Product Reviews

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While the Flex's unique looks divide our staff, we all found it extremely practical. It's effortless to hop in and out and drives more like a car than a traditional SUV. The 355-hp engine in our high-trim version delivers effortless power and palatable fuel economy. It rides comfortably and is quiet. Handling is secure. The second-row seats afford limousine-like stretch-out room.
Alerts
There are 2 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph (sec.) 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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NA
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
NA
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and ESC standard. Side and head protection air bags standard.
Road Test

While the Flex's unique looks divide our staff, we all found it extremely practical. It's effortless to hop in and out and drives more like a car than a traditional SUV. The 355-hp engine in our high-trim version delivers effortless power and palatable fuel economy. It rides comfortably and is quiet. Handling is secure. The second-row seats afford limousine-like stretch-out room. Unlike other competitors, the third row can decently accommodate two adults. Demerits include so-so rear visibility and a wide turning circle.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear, 2 third
Drive Wheels
AWD , Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 6-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 3.5-liter V6 (262 hp)
  • 3.5-liter V6 twin-turbo (355 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2011 Ford Flex owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Calipers

“Calipers at front right wheel damaged while driving on freeway”

Anonymous, CA (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“Rear Caliper seized”

Anonymous, OH (2011 Ford Flex SE 3.5-L V6)

“replace front brakes once, rear brakes twice and rotors”

Anonymous, NJ (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)
Premature brake wear

“Brakes degraded and became slower to respond. Required repair”

Anonymous, IL (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“Brahes went bad at about 38000 miles”

Anonymous, WI (2011 Ford Flex SE 3.5-L V6)

“Front pads @ rotors replaced at 40000. Again at 85000. Rears OK until 70000”

Anonymous, FL (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

“The brakes have already been replaced once. I don't think it reasonable that they need replacement again”

Anonymous, CT (2011 Ford Flex Unsure Unsure)

“factory defect”

Anonymous, MI (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Rear self adjusting brake caliber always engaged and wearing”

Dennis S., IL (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

“The Flex goes through brakes at an alarming rate. I have to replace them yearly”

Andrew S., QC (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)
Rotors

“Rotors at front right wheel damaged while driving on freeway”

Anonymous, CA (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“Front rotors require replacement or resurfacing”

Anonymous, CA (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“Have needed to be turned every 6 months to stop annoying noise, started after two years. After being turned, noise abates, then comes back in a month or so. Probly not dangerous but very annoying. Likely need new rotors, but the dealer keeps turni”

Curtis H., CA (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“only had car 3 years and the brakes should NOT have had any problems yet. They were making noise and rubbing. Low mileage on car also”

Anonymous, WA (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“worn at 19,000 mi”

Anonymous, MI (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Worn brakes & rotors front end”

Anonymous, NY (2011 Ford Flex Unsure 3.5-L V6)
Squeaking

“Rear brakes began squeaking”

Anonymous, IL (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“Squeaking, brake noise when \backing up in the morning. Very loud”

Curtis H., CA (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

“Had mist enter sunroof during automated wash. Went to dealer told me could not replicate. Suggested I replace seal for $280”

Patrick K., AB (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“Sunroof leak allowed water on to damage electronics for climate control systems”

Michael A., CA (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

“Exhaust smell leak into cab from back seal/weatherstrip per dealership. Took 2 separate trips to dealership to fix. No problems since”

Brian A., FL (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“plastic dash squeeks and the dealer can't fix it”

Craig H., OR (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“Minor Rattles from moonroof since new and continued after warranty "repair". Never bothered my spouse just me”

Patrick K., AB (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“This Flex has the Vista sunroof. The headliner repeatedly comes loose enough to cause rattles. I have taken to the dealer for a fix 3x. the problem continues. Information on the internet suggests a pervasive problem for Vista roof equipped models”

Robert C., NY (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“Random squeak coming from dash around driverside instrument cluster. Dealership added some sort of felt lining to dash trim pieces and no noise since”

Brian A., FL (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“Squeak in steering column - intermittent”

George P., CA (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“The sun shades constantly vibrate and make noise”

Anonymous, CA (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)
Wind noise

“The wind shield trim vibrates at speed or if there is wind. very annoying and dealer couldn't figure it out I put duct tape on it and it fixed the thin plastic trim vibration”

Rudy K., CA (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Significant driving noise through the sunroof, even when closed”

Anonymous, ON (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

“The Flex is a nice heavy car. Why can't the auto makers seal them up so they do not make wind noise.. Never had the problem with the early cars...almost all now leak”

Anonymous, WA (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“Extreme outside noise - sounds like doors are not even attached to vehicle”

Mario M., AZ (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

“AC system failed at 4 years. Still need Ford to correct. Vehicle out of warranty”

Anonymous, CO (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)
Automatic climate control

“Passenger side blows only outside air regardless of feature selected. This is second time for this problem”

Andrew G., KS (2011 Ford Flex)

