By Jennifer Newman on February 21, 2013
The 2013 Ford Flex is a three-row crossover with a look all its own. The box on wheels can carry six or seven passengers. Our test car had a three-seat bench in the second row and a two-seat third row. While we weren't able to fit our three child-safety seats across the second row, it almost worked.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.
The front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant seat and convertible seats are installed behind the passenger seat. We also install the convertible seat in the second row's middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.
Here's how the 2013 Flex did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: There are two sets of lower Latch anchors in the Flex's second row. They're easy to connect to because they nearly stick out from the seat bight, where the back and bottom cushions meet. The third row has one set of Latch anchors on the passenger side, which also was easy to use.
There are two tether anchors for the second row. They're found near the floor at the bottom of the seatbacks and connecting to them was easy. The third-row anchor was difficult to use because there wasn't any clearance around it.
Booster seat: Our high-back booster seat fit well in both the second and third rows, thanks to the wide, flat seats. However, legroom is lacking in the third row, which means a child sitting back there might be kicking the second-row seats.
The second row's seat belt buckles are on floppy bases, which can be difficult for younger kids to use independently. The buckles in the third row are on stable bases, but they're recessed into the seat cushion.
Convertible seat: In the second row, the forward- and rear-facing convertibles fit easily. The third row's fixed head restraint pushed our forward-facing convertible forward on the seat cushion, but there was still enough room to install the car seat. However, this positioning limits legroom for a child in the car seat.
Third-row access: With the second-row bench, the seat folds and tumbles forward in two steps if doing it manually or there's a power button on the pillar. This cannot be done with a child-safety seat installed, though. Once the second-row seat is tumbled forward, there's plenty of room to get to the third row, but the step-in height is quite high.
How many car seats fit in third row? Two
Editor's note: For three car seats — infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats — to fit in a car, our criterion is that a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Newman is a certified car-seat technician. A mom of two, she owns a 2013 Subaru Outback crammed with sports gear. Email Jennifer