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2016 Ford Flex vs Ford Explorer

2016 Ford Flex vs Ford Explorer

With so many SUVs and crossovers available today, it’s difficult to sort through them all. If you’re set on Ford, the Flex and Explorer are two great options. Today, Carsforsale.com is comparing pricing, design, and specs of the 2016 Ford Flex vs Ford Explorer to help you choose the best Ford SUV for your needs.

Ford Flex Overview (base)

  • Engine: 3.5L V6
  • Horsepower: 287
  • Fuel Economy: 16 City / 23 Hwy
  • MSRP: From $29,600

2016 Ford Flex Review


The 2016 Ford Flex still stands out in a crowd. This SUV is a boxy tribute to station wagons of old, with plenty of futuristic styling cues. The Flex still stands alone in terms of design. An all-new blacked out design package is available in 2016 offering flashy new wheels and an updated grille.

2016 Flex exterior

Open the doors of the Ford Flex, and you’ll see a low-sitting instrument panel and an analog clock on the dash. Seats are comfortable, and there are plenty of soft-touch materials. The new design package available this year adds even more modern flare to an already impressive interior.

2016 Flex Interior

The first and second rows will fit large adults comfortably. While most vehicles have a crammed third row, the Flex has a spacious third row that will fit most adults. The power-folding second and third rows create a ton of cargo space. The Flex is well-equipped for large families and large loads.

2016 ford flex fridge


The base V-6 engine will work for most drivers. The available EcoBoost turbo V6 produces an impressive 365 hp. Paddle shifters come with the turbo option. Handling is quite impressive for such a large vehicle. AWD is available on the base engine, and standard on the EcoBoost.

Base V6 engines will achieve around 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. The EcoBoost V6 does well considering its power, producing 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.


The Ford Flex is an IIHS top safety pick. It received top “good” crash test ratings in all IIHS categories except the difficult “small overall front” test, which it received an “acceptable” mark. Rearview camera is now standard on the Flex, as is Curve Control, anti-roll control, stability control, and more. Optional features include parking sensors, blind spot alerts, adaptive cruise control, forward collision alerts, and more.


Since its release, the Flex has been one of the most tech-savvy options in its class. Every 2016 Ford Flex comes with capless fuel filling, MyKey, third-row seating, rearview camera, Bluetooth, and more. Optional features in 2016 include a much-improved Sync3 infotainment system, leather interior, panoramic sunroof, passive entry and start, rain-sensing wipers, second-row refrigerated console, navigation, and much more.

2016 Ford Flex technology

Ford Explorer Overview (base)

  • Engine: 3.5L V6
  • Horsepower: 290
  • Fuel Economy: 17 City / 24 Hwy
  • MSRP: $31,050

2016 Ford Explorer Review


The 2016 Ford Explorer has evolved dramatically since its introduction. On the outside, the Explorer possesses a rugged elegance, with a large SUV presence and luxurious design cues. 2016 brings a few minor exterior tweaks. Most notable is an all-new Platinum model available in 2016, which offers a redesigned hood, grille, fenders, headlamps, and fog lamps.

2016 Ford Explorer Exterior

Inside the 2016 Explorer, Ford delivers with a clean-cut, symmetrical, and modern design. While some hard plastic materials remain, some elements of the cabin have been upgraded with high-quality materials. The new Platinum trim is quite impressive, with Nirvana leather, perforated and quilted seats, wood and metal trim, and more.

2016 Ford Explorer interior

The Explorer will work well for tall adults with great headroom. Row 1 and 2 have good space for most adults, while the 3rd row is more suitable for smaller passengers. With foldable second and third row seating, there is plenty of cargo room inside the Explorer.

2016 Ford Explorer cargo space


The base engine is the typical Ford 3.5L V6 that produces 290 hp, which will offer adequate power for most drivers. Next up in a unique 2.3L turbo 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine that produces 280 hp. Finally, the 3.5L twin turbocharged V6 engine produces an impressive 365 hp. The twin turbo V6 only has AWD, and AWD is optional in other engines.

2016 Explorer 4-cylinder engine

Expect to achieve numbers around 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway with the base V6. The 4-cylinder engine achieves an impressive 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. The beefy twin turbo V6 will produces around 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. AWD will decrease these numbers slightly.


The NHTSA gave the 2016 Ford Explorer 5 stars. This year the Explorer achieved a “good” rating in all IIHS tests except the “small overlap front” test, which it received a “marginal” rating. Rearview camera, Bluetooth, and Ford MyKey come standard. Optional safety features include inflatable rear seatbelts, 180 degree camera, blind spot monitors, parking assist, lane-keeping assist, and more.


Every 2016 Ford Explorer comes with a rearview camera, Bluetooth, steering wheel audio controls, and more. Optional features include remote starts, WiFi, improved audio, USB, SD card slot, dual-pane sunroof, adaptive cruise control, rear heated seats, DVD entertainment, navigation, hands-free tailgate, and more.

Pros and Cons

2016 Ford Flex

  • Incredible interior space
  • Unique, attractive styling
  • Top-notch tech
  • Below average fuel economy

2016 Ford Explorer

  • Fuel efficient 4-cylinder engine
  • Jaw-dropping Platinum trim
  • Generous cargo space
  • Big SUV, tight third row
  • Pricey top models around $50

2016 Ford Flex vs Ford Explorer Conclusion

The 2016 Flex is a tech-savvy, spacious city slicker, while the 2016 Explorer is a city-focused SUV with a pinch of off-road ruggedness. The Explorer is certainly the more prevalent and popular SUV of the two, but expect the Flex to continue to wow those buyers looking for something a little different.

Dustin "Dusty" Rhodes

A fan of nice round numbers and working on tiny European cars, Dusty is the proud owner of a '58 Lloyd 600, a '50 FIAT 500, and is currently on the hunt for a Vespa 400. And, despite all that repair work, he still finds time to write about cars. 

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