The 2015 Ford Flex's boxy style makes me think of a Scion xB that's been significantly stretched to fit seven souls.
The Flex is available in either front or all-wheel drive. AWD is optional on SE and SEL models and standard on the top Limited Ecoboost trim.
The Flex rolled into its eighth year of production with the 2015 model and has persisted largely unchanged over the years.
A choice between two 3.5-liter V-6 engines can be had beneath the Flex's hood. One is a naturally aspirated unit; this is a significantly more powerful Ecoboost mill.
Both engines are mated with a six-speed automatic transmission, but the Ecoboost model is outfitted with paddle shifters.
With the more powerful engine and AWD, the Flex is good for an EPA-estimated 18 combined mpg (16 city, 23 highway). I averaged about 19 mpg during my week of testing.
The twin-turbocharged Ecoboost V-6 makes 365 peak horsepower.
Torque is stated at 350 pound-feet.
The naturally aspirated SE and SEL models make 287 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque.
The Flex's strong rectangular shape affects both its form and function.
The flat roof and upright glass helps the crossover to maximize its interior volume and third row headroom.
The top trim Limited model features, in addition to its more robust powertrain, a number of comfort and styling upgrades like these HID headlamps.
The 2015 Ford Flex Limited starts at $37,700, but our fully loaded example tickles the $50,000 mark as tested.
When equipped with this $570 Class III towing package, the Flex gains the ability to pull up to a 4,500 pound trailer.
Bronze metallic paint adds $395 to the bottom line (and looks fantastic in the sunlight).
The Flex's boxy silhouette is further accentuated with horizontal character lines along the flanks, grille and liftgate.
The Flex has a fixed suspension that has been tuned for comfort.
The silver roof adds hints of Mini Cooper to the Flex's inspiration palette and an additional $570 to the MSRP.
Ultrasonic sensors provide proximity detection at low speeds and are also used by the Blind Spot Monitoring system and the active parking assist.
On the outside, the Flex appears to have two largish moonroof openings, but when viewed from the inside, we see that the rear glass is split into three smaller openings.
The so-called multi-panel Vista Roof adds a further $1,595 to the price tag, but brings much-needed light into the Flex's cavernous cabin.
The Limited model features a power liftgate and a power folding rear bench.
At the touch of a button, the Flex goes from a 7-seater to a fiver as the third row folds flat into the floor.
There's also a third setting for the rear seats: a tailgate mode that flips the bench backwards forming a pair of seats for picnicking or tailgating when parked.
A bank of buttons gives users access to the Flex's various configurations.
Despite leather upholstery and strategic application of wood trim, the Flex Limited doesn't feel luxurious. It does, however, feel very well made. The cabin is quiet at highway speeds, though wind noise can be pronounced.
MyFord Touch makes an unsurprising appearance in the dashboard. It's a sluggish as ever, but Sync voice commands make for a tolerable experience.
The Flex features electric power steering, which helps save a bit of fuel, but also comes into play with some of the driver aid features.
Both the steering wheel and the pedals are electrically adjustable.
Front and center to the driver is Ford's Smartgauge hybrid instrument cluster. This setup uses a pair of color screens and a large, physical speedometer.
Navigation is standard on the Limited model and features SiriusXM-provided traffic data.
Also standard at the top of the line is a 390-watt, 12-speaker Sony audio system.
Many of the more advanced driver aid features, such as adaptive cruise and forward collision warning, are rolled into a $3,895 equipment group package.
At the touch of a button, an optional Active Park Assist system can scan for properly sized parallel parking spaces and alert the driver.
When a space is found, Active Park Assist can then steer the Flex into the space while the driver retains control of the accelerator and brakes.
The Ecoboost Flex features a manual shift mode and paddle shifters. Neither of these seem necessary on such an unsporty vehicle.
Analog and digital media inputs can be found in the Flex's center console. The SD card slot holds the map data for navigation.
Passengers have a great deal of control over the cabin's climate with multi-zone temperature settings and heated and cooled front seats.
Each of the Smartgauge display's two screens is controlled by a corresponding directional pad on the steering wheel. The left screen is home to vehicle information, such a fuel economy and trip computer displays.
The right screen is where you'll find infotainment functions, broken out into navigation, media, and calling sections.