Though its distinctive looks may not appeal to everyone, it's hard to argue with the top-flight Total Car Score racked up by the 2012 Ford Flex.
The long list of positives cited by reviewers starts with the Flex's roomy, comfortable interior and excellent crash test ratings. The abundant acceleration delivered by the available EcoBoost V6 and a suspension that delivers an ideal balance of ride comfort and confident handling also earned their share of praise. Many also gave the boxy styling a thumbs-up.
Of course, more than one reviewer pointed out the Flex's futuristic box-on-wheels design could be a turn-off for many fullsize crossover shoppers. Performance from the standard V6 is acceptable, but pales in comparison to the EcoBoost V6. The fact that EcoBoost-equipped models can get a bit pricey was another potential downer.
While the 2012 Ford Flex returns essentially unchanged, an extensive mid-cycle refresh—with updated styling, more powerful and fuel-efficient powertrains and a number of new features—is right around the corner.
The 2012 Ford Flex is a full-size crossover with seating for six or seven passengers. There are four trim levels offered, including the SE, SEL, Limited and Titanium.
Available powertrains include a standard 3.5-liter V6 that produces 262 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, while all-wheel drive is offered as an option.
Limited and Titanium models can also be had with a turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 rated at 355 hp and 350 lb-ft. A six-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and standard all-wheel drive round out the powertrain details.
The standard features list for entry-level SE models includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, fog lights, deep-tinted rear privacy glass, rear parking sensors, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, cruise control, a 60/40-split second-row bench seat and a CD stereo with six speakers.
Moving up to the SEL gets you 18-inch alloy wheels, heated outside mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, power driver's and front passenger seats, Bluetooth, satellite radio and the Sync system.
The Limited trim levels adds 19-inch polished alloy wheels, xenon headlights, a power tailgate, perforated leather upholstery, driver's seat memory, power-adjustable pedals, a rearview camera, a navigation system with real-time traffic info, and a premium Sony audio system with HD radio, digital music storage and 12 speakers.
The top-of-the-line Titanium includes a few extra goodies like 20-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery with faux-suede inserts and distinctive exterior and interior trim.
Options vary by trim level and include a panoramic sunroof, roof rack side rails, heated second-row captain’s chairs, a second-row center console with an available refrigerator/freezer and a rear seat video entertainment system with dual headrest-mounted screens. EcoBoost-equipped models can also be had with an automated parallel parking system.
EPA fuel economy estimates for the 2012 Ford Flex with the base engine are 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined for front-wheel-drive models, 16/23/18 for all-wheel-drive models. The more powerful EcoBoost V6 is rated at a nearly identical 16/22/18.
When properly equipped, the 2012 Ford Flex can tow up to 4,500 pounds.
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