America loves a Station Wagon, those huge cars with plenty space for the family and their belongings. Ford has brought plenty of options to the table, with its Explorer, Endeavour, Taurus all offering plenty bang for your buck. The 2018 Ford Flex is a similar offering from the US manufacturer.
The Ford Flex is not a new car, neither it is a fresh car. It's been here for too long and the age can be felt inside too. There are three trims available at different price points. There are also two engines on offer, a 3.5-Liter naturally aspirated V6 with 287 horsepower and the Eco-Boost twin-turbo engine, which makes 365 hp.
The Ford Flex is one of the longest Wagon in its segment which offers immense legroom for the passengers. However, it will be a problem to drive this vehicle in small spaces and also while parking it. Overall, the Ford Flex is a pretty decent car with good looks, decent power and a hub of features.
6.5/10 Fuel Economy
The Ford Flex is not a new car, neither it is a fresh car. It’s been here for too long and the age can be felt inside too. There are three trims available at different price points. There are also two engines on offer, a 3.5-Liter naturally aspirated V6 with 287 horsepower and the Eco-Boost twin-turbo engine, which makes 365 hp.
2018 Ford Flex Features
The 2018 Ford Flex comes in three trims, the 30 thousand-dollar SE, the 32 thousand-dollar SEL, and the 38 thousand-dollar top of the line ‘Limited’. The SE and SEL variants get the same 3.5 Liter naturally aspirated V6 engine with 287 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque.
The ‘limited’ trim gets the Eco-Boost twin-turbo engine, which makes 365 hp with the standard all-wheel drive. All the engine variants are mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox, which comes as standard equipment on all the models.
If you are looking for a simple city commuter that can ferry your kids to school and your parents for lunch at the same time, then the base SE variant should do great for you. If you wish to have a larger set of wheels but on a tight budget, then the SEL trim with its middle ground approach is the best option out of the three. Also, If you want all the comfort, along with all the equipment, and plenty of power too, then the top of the line ‘Limited’ is the only one for you.
2018 Ford Flex Engine
"The 2018 Ford Flex has an adequate base engine. A turbocharged V6 that delivers great acceleration is available. With either engine, the Flex gets worse gas mileage than many other midsize SUVs. Handling is reliable and ride quality is mostly fine"-Cars.USnews
Engine and Transmission
The 2018 Ford Flex comes equipped with a base engine that makes 287 hp with either a front or an all-wheel drive. You can also choose to have the EcoBoost twin-turbo engine, which makes 365 hp along with the standard all-wheel drive. The power and torque figures aren’t exactly class leading, although they provide plenty of oomph to the car.
The engine is mated to a simple 6-speed automatic transmission, which although slow, is pretty smooth and makes for an extremely comfortable driving experience. The base engine can be had with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive options. The EcoBoost however, only gets an all-wheel-drive option.
3.5L Ti-VCT V6
3.6L V6 SIDI VVT
The competition spans over a wide range of power figures, from below 200 horsepower to above 300. There is the Honda Pilot offers 280 hp from its 3.5-liter V6, which is almost similar to the Ford Flex. Chevrolet Traverse is the most powerful car here, with 310 hp from its 3.6-liter V6, and the Toyota Highlander is the least powerful, with only 185 hp from its much smaller 2.7 liters 4-cylinder engine.
The 2018 Ford Flex is not a rubber burner by any standards, but it isn’t a slouch either. It takes exactly 7 seconds to reach from a standstill to 60 mph. The quarter-mile run takes a gentle 16.8 seconds, which is slower than the competition.
(Tons/yr. of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)
Quite surprisingly, the Toyota Highlander is quicker in a quarter mile than the Ford Flex, even though it’s slower to 60 mph and has the least amount of power in this comparison by quite a huge margin. The Chevrolet Traverse is faster still, taking 6.5 seconds to 60 mph and 15.6 seconds for a quarter mile run. The Honda Pilot is the fastest here with impressive acceleration, taking just over 6 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph and just over 15 seconds for the quarter-mile run.
