a vehicle that wouldn't intimidate my wife to drive it. She's flat-out will NOT drive a truck unless absolutely necessary, so a truck-like SUV was out of the question. This drives like a sedan, which shouldn't come as a huge surprise since it's based on the Taurus chassis. She bawked on the length at first, but when I parked it next to her car (Accord), she finally realized it wasn't a huge deal.
Then, of course, comes the other big item on the list. This is Daddy's DD, so it's gotta be something I want to drive. Enter the EcoBoost. God, I LOVE that engine! It puts such a grin on my face to have that much oomph in a soccer mom car. It also makes a lot of TQ down low, which is nice because I hate feeling like I'm wringing the car out to get hustling down the road (which the NA version kinda does. I rented one once on a business trip). Handling is surprisingly good for such a heavy beast. You wouldn't describe it as 'flickable', but I've taken it down some of my favorite backroads at a pretty good clip and it's actually pretty fun. Thank the lower ride height, AWD, and minimal body roll for that. Add in the comfortable seats, the pretty decent stereo, and the aforementioned sunroof, and I'm one happy boy.
Downsides? There are a few. For starters, the MPG isn't stellar. NA FWD version get mid 20s FWY, but the best I managed on a long road trip was 21. Certainly respectable given the size and weight of the vehicle, but it could always be better. My typical commute is nothing but city driving, so really I average more like 14-16. Then again, I'm not one to drive with fuel economy in mind. We've also had a few issues with the vehicle, made worse by the outright incompetency of Ford dealerships. The first issue was a brake TSB that I had to fight like hell to get them to acknowledge, let alone fix (I had to pay out of pocket, too). The next issue was an oil leak on one of the turbos. I should emphasize that, based on my research, this is a fairly rare issue on any of the FWD 3.5EB vehicles (Taurus, Flex, Explorer). I wouldn't have minded that much if it had not taken 3 different trips to 3 different dealers to finally get it satisfactorily resolved. The last one finally went ahead and replaced the whole turbo. It's also still sporting a set of the Goodyears these come with stock (2nd set, installed by previous owner), and they are awfully loud. I'm just waiting on a good deal on some Yokohama Parada Spec-Xs so I can get them replaced.
Can't answer your question about the AWD in the snow since I'm in SoCal, but I can say that the grip it gives in wet weather conditions is certainly inspiring. I deliberately tried to get it to break free in the last rainstorm we had. I could do it, but I had to REALLY work on it. It's great peace of mind for when the wife drives it in bad weather since she's not the greatest at adjusting her driving to changing weather.
Any other questions, feel free to PM me. I don't check this sub-forum a lot, so I may miss them otherwise.
I have had 2 Flexes now, a NA 2009 Limited AWD and now a 2012 Limited EB AWD. Have enjoyed them both. Legroom and headroom is great. I have 4 6 footers plus on a week vacation. We had no comfort issues and all thought it was a great ride as we drove a couple thousands miles. It was so nice, one of the guys pick up a Flex for him and his wife.
My wife wont drive anything else but this. Once she got use to the size it is all she wants to take anywhere.
The AWD does a great job in the snow. I had to drive from Chicago area to Minneapolis, MN on Christmas eve last year and about half way into the trip we hit snow and had it for over 3 hours home with more and more on the road. The flex never missed a beat, very sure footed even with a side wind and blowing snow.
I also have the factory trailering package and have pulled a U-haul a few times on the interstates for about 500 miles at a time. Flex hardly knew it was back there. I had no problem passing anything in my way other then the gas stations seemed to be a little closer as the mileage did drop to the 15-17 MPG range at 70 MPH..
I would have issues buying another one based on what I have experienced with these two.