I asked for the 2016 Ford Flex road test because I just couldn’t understand what the appeal was with the vehicle. I didn’t get a feel for the rectangular shape, stylistically… well, to me it looks like a big brick! After driving it for a week, the Flex grew on me and I can see why owners love the vehicle. For an SUV this size, it wasn’t underpowered (thank you, Ford!) and true to its name the vehicle definitely offers a lot of flexibility in terms of carrying passengers and cargo.
The 2016 Ford Flex is almost stubbornly rectangular. The shape is repeated over and over again, as if to say… ‘love me or hate me, this is the way I am’. I loved our road test model’s Appearance Package – the roof, sideview mirror caps, grille centre bar, liftgate applique, and beltline moulding were painted Shadow Black. It also came with 20” black wheels.
Ford’s SYNC3 coupled with SONY’s audio system allows the design of the centre console to be quite minimalist. I appreciated the lack of distracting buttons, knobs, and switches that seem to clutter a lot of other consoles.
The steering wheel has clusters of buttons for you to navigate the instrument panel, cruise controls, and Bluetooth/audio system.
The door panels incorporated an interesting trim design, called ‘Yoho maple’ in our model tested. Almost like wood panelling, but with a bit of class.
The front driver side door has memory seat buttons, and the side vent is placed directly on the door trim for faster defrost.
The 2016 Ford Flex’s cabin has a lot of space, you don’t feel cramped at all. Our model tested came with the multi-panel Vista Roof with shades, which consists of a power moonroof for the driver and front passenger, two separate panels for the second-row, and a large skylight for the third-row. Sunshine for all!
Our model tested also had inflatable seatbelts for the outboard second-row passengers.
Under The Hood / Basic Maintenance
Overall, the 2016 Ford Flex’s engine bay is laid out well and basic maintenance items are visible at first glance. Fluid reservoirs (brake, washer, and coolant) are located up top and the fluid levels are easy to read.
The battery is easy to access in case you need to jump start the vehicle, and it’s located close to an engine ground.
Child Car Seat
If you are installing a rear-facing child car seat, the 2016 Ford Flex has a lot of room so you may not need to move the front passenger seat too far forward to accommodate the car seat’s recline angle (depending on the size of the child car seat). The second-row seat bench is flat so a minimal amount of pool noodles, if any, may be used during installation to get the correct recline angle for the car seat.
The headrest of the second-row seats angles forward slightly so when you install a forward-facing child car seat, you may need to remove the head rest so that the back of the child car seat will sit flush with the car’s seatback.
The UAS positions are clearly marked and the anchors are very easy to access.
The third-row seats are large enough to accommodate child car seats but just a note, the rear headrests aren’t removable.
Storage / Trunk
It seems nowadays that vehicles come with more and more cupholders… who is drinking so many beverages at the same time? The Ford Flex has cupholders built into the door for second-row passengers. This is an interesting place to put it, I was always a tad worried the beverage would tip over if I closed the door too hard.
The second-row passengers also have a built-in storage compartment under the rear climate controls and two cupholders. Oh, and the second-row’s centre seatback flips down so it can be used as an armrest and guess what? It has more cupholders!
There is PLENTY of room in the 2016 Ford Flex. The second-row seats fold flush with the third-row seats, and this gives you a flat cargo bed.
The second-row seats are easy to fold, just pull the lever and you can either fold just the backrest, or flip the seat up to gain access to the third-row seats.
The third-row seats are controlled by buttons located on the side panel, and gives you the option of operating the seats individually.
One more thing I liked – the liftgate button is located on the side panel too. Some manufacturers place the button on the underside of the liftgate which is alright but you’d have to reach for the button up high. There was a time when my kids couldn’t help me push the button if my hands were full, or I’d lift my arm while holding my grocery bags to push the button (I know, I could put the grocery bags down first… what can I say, I’m lazy!). With the liftgate button located at the side in the Ford Flex, my kids could close it for me.
Overall, the 2016 Ford Flex is a good option to consider if you’re in the market for a serious SUV at a great price point that can haul passengers and cargo without compromising power. At the time of writing, the 2017 Ford Flex starts at $30,899CAD.
2016 Ford Flex Limited
3.5L V6 Ecoboost engine
6-speed automatic transmission
Seating Capacity: 7
Road Test Terrain: 60% city, 40% highwayTested MSRP: $58,439 CAD