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With a distinctive boxy shape combining the elements of an SUV, minivan and station wagon, the Flex is a very functional and versatile vehicle. The base 3.5-liter V6 engine was updated over the years in an attempt to improve acceleration and fuel economy, but it still falls short on refinement.
Alerts
There are 5 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

With a distinctive boxy shape combining the elements of an SUV, minivan and station wagon, the Flex is a very functional and versatile vehicle. The base 3.5-liter V6 engine was updated over the years in an attempt to improve acceleration and fuel economy, but it still falls short on refinement. This iteration of the Flex also has the frustrating MyFord Touch interface, which adds a layer of complication, although it also supplies full-featured connectivity options.

On the plus side, the ride is comfortable and the cabin is quiet and spacious. Rear-seat room is cavernous, with a usable third-row seat and generous cargo space. But handling is clumsy and maneuverability is hampered by a large turning circle and limited rear visibility.

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 (287 hp)
  • 3.5-liter V6 turbo (365 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2013 Ford Flex owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

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

“Everything was up side down for viewing”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“backup and sensors including alarm go off in day or night when no one is around”

Anonymous, TX (2013 Ford Flex SE 3.5-L V6)

“Backup camera / reverse parking sensors frequently sense things that aren't there”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

“because part of the radio unit, this quite working also because the radio quite”

Mark T., AZ (2013 Ford Flex SE 3.5-L V6)

“On several occasions the heating/aircondition froze up at very hi or very lo temps”

Anonymous, MI (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“When I purchased the car new, I thought the nav system would update automatically on a regular basis.. NOT. I was sent 1 chip (free) the second year of ownership (2014) but nothing since. I can PURCHASE an updated chip for $150 ONLY from the dealer. New highways do not appear on old software. I depend on my smartphone now, MUCH more dependable and easier to use”

Charles E., MI (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“location car is not accurately depicted on screen”

Anonymous, FL (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“Garbled static audio (not clear) sound. Contacts do not transfer properly. Voice dialing erratic or completely wrong”

Paul L., IL (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“troublesome interface with APPLE / iPhone. Needed to reprogram!”

Anonymous, MA (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“The radio had poor FM reception. The antenna was replaced and the problem was fixed”

Anonymous, WA (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“Sometimes the radio will not work unless I stop the car, turn off the ignition, then restart the engine”

Anonymous, OH (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“The radio quite working out of the blue, dealer could find nothing wrong after (3) trips, finally because out of warranty, had radio replaced, and is starting to do again”

Mark T., AZ (2013 Ford Flex SE 3.5-L V6)

“The radio could not be controlled by the controls on the main screen. Only the secondary controls on the steering wheel could operate system”

Anonymous, MI (2013 Ford Flex Unsure 3.5-L V6)

“excessive noise”

Anonymous, TX (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Entertainment quadrant on touch screen inoperative. Dealer rebooted system from a memory stick. Problem solved”

Jim M., ON (2013 Ford Flex)
Voice control commands

“Doesn't understand simple addresses or names to make phone calls. Frustrating talking to a non-responsive computer”

Charles E., MI (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“Because of our southern accent we have trouble with getting the voice response we need”

Anonymous, TX (2013 Ford Flex SE 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

Alarm or security system (excluding aftermarket systems)

“Door will not lock. Recalled on all vehicles but Flex is not in large enough production. Needs to be recalled, it's a problem with door latch”

Anonymous, NJ (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“right door position sensor failed sometimes leading to alarm activation”

Anonymous, MI (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“Door sensor sees the door as open even when closed. When the doors are locked, the alarm goes off”

Anonymous, SC (2013 Ford Flex Unsure 3.5-L V6)

“"Left Rear Door Ajar" indicator is on, when door is secure, causing Anti-theft alarm to activate. Ford replaced latch, problem resolved”

Anonymous, FL (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

“The shape of the Ford Flex key is such that the "alarm" button often gets pressed by other keys while the keychain is in my pocket. I never had this problem with my Toyota Prius key fob, nor does my wife have this problem with her Lexus key fob”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)
Interior lights

“The interior lights stay on because the door sensors are malfunctioning”

Bradford D., MI (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“Wind caught the plastic panel covering this and ripped it off. Wiring still worlds because it broke in half. Still have to fix. Don't know if it's covered. Loose fitting was the problem. Console on inside broke too”

Eugenia K., DC (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)
Remote engine starter

“Repaired this twice and it doesn't worjk”

Bradford D., MI (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“twice the "door ajar" sensor went faulty causing the warning light to stay on when the door was closed. Since it could not tell the door was closed, the interior lights would stay on, the auto door locks would not work and the warning display came up”

Anonymous, OH (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“The open door sensor needed to be replaced at a cost to me of $625”

Anonymous, AB (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)
Headlights

“Headlights plus others. They stopped working, though automatic shutdown prevented battery from going out. Whole system -- radio, GPS was affected. Repair cost $280. Have yet to find out if covered by warranty because warranty is subcontracted, or som”

Eugenia K., DC (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)
Tire pressure monitor

“faulty sensor”

Anonymous, MN (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)
Wiper motor or washer

“The windshield washer failed to operate. Dealer will fix this next week under waranty”

L S., IN (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

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.

