Spacious and versatile interior configurable for both cargo and passengers
Interior ambiance and outward visibility are class-leading thanks to large windows
An available turbocharged V6 engine brings an abundance of power
Some features lag behind those of competing vehicles
Sliding is not a feature on the standard second-row bench
Advanced safety features are only available on the highest trim level
The 2019 Ford Flex is the latest iteration of Ford's combination SUV/wagon/minivan. Soldiering on with modest changes since its release in 2008, the 2019 Ford Flex does not bring much in the way of new features to the table and this expected to be its final year on sale.
However, the Flex's unique design still makes it an attractive choice against competing three-row SUVs such as the Honda Pilot, Chevy Traverse, Toyota Highlander, and Ford's own Explorer. With the features of an SUV and the interior comfort of a wagon, 2019 Ford Flex is a solid option for those who prioritize space and passenger comfort.
The 2019 Flex is available in three trim levels: SE, SEL, and Limited. It seats up to seven passengers over three rows of seats. The standard powertrain setup for all Flex models is a 3.5-liter V6 engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive (FWD). All-wheel-drive (AWD) is available on SEL and Limited models. A more powerful turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine with standard all-wheel-drive is also available for the Limited trim.
As mentioned above, the Flex features virtually no new updates from earlier years. Drivers and reviewers alike enjoy the Flex's spacious interior and ability to be configured as either a passenger or cargo vehicle, but the cutting-edge feel and feature lists of other 2019 competitors aren't nearly as present in the Flex. That said, driver assistance safety aids are available, but only at the top of the trim ladder. If you are looking for a spacious, versatile, and unique vehicle, and you are OK with a feature list that feels just a bit outdated, the 2019 Ford Flex may be the perfect new car for you.
On the outside, the Flex features a distinct rectangular body shape with a host of compelling design characteristics.
Among these are the large glass areas, both on the side and (optionally) above, which let in light and provide welcome visibility, as well as overall dimensions that more closely resemble a minivan, but "cooler" according to reviewers from Kelley Blue Book. The Ford Flex measures 202 inches (nearly 17 feet) in length, 76 inches in width, and 68 inches in overall height. It also has a ride height that sits somewhere between a sedan and a standard SUV, making entry and exit quite easy. The panoramic sunroof mentioned above is an available standalone option on SEL and Limited trim levels.
The Flex is available in several colors, including Agate Black, Blue Metallic, Ingot Silver Metallic, Magnetic, and Oxford White. 17-inch wheels are standard on SE models, 18-inch wheels are standard on SEL models, and 19-inch wheels are standard on Limited models. 20-inch high-gloss black wheels are available with the Appearance Package available for SEL and Limited models. Limited models also feature additional metallic exterior trim.
Interior Quality and Comfort
On the inside, the Flex is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the Flex offers a spacious and versatile interior that can be used to seat passengers and easily stow cargo comfortably.
The interior is comfortable, if not a bit simple. The interior features, interfaces, and materials each feel a bit outdated according to reviewers from Cars.com, Edmunds, and Kelley Blue Book. The Flex features a small 4.2-inch infotainment screen and controls that, while intuitive, feel older than those on other 2019 models. Wood-appearance interior trim is standard on SEL models; upgraded wood interior trim and ambient interior lighting are standard on Limited models. A leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard on all models. A heated and power-adjustable steering wheel is available for Flex Limited models via the 301A package.
Seating is a strong point in the 2019 Flex. SE trim vehicles get a six-way power driver's seat with manual recline standard upfront. In the back, SE trim vehicles feature 60/40 split-folding second-row seats with an automatic folding function featured on the passenger side to make accessing the 50/50-split folding third-row seats easier.
The SEL trim adds power-adjustable front seats and heated front seats. Vinyl upholstery is standard for both SE and SEL trims. The available 202A package on the SEL trim adds leather upholstery (vinyl for third-row seats) and driver-seat memory settings. Limited trim models get all of the interior features of the SEL 202A package and is eligible for the 301A package, which adds power-folding third-row seats and ventilated front seats.
Utility and Practicality
Space is another strong suit of the 2019 Ford Flex. Designed to accommodate passengers comfortably and easily stow large amounts of cargo, the Flex features folding second-row and third-row seats for a variety of storage and seating configurations.
With both the second- and the third-row seats flat, the 2019 Ford Flex has an impressive maximum cargo space of 83.2 cubic feet. With only the third-row seats flat, the 2019 Flex still boasts an impressive 43.2 cubic feet of cargo storage. Further, thinks to split-folding rows and a folding front passenger's seat, the 2019 Flex can accommodate long cargo like ladders, tents, tools, and more inside. Smaller interior storage areas abound in the Flex. Storage pockets can be found on all doors, and a total of 10 cup holders can be found throughout the Flex. The 202A package for the SEL adds a power liftgate, which is standard on all Limited models. Roof rails are available as a standalone option for every trim level, and four cargo floor tie downs can be found in second and third seating rows.
Those looking to tow trailers will find the Flex to be an adequate performer when it comes to towing. Both the standard 3.5-liter V6 engine and the turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine the Flex can tow an impressive 4,500 pounds with the Class III tow package available for all models. Without the tow package, the 2019 Ford Flex is rated to tow up to 2,000 pounds.
