The Flex can function as a potential replacement vehicle for those who want to step down from a tall SUV or up from a car. The second row can seat two passengers in captain's chairs or three across if seven-passenger capability is desired. Be careful with the one-touch folding and manually adjustable second-row seats, though, as the ones on our tester were far too quick to fold forward.

Access to the third-row seats is easy enough, and once you're back there, Flexes without the Vista Roof (sunroof up front, two small skylights in the second row, and one large skylight for third row passengers) have adequate headroom. The Flex is about as tall as a Toyota Highlander but 2.4 inches shorter than a Chevrolet Traverse and 3 inches shorter than a Honda Pilot. With the Flex about 2.5 inches narrower than the Pilot and the Traverse, the Ford isn't more difficult than you'd expect to park. We'd like to see Ford use body-color sensors in the Reverse Sensing System which is standard equipment on every Flex.

We might not use the word “premium” to describe the interior, but quality is still high. Once you're accustomed to the controls, they're intuitive. In six-passenger models like our $41,850 Flex EcoBoost SEL, second-row armrests should be standard equipment even without the second-row floor-console option selected. A second-row refrigerated compartment is also available: It'll cool drinks down to 23 degrees.

The Flex EcoBoost is a thoroughly competent carpool-ready vehicle with enough power to make you temporarily forget how large the Ford really is. Crossover shoppers who want to blend in should look elsewhere.

2010 Ford Flex with EcoBoost
Base Price $39,995
Vehicle layout Front engine, AWD, 6- or 7-passenger SUV
Engine 3.5-liter/355-hp/350-lb-ft DOHC twin-turbo V-6
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight (dist f/r) 4850 lb (mfr)
Wheelbase 117.9 in
Length x width x height 201.8 x 75.9 x 68.0 in
0-60 mph 6.3 (MT est)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 16/22 mpg
CO2 emissions 1.06 lb/mile
On sale in U.S. Now