Best Bet
  • (4.8) 43 reviews
  • Inventory Prices: $5,855–$16,439
  • Body Style: Sport Utility
  • Combined MPG: 19-20
  • Engine: 262-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel Drive
  • Seats: 6-7
2010 Ford Flex

Our Take on the Latest Model 2010 Ford Flex

What We Don't Like

  • Maximum cargo room
  • Inconsistent quality of cabin materials
  • Third row sits too low to the floor
  • Mushy brakes
  • Wide turning circle

Notable Features

  • Room for up to seven
  • New 355-hp EcoBoost V-6
  • Optional onboard refrigerator
  • White or silver roof available
  • Available AWD

2010 Ford Flex Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

With the addition of a turbocharged engine, the Flex crossover is a rare vehicle: a go-fast people-hauler. The EcoBoost scoots off the line around town and makes quick work of highway passing. The question is, does anyone need this sort of performance from a family car?

Probably not. The non-turbo Flex moves quickly enough, as do most other crossovers. But if you don't mind paying an additional $3,000 for the EcoBoost engine — there's no accompanying gas mileage penalty — it certainly can't hurt. The Flex is far from perfect, but even base versions of the model offer a few compelling reasons to choose it over other three-row crossovers. The EcoBoost Flex adds one more: It's flat-out quick, and that isn't something I can say of other school-to-soccer haulers.

Ford introduced the Flex for 2009. The crossover seats six or seven, depending on seating configuration, and it comes in SE, SEL and Limited trim levels. EcoBoost versions have standard all-wheel drive and come in SEL and Limited trims. This review focuses on the Flex EcoBoost Limited. For a top-to-bottom review of the regular Flex, check out our review of the 2009 model here, and see a comparison of them here.

Flexing its Muscles
Though its passing power falls a bit short of a V-6 Toyota Highlander or Chevy Traverse, the Flex's base 262-horsepower V-6 should prove capable enough for most buyers. The 355-hp EcoBoost is far more than just capable: Even with the added weight of standard all-wheel drive, it handily steams past both competitors. It's quicker than any other non-luxury crossover I've driven lately. Turbo lag, which used to be the bane of most turbocharged cars, is virtually undetectable. Hit the gas, and power comes right away. I recently experienced an EcoBoost engine in the Lincoln MKS, and I'm more impressed with it in the Flex. Perhaps that's because the MKS faces a number of V-8 competitors, but the Flex doesn't.

A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. Upshifts come smoothly most of the time, though hard acceleration from a stoplight occasionally led to abrupt shifts that came too early. There's also some lag in kickdown under hard acceleration, but the drivetrain is capable enough to make do. In a lot of large crossovers, highway passing requires an automatic that shifts quickly and high engine revving. In the Flex EcoBoost, I was able to squeeze off 60-70 mph spurts without the transmission downshifting at all. And that was with four colleagues and their luggage on board.

Unfortunately, extra passing power doesn't translate to extra towing power. With a maximum towing capacity of 4,500 pounds, the EcoBoost doesn't tow any more than the base Flex. The Chevrolet Traverse can pull 5,200 pounds.

Flex Drivetrains Compared
Base V-6EcoBoost V-6
AvailabilitySE, SEL, LimitedSEL, Limited
Engine3.5-liter V-63.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6
TransmissionSix-speed automaticSix-speed automatic
Horsepower (@ rpm)262 @ 6,250355 @ 3,500*
Torque (@ rpm)248 @ 4,500350 @ 1,500-5,250*
FuelRegularPremium recommended
DrivelinesFWD or AWDAWD only
EPA gas mileage (city/highway, mpg)17/24 (FWD); 16/22 (AWD)16/22 (AWD)
Towing capacity (lbs.)4,5004,500
*Using premium fuel. With regular fuel, torque remains the same, but Ford says horsepower drops slightly.
Source: EPA and automaker data

Comfortable, Not Athletic
The steering wheel turns with light effort at low speeds, but its 40.7-foot turning circle is wide for this class. At higher speeds, the wheel has a nice, weighty feel.

That said, the Flex EcoBoost is no handling champ. There's plenty of body roll on twisty roads, and the nose dives under hard braking. The standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes suffer from a mushy pedal. As overall handling goes, the Mazda CX-9 feels more planted, but few crossover drivers expect sport-sedan antics. The payoff comes in the Flex's ride comfort, which is quite good, especially considering our test car's optional 20-inch wheels. Eighteen- and 19-inch wheels are also available; both have higher-profile tires, which should provide even better comfort.

Road and wind noise are impressively low, given the Flex's boxy silhouette. On more than one occasion, other editors remarked — at 75 mph — how quiet it was in there.

