With Ford’s announcement that they’re ending production of the Flex I thought it might be a good time for the next chapter in my series The One You Want. I have long lusted after the Flex. As a guy with no kids and not enough disposable income, I’ve never had the justification for picking one up. I however, am the outlier. Clearly thousands of people shop vehicles like the Flex each day. There’s a great reason to go with the Flex though. It is in many ways a unicorn. It has the people and cargo hauling capability of a taller SUV but is low and wide so you don’t sacrifice handling as much as you will in something like an Explorer. It’s also got a ton a great little features, back up camera, optional sub woofers, heated and ventilated seats and more depending on trim. So let’s get to it and find out which is the one you want.
The Flex came to us in 2009 and has always been sold in 3 trim levels. SE, SEL and Limited. In 2011/2012 Ford released a Titanium version that offered some physical differences in trim like darkened lights, mirror caps and fog lamp bezels. Really though that’s not why you’re here. It might seem obvious but let me explain why you want the Limited over the other options.
The SE only came with front wheel drive as it was the base model. The 3.5 V6 under the hood is reasonable enough to get around with 262 horsepower but not particularly noteworthy. The interior is cloth and plastic. The wheels are 17’s and really the car screams boring. They can be had for $5500 or less with reasonable used car mileage on them and that can be enticing to the buyer looking for only the utility mentioned above.
The SEL did come with available all-wheel-drive so that’s a plus but still lacked any real umph under the bonnet. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot to love for the right buyer here. Most SEL models have push button start, remote start, satellite radio, auto front and rear dual climate control and a better sound system. It’s easy to find these under $7000 with 100k miles or less.
Honorable Mentions - Vehicles you might also consider
The outback is America’s most loved wagon. They’re pretty reliable, they look fairly handsome and they are capable of going most anywhere you might ever need. What they do not have, is much power or handling capability.
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
The Rangey is a great SUV and truly a joy to operate so long as you don’t actually have to maintain it. We all know the stories of Doug and the famous Carmax Range Rover. There’s a reason for those concerns and the best thing about the Flex is that the maintenance is pretty simple.
1st. Limited AWD w Ecoboost
Ecoboost is a game changer in this vehicle. You go from a slow crossover with decent handling to a monster with nearly 360 horsepower tugging at all four corners. It can send power completely to the back as well. You can even boost the power with just a tune. Add in all the features and amenities mentioned above and you have a combination no other car on the market can match. If you opt for the class 3 hitch you can tow up to 4500 lbs as well adding to that list of excellent qualities. As of this writing most are trading around $11000 for a model with less than 100k miles on the clock. Values will likely hold steady as the Flex has just been discontinued. Maybe the new Mach-E will fill it’s sporty yet utilitarian shoes. If you’re a family of 4 or more and want something you can really enjoy driving without the maintenance costs of a Land Rover or Porsche this is absolutely the one you want.