You overlooked this one. It was never appealing to you because you didn’t think to give it a shot. Why would you though, since it basically looked like a retro-futuristic minivan minus the useful sliding doors. What the Ford Flex really was though, is the modern interpretation of the brilliant Country Sedan. It’s a person-hauling all star that drives well, looks sharp, and offers up surprising amounts of under-hood power. And not enough people bought them because the Flex exists in a place that’s somewhere between minivan and wagon, when consumers can’t see past the idea of a crossover.
Now it’s going away. I strongly believe, however, that the Flex will remain a vision in the back of the mind of many an enthusiast. This is a future classic. The way that folks pine for the likes of old Range Rovers and Land Cruisers or 80’s German sedans and wagons, so too will the Flex receive this love.
Ford debuted the Flex back in 2007. The New York Auto Show played host to its official reveal, but a concept version was shown off two years prior. Production began in 2008 and the first Flexes flocked into dealerships as 2009 models. Sales were… not great. Ford wanted to dole out 100,000 of these wagon-esque machines every year. In 2009, the first full year of sales, Ford sold a bit over 38,000 units. That would prove to be the high-water mark for the model. This wave crested right out of the gate and slowly pulled back towards the horizon. In 2018, Ford moved just 20,308 examples of the Flex. But the demise of this wonderful machine didn’t arise last year. Ford announced its decision to move on from the Flex way back in 2016. The planned end game for the Flex is model year 2020.
Why will we care about this in the future?
Inside, the Flex has a fantastic passenger layout. You have a three-row wagon with plenty of room for everyone. The best cabin configuration, however, is designed to transport four adults. Let’s say you want to head out on road trip with three friends. Load up your gear in the rear. Fold down the middle row. And the rear seat passengers are now essentially riding in low-key limousine.
Up front, you as the driver will enjoy the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine. Initially, the Flex was offered with a standard 3.5-liter V6. It rambled about with 262 horsepower. In 2010, however, Ford made its twin-turbocharged EcoBoost mill available on all-wheel-drive models. Now you could order a Flex with 355 horsepower. That output jumped in 2013 up to 365 hp. And the all-wheel-drive system could distribute 100% of its torque to the front or rear axle, as needed.
So you have plenty of room for stuff, family, and friends. There’s great power right out of the gate. The cost was a bit high if you bought one new. A fully-loaded example could easily hit $50,000. But we’re not talking about new ones anymore. You’ll buy this used with low mileage for a price in the $20k range. Or buy a more well worn example for a price in the teens. And you’ll fall in love with it.
Others will notice. Interest will rise. Enthusiast will pay attention as a few tastefully modified Flex examples appear on the Internet in a few years time. You might not believe me today. But remember that you heard it here…
The Ford Flex is a future classic.