Midsize SUV; Built in Canada
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $7,100 – $30,000*


2009 Ford Flex Front


2009 Ford Flex Rear


2009 Ford Flex Interior


2009 Ford Flex Interior-2

Pros:
  • Acceleration (EcoBoost)
  • Cargo room
  • Passenger room
  • Quietness
  • Ride
Cons:
  • Multi-step procedure to fold rear seats
  • Modest engine noise (when accelerating)

Unlike recently introduced Fords that were long on function and short on style, Flex emphatically offers both. While styling is subjective, Flex’s spacious cabin and cargo area meet high objective standards. In addition to added muscle, EcoBoost models include other worthwhile mechanical enhancement that only improve a Flex’s already solid package. Add to the mix good handling and refined behavior, and you have a people mover that earns Recommended (2009-12) status.

Overview

Brand-new for 2009, Flex was a distinctively styled midsize sport-utility vehicle that came across as closer to full-size. This boxy four-door wagon shared some of its basic design with Ford’s Edge and Taurus X crossover SUVs and was available in three trim levels: base SE, midlevel SEL, and top-of-the-line Limited. All trim levels came with standard front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive was available on the SEL and Limited editions. Flex was distinguished not only by its squared-off shape, but also by its contrasting roof and body colors, as well as the use of exterior chrome accents. Three rows of seats could hold either six or seven passengers.

Power came from a 262-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard safety features included antilock brakes, traction control, an antiskid system, front side airbags, and curtain side airbags. Some of Flex’s available features included a rearview camera, power liftgate, voice-activated navigation system with real-time traffic and weather updates, and refrigerated center console. SEL and Limited models could get a four-panel glass Vista Roof. Also available was Ford’s Sync, which was a voice-activated system that controlled some cell phone and MP3 player functions. Rear-obstacle detection and a capless fuel filler now were standard. SEL models added dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, and heated front seats. Limited wagons included power-adjustable pedals, a memory system, xenon headlights, a power liftgate, and 19-inch tires instead of the usual 18-inch rubber. Rivals included the Dodge Journey, GMC Acadia, and Honda Pilot, but nothing on the market resembled a Flex.

Yearly Updates

2010 Flex
A new telescoping function for the steering wheel became available, but the most compelling 2010 news went under the hood. Instead of the regular 262-hp engine, buyers of an SEL or Limited model with all-wheel drive could now specify Ford’s EcoBoost turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 cranking out 355 horsepower. Versions so equipped were considered separate “EcoBoost” models. EcoBoost Flex wagons included several specific features, such as steering-wheel shift paddles, grade assist for the transmission, electric power steering with “Pull-Drift Compensation,” and a self-parking feature. Both engines paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Maximum towing capacity was 4500 pounds. When equipped with an optional tow package, a trailer sway control system was included.
2011 Flex
The 2011 Ford Flex added a top-line Titanium trim level.
2012 Flex
There were no changes of note to the 2012 Ford Flex, though the EcoBoost engine was no longer offered on the SEL model.
2013 Flex
Flex received several updates for 2013. Front and rear styling were revised, the interior was freshened, and the base 3.5-liter V6 engine got a horsepower boost. The latest version of the MyFord Touch control interface was standard in SEL and Limited models. Adaptive cruise control was available, as was a blind-spot-alert system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, and power-folding side mirrors. Inflatable seat belts for second-row passengers were another new option. These belts inflated during a collision to spread crash forces over a larger area of the body.
2014 Flex
There were no changes of note to the 2014 Ford Flex.
2015 Flex
For 2015, the Ford Flex got standard heated side mirrors and an available heated steering wheel on Limited models.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

In 2009, All Flex models used a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produced 262 horsepower driving a six-speed automatic transmission. Ford added a turbocharged, 355-horsepower EcoBoost V6 engine choice for 2010. In 2013, the base engine’s horsepower was raised to 287.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/214
Engine HP 262-287
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 248
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

16/22

18.1

Turbocharged dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/214
Engine HP 355
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 350
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

16/22

17.5

Road Test

No powerhouse with the V6 regular engine, Flex nevertheless has adequate muscle to cope with most passing and merging needs-even with a full load of passengers. With the EcoBoost engine, Flex is strong and smooth with noticeably more power for nearly any situation and virtually no turbo lag.

