The Flex that vexed my ex, and other wagon tales

Flex. What a stupid name. I can’t tell you how the station wagon that went by the evocative and appropriate “Fairlane” on the concept-car circuit became “Flex” in production in 2009. It might have had something to do with Ford’s embarrassing crush on NYC disc jockey “Funkmaster Flex.” Not only did Ford allow the fellow to “customize” a pre-production example of the Flex, it actually sold an outrageous-looking “Funkmaster Flex Edition”—its take on the big Expedition SUV—for a whole year.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/10/29/ford-flex-that-vexed-my-ex

We bought one new the first production year. I saw the flex at the Dallas car show before release. I loved the way it looked and so did my wife when she saw it. It was a great road car and comfortable for the family of 5. You could party in the back seats, there was so much room. Even though the ride was powered by the naturally aspirated V6, it performed well. I can’t say as much about the transmission. Even though it never failed, it certainly was quirky. I agree… Ford has no clue when it comes to naming cars and had no idea how to market the Flex.

I rented a Flex once and couldn’t find a place to stretch my left leg. There’s a bump there, assuming the left front wheel well. It made for a very uncomfortable driving position.

I have no family and therefore no need for such a car. I also generally dislike boxy shapes, but the Flex --and the Skoda Yeti-- have a strange appeal for me. Too bad Ford stopped investing in the thing.

We had one for a rental car a couple of times, and I was quite impressed with it.

I always felt like the Flex needed to be 2-3 inches wider and that it needed faux wood side paneling and then … it would have been prefect … for me!

**We are on our 3d Flex. It’s a car and drives like one. Has AWD so great in the winter. And, the second row seats have leg room to die for. It’s the vehicle of choice when we have 3 couples to haul. What’s not to like.

Ford F.L.E.X.+ Fairlane EX (This from an insider)

We bought the first one off the lot in 2008, a black SE with cloth, because my wife likes “boxy cars.” Traded in a 2001 ML320 on it and the Flex proved to be a much better and more reliable vehicle. We’re still driving it with 188k miles on it with oil changes every 5k, brakes at 100k and lower control arms at 180k.

I’ve always thought Ford missed the mark naming this thing. A better choice would’ve been “Edge” given the flat sides and sharp edges but that name was already used for the other CUV in their product line.

Did I mention it’s been the best car ever for moving our three daughters in and out of college dorms and apartments? With the seats folded it’s like a moving van!

1 Like

I have a 2015 with 56K on the clock, and the only complaint I have had is the radio reception, which is a known problem with a known fix of the antenna assembly on the roof. Great for hauling stuff, comfortable on long trips to and from swap meets, and I’ve even camped inside of it on occasion. Got it as a used Fleet vehicle for short money in 2017. Have only had to do brakes and tires (did pads and rotors, no need to do calipers). I hope parts availability for normal wear items doesn’t suffer as a result of the discontinuance. Works well as a utility vehicle for me.

I loved the FLEX from the first time I saw one. Unfortunately, my partner did not, which is why I ended up with my third Explorer. Mind you, I like the Explorer, but if I had the money in hand, I’d run to my nearest Lincoln dealer (two states away in Washington) and buy the MKT they have on the lot. Partner doesn’t hate it as much as the FLEX, and it has the room this 6’6" 210 lb guy needs to haul around his camera gear, kayaks and bikes. Not sure that any of the new Lincolns strike my fancy, even if the Aviator is just a fancier version of my Explorer.

I had a Flex as a body-shop loaner one week. It was fun to use in an event where you have six adults going to dinner. One vehicle for all of us. Otherwise when it comes to Fords, give me a Mustang any day.

I was always puzzled as to why Ford did not develop the Flex as a Police vehicle instead of the Taurus or Explorer. Lower roll center, better handling, more room for detainees and gear or K-9’s, same engines and drivetrains. Seems like it would have made a great replacement for the Crown Vic.

Loved our Flex with the vanity plate DA FLEX. Agree with all the comments about roominess. I just like distinctive styling, having owned Avanti, Sting Ray, Metropolitans, MG TDS, Isetta, Alfas, 20 others, and now a ‘47 Lincoln convertible and 1st gen Panamera. We did trade the Flex for an MKX Reserve which is a tad shorter and faster to 0-60, pano roof, massaging 18-way seats, etc. But we kept the plate.

Had a Freestyle until this summer. And absolutely loved it. Loaded it down for a trip to Maine every summer; bikes, skybox, etc. Never let us down and always ran great. I especially loved the CVT great gas mileage for a heavy car. Picked up a Flex this summer and traded in the beloved Freestyle. The jury is still out for me until I use it through a Michigan winter with the AWD. I will say that the passenger room is great. Legroom and headroom can’t be beat. The loss of the CVT and heavier weight (and the AWD) really hurt the gas mileage though.

Something about the Flex that leaves no Flex in marriage. About 6 years ago, my daughter was splitting up with her druggie loser husband. Her dark blue , leather bound Flex was a Christmas present 2 years previous. While separated, he decided to stop making payments and the repo folks were in pursuit. I was visiting Florida and when I needed to get to the Melbourne Airport, my daughter said, “Take the Flex to the airport and I’ll call the repo company and tell them to pick it up there.”…Now that’s being Flexible !!!

I honestly can’t tell you the last time I saw one. I heard about a week ago they were discontinuing the car and have been keeping my eyes open for one and I still haven’t seen one.

I always liked the Flex; in fact, if I needed to replace my vintage Suburban, I would buy a Flex with the EcoBoost V6. Unlike the author, I think the name fits it quite well: flexibility in hauling all passengers, all cargo, or a mixture - like a Suburban. Not a big fan of the looks of its Lincoln brother, but to each his/her own. I do think the polarizing looks of the Flex mean that people either really like it or really dislike it.

Our local Ford dealer always seems to have 1 or two new ones in stock, and lately, a few used ones. Maybe it is a regional thing.

When I saw the Flex, I fell in love with it. It is unique and looks awesome. With seven seats for my family and AWD 0-60 in 6 seconds, it is the best car we’ve ever owned. My wife loves the heated seats and steering wheel too. It is the perfect family car.