“passenger air control door not operating correctly all the time”

Anonymous, TX (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“Servo motors in dash replaced made noise”

D P., AZ (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“The diverter box stopped working. All air came through defrost vents”

Petros K., FL (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)
Condenser

“Hole in condenser possible road debris damage”

George F., NJ (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“The system will not blow heat, the problem doesn't occur regularly and the dealership won't try to fix the problem until it completely fails”

Anonymous, AB (2011 Ford Flex)
Refrigerant leaks

“Leak in the condenser”

George F., NJ (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“See comments on computer. When addressed by dealer, I found out there was a service bulletin, over 2 years old, which had been issued for this car transmission issues. Since it was repaired about 10 months ago, it's been working better, but still s”

Scott W., CA (2011 Ford Flex)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Backup or other camera/sensors

“Back up camera went out. It was replaced under my extended waranty”

Anonymous, FL (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

“The system can connect to my iPod, but sometimes it fails to reconnect and just says "indexing...". The only way to solve it is to restart the Ford Sync system, which then looses bluetooth pairings. It's annoying”

Anonymous, MD (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“We could pair our HTC smartphone but days later the Ford SYNC would fail to connect via bluetooth. This is intermittent. The phone works fine with our other cars”

Anonymous, MD (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)
Rear entertainment system (e.g., DVD player, rear screen)

“DVD player in head rest would not turn off. Had to have the unit replaced several times”

Anonymous, NC (2011 Ford Flex Titanium 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“Rear DVD player won't shut off”

Michael A., CA (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)
Voice control commands

“Entire system freezes up, happens about once every 1 or 2 months, voice commands do not work, will not link to navigation or mp3. solution is to pull the fuse to reset system. this is a nuisance because of fuse location, but can be done in driveway”

Anonymous, NC (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)
CD player

“Player would not load CDs. I had purchased extended coverage from the dealer when I purchased the car. A potential $1,000 replacement bill ended up costing me $97”

Bob K., NY (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

“Extremely difficult to update. The update company with the Ford Motor Company Logo is difficult to deal with, provided defective update CDs, (Neither I nor the dealer could get them to work) and poor customer service to help get them installed”

Gary L., NC (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“I had to replace the battery at around 70k.After installing the new battery, I noticed that I had a few "blown" fuses...I was able to locate and replace the bad fuses, but the side mirror lights and the interior console lights no longer work...I susp”

Anonymous, WV (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“exterior lights flash for no reason whenever they like especially when parked”

Anonymous, FL (2011 Ford Flex SE 3.5-L V6)

“Were flashing intermittently over the years and was finally attributed to the shorted door keypad”

Anonymous, FL (2011 Ford Flex SE 3.5-L V6)
Keyless entry

“Door locks erratic,lights flash without fob, doors sometimes lock by themselves”

Anonymous, FL (2011 Ford Flex SE 3.5-L V6)

“Keypad on door shorted wire and locked the doors whenever it chose, flashed lights . It took many years to isolate problem and was solved only after out of origional factory warranty”

Anonymous, FL (2011 Ford Flex SE 3.5-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

“rack & pinion started leaking and had to be replaced”

Neva D., NM (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)
Shocks or struts

“Rear Struts Leaking Fluid”

Anonymous, CA (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

“Power steering fluid was leaking...it turned out to be a problem with the rack and pinion steering. The issue was easily corrected at an local independent repair shop”

Anonymous, WV (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

“This has happened 3-4 times in the past 3 years. After driving for awhile and stopping at a stop sign or light, the car will not move immediately when the gas is pushed. The engine will "race" but the car will not move and then suddenly it will "lurc”

Anonymous, WV (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“After driving one mile, then from a standing start, applying the gas the trans will "clunk" into first. this happens only occasionally and the dealer says he would need the car for "a while" and I have only one car”

John W., CA (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)
Transmission computer

“Computer was not sensing shift times correctly, leading to slippage and rough, jerky shifting. Once it would not go into any gear after idling for a few minutes in Park. Sometimes when cold, would squeal tires between 1st and 2nd gear”

Scott W., CA (2011 Ford Flex)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

CV joint

“Passenger side CV joint became loose, required replacement”

Anonymous, CA (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)
Electrical failure

“At about 92000 miles the digital door lock combination to open the car without a key failed. Dealer wanted over $500 to fix it. I was told they had to replace part of the door frame to do it!! I said no!”

Gary L., NC (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

“replaced PTU assembly”

Anonymous, NJ (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

“Dropped calls Voice prompts not understood”

Ron S., CA (2011 Ford Flex)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Seat controls - movement

“Rear driver's side 2nd row seat seat would not release to permit access to 3rd row of seating”

Bob K., NY (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

“Complete engine rebuild due to fuel sensor failure”

Mario M., AZ (2011 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

“Automatic car wash leaves scratches on paint that do not happen with other cars using the same wash”

Anonymous, ON (2011 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

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