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.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
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.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
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2018
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
NA
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
NA
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
NA
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
NA
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 2012 Ford Flex owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

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

Alignment

“Vehicle pulls to the right”

Anonymous, LA (2012 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)
Springs or torsion bars

“Creeks when turning at slow rate of speed”

Gregory D., WA (2012 Ford Flex Titanium 3.5-L V6 turbo)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

“power steering gear on EPAS system failed - was subject to recall and fixed at no charge, but made the vehicle borderline inoperable due to effort required to steer”

David D., TX (2012 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

Body Integrity

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

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

“Headliner detaches and rattles. Multiple efforts by dealers to secure headliner without any change”

Niles H., TX (2012 Ford Flex SE 3.5-L V6)

“Squeaks and rattles from seat belt rollers and roof around sun roof”

Sam C., LA (2012 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Dashboard rattles”

Anonymous, OR (2012 Ford Flex Titanium 3.5-L V6 turbo)

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)

“The brake lights often stayed on after the car was parked. Would never do for dealer so took 2 years to fix. They finally put in a brake switch and it hasn't done it since”

Anonymous, KY (2012 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“Center brake light stopped functioning, required to be replaced under warranty”

Niles H., TX (2012 Ford Flex SE 3.5-L V6)
Wiper motor or washer

“Washer motor stopped working so we could not clean our windshield, front or back”

James C., TX (2012 Ford Flex Limited 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

Electrical failure

“Quit cooling all the sudden with odd smell. Less than one year old”

J B., TN (2012 Ford Flex SE 3.5-L V6)
Refrigerant leaks

“Main complaint is the leak was very expensive to fix. The actual defective part cannot be replaced alone and requires an expensive package part. Ended up spending double what we should have because of part design”

Anonymous, FL (2012 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

Transmission leaks

“Leak between transmission and engine”

Anonymous, MI (2012 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)
Rough shifting

“Transmission valve housing was replaced to repair erratic shifting”

Anonymous, IA (2012 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

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

Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

“Bluetooth keeps dropping my phone and at times it won't reconnect”

Anonymous, TX (2012 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

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

What Owners Say

Battery cables

“Cables are made of material that causes constant and continual corrosion on battery terminals. Ford fusions reportedly have the same issue. battery terminals need cleaning several times per year. This is a problem we haven't had wth any other vehicle we have owned and it's a nuisance”

Anonymous, FL (2012 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

Engine Minor

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

What Owners Say

Engine computer

“fixed in one houjr”

Anonymous, IL (2012 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

Brakes

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

What Owners Say

Premature brake wear

“All four brakes had to be replaced within 2 months of purchasing the car”

Anonymous, KY (2012 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

Exhaust

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

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

“Loses power, shuts down when excellerate to fast”

Gregory D., WA (2012 Ford Flex Titanium 3.5-L V6 turbo)

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.

Engine Major

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

Paint/Trim

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

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.

Drive System

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

Engine Cooling

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

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