Ace of Base: 2019 Ford Flex SE

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2019 ford flex se

Yep, they still sell this thing. Betcha forgot all about it.

Or perhaps not. The “styled with a t-square” profile of the Flex has always appealed to the funkier side of the crossover/SUV customer base and, if my eight years of toiling for this publication has taught me anything, the B&B is nothing if not funky. Let’s see what this coffin-shaped crossover offers in base form.

Since the last time we checked in on the base Flex, its sticker price marched northward by $275, unsurprising given that manufacturers generally pad their Monroneys with each passing year. At $30,575, the Flex is a front-drive affair, powered by a traditional 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed automatic — the way that nature and Henry Ford intended. No huffing EcoBoost mills here! In fact, the base Flex is probably one of the last bastions of affordably priced, naturally aspirated family crossovers.

This should be viewed as good news. Your humble author piloted an ’09 Edge with the same powertrain for years, finding it to be robust and cheap to service. That’s a winning combination, at least until the Edge’s untimely demise in a tangle with a Toyota Tacoma.

What other arrows does the Flex SE have in its quiver? Family friendly backup beepers, rear-seat climate system, a bevy of power outlets, smart folding second and third rows, and heated side mirrors turn this thing into a dandy box in which to ferry the brood to Disney. SYNC, Bluetooth, a yaffle of airbags – it’s all present and accounted for.

I may be in the minority, but it is this guy’s belief that the Flex is a good looking machine, especially when so many other crossovers blend into the scenery like butter melting into toast. The F L E X billboard badge on the hood’s leading edge is a superb throwback that is very enjoyable. Bright dual exhaust tips don’t give away your cheapo status but the black mirror caps might, as will the lack of fog lamps.

Ford choses to offer this blue shade in addition to the normal array of base greyscale colors. Interior cloth can be beige or black, mercifully. The mass of buttons flanking the too-small infotainment screen looks like Worf’s forehead by there are worse designs out there. I would pop for the $185 satellite radio addition, if for no other reason than to keep my sanity on long drives. Random AM radio in the heartland is entertaining but mind-bending at times.

It’s unlikely the Flex will see another iteration, given that Ford has refurbished the Edge and three-row Explorer but not touched the Big Rectangle Box. Bronco development must be hoovering up cash, too, while the leaked Baby Bronco shares the Flex’s boxy profile. Get one while you can.

[Images: Ford]

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  • Carcurmudgeon Carcurmudgeon on May 01, 2019

    I drive a 2016 SEL and really like it. Great family hauler, lots of space. Smooth ride. Mine has all the sun roofs, and I think that's a real asset in a car so big. Bring slots of light into the tan interior. Engine sounds sort of crude, but it's got plenty of power and does the job. I suspect its lack of sophistication might be a plus if I ever needed to repair it. And yes, I like the look of the car. By the way, in the past three years there have been zero mechanical issues other than needing to replace a turn signal bulb. I think I might have put in new break pads, but I don't remember. Negatives: The interior is rough around the edges; compared to our previous car, a Honda CR-V, I see evidence of inattention to detail that is the norm with Honda, but alas not Ford. The middle row can't be moved back and forth, something that's common in other mid-sized SUVs. Still, nothing I'd describe as a deal breaker. Mileage is crap: I'm averaging 17 mpg. Also, the infotainment system is terrible, and all the radio climate controls awful. I can't do anything without having to look, and mostly I have to navigate the touch screen. My 1991 Corolla was more ergonomic. The Sync 3 is crap; I suspect it needs to be updated, but the dealer won't can't, and my efforts to do it myself have failed. That said, the lease is up, and although my wife wants something new for the sake of something new, I wouldn't mind another Flex or even buying out the lease of mine. It helps that I feel confident I can get a good deal on one.

  • Carcurmudgeon Carcurmudgeon on May 01, 2019

    Closing thought: perhaps the worst thing about the car is the fact that Ford so clearly isn't trying. The Flex has all the makings for a real winner. A little bit of investment might go a long way.

  • Arthur Dailey This car is also in my all time favourite colour combination for 1970s' Town Cars. The black exterior with the deep red (burgundy) interior. Even took my driving test in one. The minute that the driving examiner saw the car I knew that I had passed. He got in and let out a long sigh and started asking about the car. My Old Man always had a Town Car in that black/burgundy colour combination for 'business meetings' that required the use of a back seat for passengers. No way that his full sized associates could fit in the back of a Mark IV or V. So I also have quite a bit of driving time behind the wheel of Town Cars. Just add in the 450 cid engine and the 'optional' continetal hump and I would love to have one of these in my driveway.
  • Art Vandelay 15k for some old rusty 80s junk that is slower to 60 than the Exxon Valdez? Pass. Plus no TikTok on the old Mercedes
  • JMII I know people behind me get POed when I refuse to turn (right or left) depending on traffic. Even my wife will scream "just go already" but I tend err on the side of waiting for a gap that gives me some cushion. It's the better safe then sorry approach which can be annoying for those behind. Oh well.
  • Bobbysirhan Next thing you know, EV drivers will be missing the freedom to travel on their own schedules instead of their cars'.
  • Cprescott I'm not surprised by this behavior - it is consistent with how owners of Honduhs, Toyoduhs, or Mazduhs drive. Without fail, these are the consistently obtuse drivers on the road.