What Owners Say

“Replaced a valve in the emissions system”

Frank E., NJ (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)
Fuel pump

“Fuel pump module failed to deliver fuel”

Anonymous, MI (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“car ran fine, parked it at night, next morning it would not start. towed to Ford dealer and he had to replace fuel pump”

Anonymous, NC (2013 Ford Flex Limited Unsure)

“leaking fuel line or fuel pump. had it fixed, then ford had a recall. had to have the part replaced a 2nd time”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

“recall was issued”

Anonymous, MB (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)
Fuel cap

“The capless fuel system is a joke. I had another cel light. When I took it in the service manager asked me if I had run the funnel adaptor in and out several times. Evidently there are sensors in the complicated fuel cap system. I thought this was ri”

Philip F., MN (2013 Ford Flex Limited 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

“Water stains on right sun visor”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“Rain leak in the roof damaged the My Ford Touch panel and required complete replacement which was covered by warranty”

Paul L., IL (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“Fr Not end noise , deal has not been able to resolve”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“annoying vibration and rattle from bad windshield seal”

Anonymous, AZ (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

“Headliner rattles on the vista moonroof”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

Paint/Trim

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

What Owners Say

“Front end is extremely fragile easily broken plastic Very expensive to repair”

Stuart D., MA (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“Paint on passenger door is peeling off, almost like the car had a wrap peeling off”

Anonymous, SC (2013 Ford Flex Unsure 3.5-L V6)

“My Flex is red. On the front hood is a little chip of the red paint. Maybe a rock hit it. However, I do feel the paint should of held up better than it did”

Randy T., GA (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)
Rust

“with less than 50000 miles and 4 years in service, the undercarriage of this vehicle is horrifically rusted. Condition more appropriate for an eight ten year old vehicle in the northeast (winters, salt, etc)!”

David S., NH (2013 Ford Flex SE 3.5-L V6)

Exhaust

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

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

“catalytiv converters went bad and had to be replacedalong with sen sors. The issues was due to a prior fuel contamination issue before I bought it. When I purchased the vehicle with 16k miles I was not informed of the previous fuel problems. Luckily”

Philip F., MN (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)
Other/unsure

“Difficult to use. Not user friendly. At times, cannot get it to set up”

William S., TX (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“text message stopped working”

Anonymous, FL (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

“had to go back and get updates software that should have been in the car in the first place”

Andrew F., CA (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

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

“Strut mounts needed to be replaced. Front sway bar links needed to be replaced”

Anonymous, WA (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

“Failed servo motor in steering linkage. Caused clunking noise when reversing direction and a loose feel to the steering”

Robert K., PA (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“Steering Rod was bent”

James K., MI (2013 Ford Flex Limited 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

“Rear brakes required replacing at 36000 miles....seemed to be premature, and front brakes usually need servicing first. Ford issued a TSB about pads dragging but dealer did not agree, so I paid for brake job”

Thomas L., MI (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

“The brakes should have lasted longer”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Ford Flex SEL Unsure)

“Front Rotors warped prematurely needed to be turned to eliminate brake vibration”

Rick F., ON (2013 Ford Flex SEL 3.5-L V6)

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

“door closed sensor in drivers door failed”

Anonymous, MN (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)
Locks and latches

“Right rear passenger door sensor repeatedly acts up sensing the door as open... 3 trips to dealer includes entire latch assembly and sensor unit being replaced under warranty though the issue persists. Personally believe the dealership is rather inept at repairing the issue (human failure/error)”

David S., NH (2013 Ford Flex SE 3.5-L V6)

“Locks don't llock”

Anonymous, NJ (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

Climate System

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

What Owners Say

“O-ring failure caused refrigerant to leak from the system. Once all refrigerant was leaked the motor burned out. A/C compressor was replaced under warranty”

Anonymous, OH (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)
Heater system

“car simply not heating as should”

Anonymous, MO (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

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

4WD/AWD components

“AWD service light on...dealer has had 1 attempt at repairing and is unsuccessful”

Anonymous, ON (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6 turbo)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Torque converter

“PTO unit failed and needed to be replaced”

Anonymous, WA (2013 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

Fuel leaks

“I kept smelling gas and it got so strong in my garage that I took to dealer and he said you can' t drive that car but didn't tell me why. I looked up recalls on internet and it said full component splits and need to be replaced. It was all covered”

Nancy R., IA (2013 Ford Flex Limited 3.5-L V6)

Engine Cooling

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

What Owners Say

Water pump

“Had to replace water pump on Flex. Have already had to replace fuel pump the previous year”

Anonymous, OK (2013 Ford Flex SEL 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

Transmission Minor

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

Engine Major

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

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