Technology and Infotainment
Though comfortable on the inside, the 2019 Ford Flex is several steps behind the cutting-edge as far technology and interior infotainment are concerned. As mentioned above, Flex features a small 4.2-inch center infotainment screen standard. That can be upgraded to a Sync 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen in SEL and Limited models. Reviewers from Kelley Blue Book lament that a rear-seat entertainment system is no longer an available option when rival minivans and SUVs still offer one. That being, the 2019 Flex still does come with an array of infotainment features to improve comfort and entertainment for driver and passengers.
Standard infotainment features on the base SE model include the 4.2-inch center infotainment screen, Bluetooth connectivity, onboard voice controls, and a six-speaker audio system with a USB port and CD player. The SEL trim level adds dual-zone automatic climate control with manual rear controls, as well as the Sync 3 infotainment system with a larger 8-inch touchscreen, a USB port, satellite radio, and onboard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. SEL models are also eligible for the 202A optional package, which adds infotainment features such as an upgraded seven-speaker audio system and a 110-volt household power outlet.
At the top of the Flex trim range, Limited models include all of the infotainment features in the SEL 201A package, plus an onboard navigation system (optional on the SEL), and a 12-speaker premium Sony audio system equipped with HD radio. Limited models are also eligible for the 301A optional package, which adds a host of driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control and an automatic parallel system, as well as and a host of cutting-edge safety features discussed below.
Safety and Driving Assistance
The Flex is a reasonably safe vehicle, though it did perform as well on crash tests as rivals such as the Chevy Traverse and Toyota Highlander. The 2019 Flex received solid scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), earning a rating of "Good" in all categories except Small Overlap Front: Driver Side Crashworthiness and LATCH ease of use, where it received an "Acceptable" score, and Headlights, where it received a "Marginal" rating for the Limited trim and "Poor" score for the SE and SEL trims. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not rated the 2019 Ford Flex. (NHTSA).
Standard safety features on the 2019 Ford Flex include a rear-view camera with backup assist grid lines, Ford' Personal Safety System, a front-passenger sensing system, front seat-mounted side airbags, height-adjustable front-seat safety belts with Belt-Minder technology, LATCH anchors, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Standard security features on the 2019 Ford Flex include a SecuriLock passive anti-theft system and perimeter anti-theft alarm, remote keyless entry, and keypad entry. Inflatable second-row outboard safety belts are optional on the SE trim level.
The SEL trim adds remote start, upgraded brakes, and foglights standard. The available 202A package for the SEL further adds power adjustable pedals and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The Limited trim adds xenon headlights and LED taillights. The available 301A package for the limited is where the best safety features come into play. This package adds forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and an automatic parallel parking system.
The 2019 Ford Flex delivers a responsive driving experience when compared with other large passenger vehicles such as minivans and full-size SUVs. Smoothness is also maximized thanks to the Flex's long wheelbase and reasonable maneuverability. Visibility is optimized thanks to large windows, and the Flex's square profile makes backing up with only the naked eye quite easy. The cabin of the Flex is quiet, though larger wheel sizes bring more noise. Available AWD makes light off-roading doable, though in this category other midsize SUVs with improved suspension perform better.
Under the hood, the 2019 Ford Flex features two engine options. Standard on all models is the 3.5-liter V6 engine with 287 horsepower and 254 lb.-ft. of torque. For standard models at all trim levels, front-wheel-drive (FWD) is standard. A more powerful turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine (365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque) with standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) and paddle shifters is available for the Limited trim. AWD is available for SEL and Limited models featuring the standard 3.5-liter V6 engine as well. All models use a six-speed transmission.
Though not exactly a gas guzzler, the Ford Flex is bested by much of its direct competition — including the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander — in the area of fuel economy. Flex models with the 3.5-liter V6 engine and FWD get an EPA-estimated 16 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg combined. Models with optional AWD get an EPA-estimated 16 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway, and 18 mpg combined. Flex Limited models with the turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine and AWD get an EPA-estimated 15 mpg in the city, 21 mpg on the highway, and 17 mpg combined.
Trim Levels and Pricing
The base SE model for the 2019 Ford Flex starts at $31,670, including a destination fee of $1,095. Prices for all models and trim levels (with destination fee included) are listed below.
SEL (FWD): $34,385
SEL (AWD): $36,335
Limited (FWD): $39,885
Limited (AWD): $41,835
Limited (AWD with Turbocharged 3.5-Liter V6 EcoBoost Engine): $44,685
The 2019 Flex's uniqueness as an SUV/wagon blend makes it a good value for drivers who are looking for such a combination. Price-wise, the 2019 Ford Flex sits in the same ballpark as SUVs like the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Atlas, and Ford's own Explorer model. More affordable, smaller models like the Kia Sorento are available for several thousand less.
Though comparable in price, many competing SUVs have seen much more recent generational changes and are thus more updated and feature-loaded than the 2019 Ford Flex. That being said, if a versatile and spacious SUV/wagon combo with outstanding passenger and cargo-carrying capabilities is your top priority, the 2019 Ford Flex is still a respectable choice.
See more 2019 Ford Flex Photos.