Boxy and bold

2015 Ford Flex Limited

3.5-liter Ecoboost V-6

Six-speed automatic transmission

Available all-wheel drive

Fuel efficiency

365 Horsepower

350 pound-feet of torque

Hip to be square

Space for people and things

Limited trim features

Top of the line price

Tow package upgrades

Premium paint

Geometric style

Comfortable ride

Contrast roof

Parking sensors

Multi-pane sunroof

Must have feature

Power third-row seats

Fold flat row

"Tailgate" mode

Shortcut keys

Interior

MyFord Touch

Electric power steering

Adjustable wheel and pedals

Smartgauge instruments

Maps and traffic

Premium audio

Adaptive cruise control

Semi-autonomous parking assist

Self-parking tech

Shifting programs

Inputs and ports

Climate controls

Smartgauge left

Smartgauge right

The 2015 Ford Flex's boxy style makes me think of a Scion xB that's been significantly stretched to fit seven souls.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The Flex rolled into its eighth year of production with the 2015 model and has persisted largely unchanged over the years.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Both engines are mated with a six-speed automatic transmission, but the Ecoboost model is outfitted with paddle shifters.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The twin-turbocharged Ecoboost V-6 makes 365 peak horsepower.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Torque is stated at 350 pound-feet.

The naturally aspirated SE and SEL models make 287 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The Flex's strong rectangular shape affects both its form and function.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The flat roof and upright glass helps the crossover to maximize its interior volume and third row headroom.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The top trim Limited model features, in addition to its more robust powertrain, a number of comfort and styling upgrades like these HID headlamps.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The 2015 Ford Flex Limited starts at $37,700, but our fully loaded example tickles the $50,000 mark as tested.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

When equipped with this $570 Class III towing package, the Flex gains the ability to pull up to a 4,500 pound trailer.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Bronze metallic paint adds $395 to the bottom line (and looks fantastic in the sunlight).

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The Flex's boxy silhouette is further accentuated with horizontal character lines along the flanks, grille and liftgate.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The Flex has a fixed suspension that has been tuned for comfort.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The silver roof adds hints of Mini Cooper to the Flex's inspiration palette and an additional $570 to the MSRP.

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Ultrasonic sensors provide proximity detection at low speeds and are also used by the Blind Spot Monitoring system and the active parking assist.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The Limited model features a power liftgate and a power folding rear bench.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

A bank of buttons gives users access to the Flex's various configurations.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

MyFord Touch makes an unsurprising appearance in the dashboard. It's a sluggish as ever, but Sync voice commands make for a tolerable experience.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Both the steering wheel and the pedals are electrically adjustable.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Navigation is standard on the Limited model and features SiriusXM-provided traffic data.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Also standard at the top of the line is a 390-watt, 12-speaker Sony audio system.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

At the touch of a button, an optional Active Park Assist system can scan for properly sized parallel parking spaces and alert the driver.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The Ecoboost Flex features a manual shift mode and paddle shifters. Neither of these seem necessary on such an unsporty vehicle.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Analog and digital media inputs can be found in the Flex's center console. The SD card slot holds the map data for navigation.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Passengers have a great deal of control over the cabin's climate with multi-zone temperature settings and heated and cooled front seats.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The right screen is where you'll find infotainment functions, broken out into navigation, media, and calling sections.

Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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