Among the essential elements of a family car are flexibility, comfort, space, and a reasonable price. First shown at the 2007 New York International Auto Show, and offered to the public as a 2009 model, the Ford Flex embodies all of those attributes and many others. In fact, it’s so good, in its seven years on the market, the Flex has seen only minimal changes. Clearly, Ford’s planning team got it right the first time. Combining the best attributes of a station wagon, a minivan, and a sport utility vehicle, enumerating 15 family friendly Ford Flex features is an easy task.
15 Family Friendly Ford Flex Features
15) Reasonable Pricing
Families and closely monitored budgets go hand in hand; with the 2016 Ford Flex, you get a solid automobile with a ton of amenities for a relatively light load of cash. Each of the Ford’s trim levels, SE, SEL, and Limited, are strategically positioned to get you the most car possible for the money. As an example, even the base model Flex SE gives you heated mirrors, automatic headlights, rear privacy glass, and rear proximity sensors. But that’s just the beginning; you’ll also find air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming. Pricing for the 2016 Ford Flex SE starts at $29,600.
14) Loads of Optional Luxuries
As you move up through the trim range, you can add features such as foglights, chrome door handles, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, self-parking, and heated front seats. Other available niceties include xenon headlights, LED taillights, rain-sensing wipers, navigation, heated second-row captain's chairs, ventilated front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, and a one-touch power-fold-and-tumble third row. These remarkably luxurious features can be had without breaking the bank. In fact, a fully loaded Flex Limited with a nice array of optional features comes in around $42,000. With Flex, the kids can be coddled and you can ride like a boss, too. Is that family friendly or what?
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13) Outstanding FLEXibility
Shaped like a wagon, offering the high seating position of a crossover sport utility vehicle, harboring many of the features of a minivan, while driving like a luxury car, the 2016 Ford Flex is easily one of the most flexible cars on the road. If yours is an active family, amenities such as Flex’s available refrigerator, comfortable third row seating, and the option of second-row captain’s chairs means the Ford Flex is ready for whatever you could possibly throw at it—or in it, for that matter. Because it’s shaped like a box, practically every cubic foot of Flex’s cargo capacity is exploitable.
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12) Generous Cargo Capacity
Speaking of cargo, even with all three rows deployed, Flex can carry 20 cubic feet of whatever your family needs to accessorize life on the go. Fold the third row, you’ll pick up an additional 23.2 cubic feet. Fold the second row too and you’ll be looking at an absolutely cavernous 83.2 cubic feet of space. Readily numbered among the 15 family friendly Ford Flex features, the cargo compartment also offers a deep well along with cargo hooks to secure smaller items. But wait, it gets even better; the 2016 Ford Flex can tow up to 4,500 pounds.
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11) Powerful Engine Choices
If you’re going to be hauling a bunch of kids and their kit, you’re going to need more than a bit of giddy up to motivate it. Ford Flex has you covered with a pair of 3.5-liter V6 engines. For openers, Flex offers 287 horsepower and 254 ft-lbs of torque from its base powerplant. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard; all-wheel drive is optional on the upper trim levels. However, if you want to thrill your family (or, if you just like power), the turbocharged version of the 3.5-liter V6 produces 365 horsepower and 350 ft-lbs of torque. You’ll get all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters as standard equipment.
10) Standard Safety Features
Along with great power comes great responsibility. With that said, truly concerned parents take a good look at the safety features offered by any potential family car. With Ford Flex, you’ll find ABS, stability control, traction control, front airbags, front side airbags, a pair of full-length side curtain airbags, blind spot mirrors, and a rear proximity sensor array, all included as standard safety features. Flex also offers a set of inflatable seatbelts for the second row seats as an option.
9) High Tech Driver’s Aids and Commendable Crash Test Results
The best family cars these days help their drivers prevent accidents in the first place, However, should this prove unavoidable, they also willingly sacrifice themselves to save the family. In this regard, you’ll also find among the 15 family friendly Ford Flex features a suite of cutting edge electronic driver’s aids. These include adaptive cruise control as well a collision warning system. As for crashworthiness, the IIHS says Flex rates its top ranking (“Good”), in moderate-overlap, frontal-offset, side-impact, and roof-strength tests.
8) Ford’s MyKey System
Among the phrases guaranteed to strike trepidation into your heart, the first time you hear, “Dad, can I borrow the car?” from your teen will definitely give you pause—regardless of how well they’ve been taught to drive. Clearly, the engineers at Ford have experienced this same moment, as one of the 15 family friendly Ford Flex features includes the Ford MyKey system. With it, you can set a maximum speed, block certain satellite radio channels (you know, the ones with the cussing you enjoy so much—when you’re in the car alone), and even establish the maximum volume of the radio. MyKey also allows you to set the low fuel warning to activate at 75 miles to empty rather than the usual 50, and it will mute the radio if seat belts aren’t fastened and the car is on the move. It’s the next best thing to being there with them.
7) The SYNC 3 Infotainment System
For the 2016 model year, Ford has fitted its new SYNC 3 infotainment system to the Flex. With its simple layout, pinch and swipe inputs, and crisp graphics, you can focus your attention on the road, rather than the touchscreen, trying to figure out what heck is going on over there. SYNC 3 also supports a broad array of informative and entertaining smartphone apps as one of the 15 family friendly Ford Flex features.
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6) FLEXible Seating Options
“Mommy, he’s touching me again!” is a refrain every parent has heard at least once coming from the backseat of the family car. With room for seven, it’s very easy to stop the Flex, conscribe one of the combatants to the third row, and continue the drive in peace. Or better still, order your Flex with second-row captain’s chairs and keep them completely apart in the first place.
5) Easy Ingress and Egress
Getting in and out of the family car is an activity most people take for granted, until you try clambering up into one of those gargantuan SUVs. Flex solves this issue for your children and aging parents quite simply, with a normal ride height. Ingress and egress is just like that of a normal car. This family friendly Ford Flex feature also makes fitting child safety seats easier.
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4) Rear Seat Climate Controls
The best family friendly autos do everything possible to keep the peace. With a separate climate control system for back seat passengers, you’re freed from dealing with their every whim in that regard. Happily, housed within the same console is a 120V AC power outlet as well one supporting 12V DC devices. These readily accessible power ports free you from charging duty whenever the kids’ electronic babysitters entertainment devices goes flat because they didn’t charge them before leaving home—like you’ve told them to do so many times.
3) Outstanding Outward Visibility
An advantage of the rectilinear shape of the 2016 Ford Flex is its large expanses of glass. From the driver’s position, blind spots are negligible—if at all existent. Further, smaller kids can see out of the Flex readily. This helps focus their attention outside of the car every now and then, which decreases their potential for boredom—a leading cause of picking on one another and/or creating mayhem. Yes, we do know; those windows just became your new best friends.
2) Comfort and Quietness
On the road, you’ll be amazed by how much the Ford Flex rides like a luxury car. Wind noise is minimal, the engine is quiet, and the cabin is free of squeaks and rattles. Further, all seven seating positions are comfortable. These attributes are an absolute godsend on family road trips. They reduce fidgeting, keep complaints to a minimum, and lessen fatigue—to help keep everyone’s nerves as fray-free as possible.
1) Easy Handling
When you think about it, what Ford’s product planning team has pulled off with the Flex is really quite amazing. They’ve combined the utility and high seating position of the SUV with the utter flexibility of a minivan, and married them to the ride height and driving manners of a well-designed station wagon. Perhaps the most remarkable of the 15 family friendly Ford Flex features is even with all of these qualities, the Flex still drives and handles like a reasonably sized car.