Braking and Handling
Braking on the 2018 Ford Flex is managed by disc brakes, 12.8 inches in the front and 13 inches in the back. The brakes work fine, even for a car this size, helping it stop to a halt form 60 mph in just 125 feet.
The Ford genes in the flex help it be a better handler than a car of these proportions is supposed to.
60-0 MPH (ft.)
The Traverse is the bulkiest car here, but also the most powerful. As a result, it feels heavy while cornering and even during braking. The force can be felt at the pedals every time you brake or accelerate. The Highlander and the Pilot are much lighter and drive quite similar to the Flex.
The Flex can not only carry a lot of cargo inside it but also lug around some on the outside. The total towing capacity of the Flex is 2000 pounds, much less than the competition, but enough in its own right. You could attach a small trailer to it and drive around comfortably, although anything bigger wouldn’t be advisable.
The competition beats the Flex in a clean sweep in this category. The Chevy can haul 5200 pounds, which is the most in this comparison, and it also has the most power, which helps it carry it around with ease. The Honda and the Toyota tie for the second place with 5000 pounds of Towing capacity.
2018 Ford Flex Fuel Economy
The Ford manages to have decent fuel efficiency figures, managing to squeeze 16 miles out from a single gallon of gasoline in the city. Out on the highway, the figure rises to 23 miles from the same gallon. The overall figures come to 19 miles per gallon, which is fine for a car, this size.
The Toyota is the most efficient in the city, managing to run for 20 miles on one gallon of fuel. The Chevy is the most efficient on a highway, 27 miles for every gallon of fuel.
2018 Ford Flex Interior
"The cabin never stuck itself out as far on the styling ice. It’s a staid-looking arena that worked best with houndstooth seats and sedate woodgrain trim, a combination long left on the cutting-room floor. It’s still work-worthy, especially now that it houses a big touchscreen and a cleaned-up stack of touch-sensitive controls."-TheCarConnection
Seating and Comfort
Being an SUV, the Flex is expected to seat multiple passengers in comfort. The Flex has a capacity of 7 passengers, which is a great utility for on SUV. Considering a family of 2 parents, 2 grandparents, and 2 children, there is still space left for one (or you could have a pet). The interior space is extremely generous in the front and middle row areas, even for taller people. The last row, however, is strictly for kids, as there is a very limited amount of leg, knee, and headroom. The interiors also feel a little down-market, especially with the plastic in the dashboard and other panels. The upside, however, is that they are easy to clean.
Passenger Volume (ft. cube)
All the other cars here manage to seat 8 passengers, although the numbers are only a small part of the story. None of the cars offer space for adults in the back, which means the third row remains strictly for kids. There than that, the interior space is great in the front and rear in all of these cars.
The SYNC 3 infotainment system in the Flex offers 8.0-inch touchscreen display in the center console. Apart from that, there are more features available, such as:
Sirius XM Radio
Two USB charging ports
There is also app support for compatible apps, although those capabilities are very limited in nature. The best feature, however, is the Ford+Alexa feature. Ford has joined forces with Amazon to bring you the best personal assistance you could have imagined in a car.
The Flex also has plenty of cargo space to gobble up every piece of luggage you throw at it. The trunk has a generous space of 20 cubic feet, which means 4 large bags in English. The cargo capacity more than doubles when you fold the rear seats and quadruples when you fold the middle seats as well. If that’s not impressive, then nothing is.
Behind 3rd Row (ft. Cube)
With 3rd row folded (ft. Cube)
With All Seats folded (ft. Cube)
Only the Chevrolet Traverse manages to have the upper hand in this category, managing to offer a few more cubic feet than the Flex everywhere. Rest of the cars in this comparison have lower boot space but make up for it by folding by the seats.