Fuel economy was intended to be one bonus of EcoBoost: delivering stronger performance with no loss of gas mileage. A regular test 2WD Flex averaged 16.1 mpg in mostly city driving. An AWD model averaged 19.8 mpg with most of the driving on highways. EcoBoost models have averaged 15.8 to 16.6 mpg in mostly city driving. Though short of thrifty, these results are fairly impressive given Flex’s size, heft, and overall performance-especially compared to similar V8-powered midsize and large SUVs. The standard 262-hp Flex uses regular-grade gasoline. Ford said the EcoBoost V6 was designed to run on regular, but recommends premium fuel for best performance.

Major road irregularities are easily absorbed, and the regular Flex is compliant over most road imperfections. EcoBoost models have specific suspension tuning and low-profile 20-inch tires, which have little effect on ride characteristics.

Direct steering and controlled body lean in corners give Flex a fairly nimble feel. Some testers have found the steering too light, however, on base-engine models. EcoBoost-equipped models have a specific steering system that’s accurate and well weighted. For a vehicle with such large dimensions, Flex has a surprisingly tidy turning radius. Brakes feel strong and are generally responsive, but Flex tends to nose-dive during aggressive stops.

An overall sense of refinement is compromised only by modest noise-from either engine-during acceleration. Any Flex is otherwise quiet, with little wind or road noise penetrating into the cabin.

Large gauges are clearly marked and easy to read. Most controls are handy, large, and easy to find. If installed, the available navigation system absorbs only a few audio and climate functions. Flex cabins present well, with most hard-plastic surfaces hidden from view. Some testers have considered the mixture of textures and colors to be less than tasteful.

Ample space is provided for drivers and front passengers of any size on firm, supportive seats. That’s a defining asset of this model. Large door openings and relatively low step-in make for easy entry and exit. Narrow roof pillars allow decent visibility in all directions. Note that the steering wheel in 2009 models tilts, but a telescopic feature was not added until 2010.

Whether equipped with bench or bucket seating, Flex is generally full-size adult friendly in back, as well. Still, larger riders in the second row will have limited knee clearance behind a front passenger of similar size. Headroom is ample, but a center passenger on the standard bench seat will have to contend with an awkward floor hump. The generous third row is no penalty box for adults under about 5-foot-8.

Cargo space is vast. The load floor is completely flat with the seatbacks folded, but collapsing the seats requires more steps and stretching than in most SUVs. In-cabin storage includes a roomy center console and smallish glovebox.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2009 Ford Flex

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 7
70%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 10
100%
Room/Comfort Rear - 9
90%
Cargo Room - 9
90%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 69

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
117.9 201.8 75.9 68.0 4471
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
83.2 18.6 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
41.8 40.5 40.8 44.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2009 Flex 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: The front brakes may make grinding or grunting noises, requiring rotor resurfacing and lubrication or replacement of certain brake parts. (2009-10)
Brakes
Description: The rear brakes may drag or make noise due to corrosion on the caliper bracket. (2009-10)
Oil consumption
Description: Engines with aluminum valve covers may experience excessive oil consumption and smoke. (2010-14)
Seat
Description: The second row power seats may not fold flat due to problem with cables. (2009-10)
Steering problems
Description: Power steering fluid may leak in very cold (near zero) weather where the low pressure tube joins the pump. (2010)
Transmission leak
Description: Transmission valve body may leak causing clutch damage or slippage during shifting. (2011-13)
Transmission problems
Description: Transmission may start from stop in 5th gear or slip out of neutral. (2009-11)
Software problems
Description: There may be excessive background noise on phone calls, poor voice recognition, failed USB port, or USB not working on non-Apple devices or with the SYNC system. Revising the module software and replacing the microphone is required. (2009-10)

Recall History

2009-12 Flex
Description: The driver’s airbag may not properly inflate during the second stage deployment.
2011-13 Flex
Description: Vehicles may lose power steering assist and extra effort will be required to steer.
2013 Flex
Description: The fuel delivery module may develop a crack and leak fuel, which could result in fire.
2013-14 Flex
Description: The halfshaft may not have been properly installed and could disengage. Power would not be transmitted to the wheels and the parking brake would not be effective.
2014 Flex
Description: Passenger seat may incorrectly register passenger weight and suppress airbag deployment. This could increase the risk of injury during a crash.
2015 Flex
Description: The parking brake may not fully engage.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.