Cabin Quality, Quantity
Cabin quality is good, but the Flex isn't Ford's best effort. Padded materials with attractive finishes line the dash and doors, but they overlap a number of cheaper, grainier plastics from Ford's not-so-halcyon days of interior quality. (The hellcyon days, if you will.) Things are more consistently high quality in the Taurus and Lincoln MKS sedans, but the Flex is perhaps four-fifths of the way there.

Our 2009 Flex tester had gathered-leather seating inserts that a number of editors called frumpy. This year's test car had perforated leather that didn't look nearly as offensive. They're pretty flat, so you'll slide around a bit in corners, but after more than a dozen hours on the highway I came away impressed with their cushion support. These seats are comfortable for the long haul, and the first two rows offer plenty of room and adequate thigh support. The third row has decent headroom, but the seats are too low to the floor to provide adult-friendly thigh support.

Cargo room depends on whether the folding seats are up or down: There's ample space behind the third row, but when both rows are folded, maximum cargo volume — 83.2 cubic feet — trails most competitors. Ford has one trump card, at least: A fold-flat front passenger seat is standard, allowing objects up to 10 feet long to fit inside the Flex.

Cargo Volume Compared (cu. ft.)
Behind 3rd rowBehind 2nd rowBehind 1st rowFold-flat passenger seat?
Chevrolet Traverse24.468.8116.4Unavailable
Ford Flex20.043.283.2Standard
Honda Pilot18.047.787.0Unavailable
Mazda CX-917.248.3100.7Unavailable
Hyundai Veracruz13.440.086.8Unavailable
Dodge Journey10.737.0*67.6Optional
Toyota Highlander10.342.395.4Unavailable
Source: Automaker data for 2010 models except Highlander (2009 Highlander info shown; 2010 data unavailable)
*37.0 cubic feet for three-row versions. Two-row Journey has 39.6 cubic feet behind second row.

Safety, Features & Pricing
In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Flex earned top scores of Good in front, side and rear impacts. The 2009 model is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and the 2010 Flex should fare no differently. Standard safety features include side curtain airbags for all three rows, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system with Ford's Roll Stability Control, which attempts to stop a rollover after it's already started. Other automakers' stability systems attempt to intuit conditions that may lead to a rollover, but Ford's remains the only one with a dedicated sensor to detect when a rollover has begun. Click here to see a full list of the Flex's standard safety features.

The Flex EcoBoost SEL starts at $36,195, which is $2,995 more than a non-EcoBoost all-wheel-drive SEL. Standard features include tri-zone air conditioning, rear parking sensors, heated power front seats and Ford's iPod-compatible Sync stereo with steering-wheel audio controls. Leather upholstery is optional on the SEL and standard on the Limited ($42,065), which also has xenon headlights, a navigation system and a backup camera. Ford's Vista Roof, which includes a power moonroof up front and skylights for the second and third rows, is optional. So is a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and Ford's new self-parking system; we review the latter feature here.

If you're looking to save money and don't need all-wheel drive, avoid EcoBoost altogether. The front-drive Flex SE starts at $28,550.

Flex in the Market
The three-row crossover segment is a crowded one, and if you throw in a few not-so-crossoverlike SUVs — like the Ford Explorer and Kia Borrego — the choices amount to a game of Let's Go Fishin'. EcoBoost makes the Flex an attractive option for SUV shoppers accustomed to V-8 performance, even if they don't need V-8 capabilities. I suspect a lot of those shoppers will settle for a run-of-the-mill V-6 crossover, but for those who still want yesteryear's burly performance, Ford has a solution worth looking into.

Send Kelsey an email 


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Consumer Reviews

(4.8)

Average based on 43 reviews

Write a Review

Best car i have test drove

by equestrian girl from franklin IN on September 27, 2017

this car is very roomy for my family and it drives very smoothly and the interior is very nice I would highly recommend this vehicle

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7 Trims Available

Photo of undefined
Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2010 Ford Flex trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Ford Flex Articles

2010 Ford Flex Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Ford Flex Limited

Head Restraints and Seats
G
Moderate overlap front
G
Side
G

IIHS Ratings

Based on Ford Flex Limited

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
G
Overall Rear
G
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
G

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
A
Structure/safety cage
G

Side

Driver Head Protection
G
Driver Head and Neck
G
Driver Pelvis/Leg
G
Driver Torso
G
Overall Side
G
Rear Passenger Head Protection
G
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
G
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
G
Rear Passenger Torso
G
Structure/safety cage
G
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Ford Flex Limited

Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Ford Flex Limited

Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Recalls

There is currently 1 recall for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $3,900 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

36mo/36,000mi

Powertrain

60mo/60,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

60mo/60,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years