The 2012 Flex is Ford’s latest and largest crossover offering, with room for up to seven passengers and their cargo. The unique styling of the Flex harkens back to the days of the station wagon. The styling is an acquired taste and some shoppers may be turned off by the blocky looks. The upside is that the blocky body provides a spacious interior, with first and second row seating that accommodates 6-footers easily.

Four trim levels are available for the 2012 Flex. The base SE features 17-inch alloy wheels, six-way power driver’s seat with manual recline, cruise control, rear parking sensors and privacy glass, 60/40 split second-row seating and automatic headlights. The SEL trim offers 18-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power driver’s seat and six-way power front passenger seat, heated mirrors and Ford’s Sync system. The SE starts out at a MSRP of $29,355 and the SEL starts out at around $31,985.

The Limited and Titanium represent the top two trim levels with more standard features and options exclusive to both trims. For an MSRP of $35,680, the Limited features 19-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights and xenon headlights, power-adjustable pedals, perforated leather upholstery for the first and second row seats, a second-row console with a refrigerated compartment and a 12-speaker Sony sound system with digital music storage. The Titanium adds a sporty appearance package to the Flex, with blacked-out mirror trim and grille, 20-inch wheels and interior trim exclusive to the $38,000 Titanium. The Titanium may seem a bit pricey to some, especially for an appearance package with taller wheels that give the Flex a harsher ride.

This 7 Passenger SUV comes standard with the 3.5-liter six-cylinder Duratech engine, good for 262 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive variants of the Flex equipped with this engine are rated at a combined EPA fuel economy estimate of 19 mpg. Those who opt for all-wheel drive face a reduced EPA estimate of 18 mpg combined. Despite the added weight of the all-wheel drive components, the Flex loses only 1 mpg in both city and highway mileage estimates.

Limited and Titanium buyers can opt for the 3.5-liter six-cylinder EcoBoost engine. Fitted with twin turbochargers and direct fuel injection, the engine produces a healthy 355 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. All of this power and torque allows the Flex to reach 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds, according to Despite the 93 horsepower advantage over the 3.5-liter Duratech, the EcoBoost engine suffers only a 1 mpg penalty, for a combined EPA rated economy of 18 mpg. Both vehicles come with a six-speed automatic transmission, but the Limited and Titanium feature manual paddle shifters as standard equipment.

The Ford Flex features a number of important safety features, including four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front, rear and third-row head airbags and dual front side-mounted airbags. IIHS tests produced a “good” rating for both frontal and side impact crashes, and a “good” rating for the roof strength tests.