A Rare Alternative to Rugged

The pitch for the Ford Flex goes something like this: Deep down, you know you're not actually going to be off-roading in whatever SUV you're eyeing,

so why pretend? Is it really either that or a minivan? The Flex is essentially a modern SUV that found a way to drop the pretense in favor of car-like manners and a bit of cool. It's kind of a big, modern station wagon with reasonably engaging handling, seating for seven and an assortment of modern amenities all wrapped in a decidedly distinctive, fun package. Because of its vague categorization and polarizing looks, however, the Flex gets overlooked by buyers who'd likely love it.

Driving Champion

Whether you're more interested in ride or handling, the Ford Flex is one of the best-driving 3-row vehicles you can buy. In our full review of the 2016 Ford Flex we commented that it "is actually quite maneuverable. In sharp turns, the Flex's steering is precise and responsive, although the electric assist somewhat numbs its feedback. The Flex's suspension manages to keep the car fairly level during high-speed cornering, with good control over sway and pitching, plus one of the most comfortable rides in the segment."

Three-Row Hot Rod

Cementing its status as the driver's choice in mainstream 3-row transportation, the 2016 Ford Flex is available with a 365-horsepower turbocharged V6 that transforms the people mover into a legitimate hauler. The standard 287-horsepower V6 is strong, too, offering power and efficiency in line with more traditionally styled 3-row crossover SUVs like the Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Traverse and Ford's own Explorer.

Style and Substance

When you get right down to it, the Flex rides on its style and design. The "station wagon of tomorrow" exterior and distinctly modern interior environment strike a careful balance between functional family-hauler and edgy hipster-box. Available highlights include a massive, four-panel Vista skylight up top and an actual refrigerator between the second-row captain's chairs.

Flex That Wallet

The 2016 Ford Flex starts just over $30,000 and offers enough upgrades to stretch all the way into the $51,000 range. Build and price your own 2016 Ford Flex to see how much yours would cost.

Owners' Opinions

cafeclyde, visitor and Flex owner, had this to say about Ford's 3-row crossover: "We do a lot of parallel parking in NYC !- space is tight and I can still wedge this easily into a just right space with little difficulty. Gas mileage is not the greatest but that is the same with any large SUV. It has all the bells and whistles including very impressive glass paneled roof sections (with shades). Kids love to look up at night and see the stars!" Read more Ford Flex consumer reviews.

More Midsize SUVs

The Ford Flex is a staff favorite, but that doesn't mean it's the best choice for everyone. Check out our Midsize SUV Buyer's Guide to learn all about your midsize SUV options.

Browse photography at Denver.Gallery.