2018 Ford Flex Exterior
"The Flex continues to stand out from almost every other vehicle on the road. Blocky and slab-sided, this box-on-wheels has a charisma all its own. As with any other unique design, some folks will love it, others won't"-KelleyBlueBook
Dimensions and Weight
All these cars are long and heavy SUVs, with large wheelbases and track widths too. To aid handling, the Ford get lower suspension than the others, which directly translates to lower ground clearance. The Flex isn’t much for the dirt and thus off-roading should be avoided as much as possible. The overall dimensions are fine for an SUV, although the weight could have been lowered.
Track width(in) F/R
The Toyota Highlander is the lightest in this class, with the highest ground clearance and decent wheelbase and track width, although it does lose out on power majorly.
Ford Flex is defined by its unique and unmistakable boxy style and humongous dimensions. There are some unique visual details in the Flex, such as the following:
Chrome plated front grill
Standard dual exhausts
17-inch Sparkle Silver-Painted wheels
2018 Ford Flex Safety
The 2018 Ford Flex gets a lot of safety features as standard. There are airbags for every passenger as well as the driver, child lock security for rear doors, a battery management system, and a cabin air filter. some other standard features are listed below:
StabiliTrak electronic stability control system.
Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA)
Rollover sensor system
Rear Vision Camera.
Child security rear door locks.
Passenger Sensing System.
Rear seat reminder.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System.
Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS)
NHTSA has not yet rated the 2018 Ford Flex, except for rollover safety.
Frontal barrier crash rating overall
Frontal barrier crash rating driver
Frontal barrier crash rating passenger
Side barrier rating overall
Side barrier rating driver
Side barrier rating passenger
Side crash rating overall
Combine side barrier and pole rating
The IIHS rating for the 2018 Ford Flex is between acceptable to good for most categories, which is fine for a car this size at this cost.
Small overlap front driver side
Small overlap front passenger side
Moderate overlap front
Head restraints & seats
Crash avoidance and mitigation
Frontal crash prevention
2018 Ford Flex Competition
Ford Flex vs Honda Pilot
The Honda Pilot is a great car with great on-road abilities, just like a typical Honda, but very limited off-road ability, again like a typical Honda. The price is very competitive and there is a lot of equipment to offer. The interiors are also not too bad, and the build quality is above average. The infotainment system is a bit buggy though, and it loses quite a lot of space in the trunk in order to squeeze an extra seat in the 3rd row, which still is only comfortable for children.
Ford Flex vs Chevrolet Traverse
The Chevrolet Traverse is the most powerful in its base variant but is also the heaviest, which makes for good enough performance and moderate handling. The car is a bit spongy and the interiors aren’t the best in class, but then again, it wasn’t made on a limitless budget. It’s a good car in itself, but a great car when you consider the price. Sadly, the competition offers a little more for the money.
Ford Flex vs Toyota Highlander
The Toyota Highlander is surprisingly nimble and agile, even though it has the smallest engine and the least horsepower. It comes off as a very capable but sadly, very underpowered car. The off-road capabilities of the Toyota are unmatched by others in this class, with the highest ground clearance, and the tightest dimensions. On-road capabilities are fine too, although the competition offers a better ride and handling combos.
2018 Ford Flex Final Verdict
The 2018 Ford Flex is an aging car that manages to do what is what made for and not much more. There is plenty of space for the passengers, and the engines offer enough oomph, especially the EcoBoost engine. If you wish to own a large boxy people carrier station-wagon, you should definitely consider the Flex.
Powerful Eco-Boost V6 engine (287 hp)
Below average Fuel efficiency (16-23 mpg in city-highway)
No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
Upgraded infotainment system
213 cu. in.
290 hp @ 6500 rpm
254 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm
brake rotors (f/r)
13 in. ventilated front disc/12.8 in. solid disc brakes
155.8 cu ft.
20 cu ft.
zero to 60 mph
3 years/36000 miles
5 years/60000 miles
Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.