The Ford Flex, with its unique design, isn’t a regular midsize SUV. It features a boxy shape and a low stance, a rarity on many midsize SUVs.
Its unique attributes aside, the Flex has exceptional qualities–a comfortable interior, nice infotainment, and flexible seating options.
How does the Flex perform in winter? Let’s find out.
Here is the short answer about whether the Flex is good for snow and winter driving:
With all-wheel drive, the Flex can send torque to all four wheels for increased traction on slippery winter roads. Its active safety features, such as Stability Control, ABS, and Traction Control, make winter driving safer.
Check our article to know “Where are Ford Flex made”?
Is a Ford Flex Good in the Snow?
The Flex may differ greatly from an SUV, but it offers the same benefits as any average crossover. For example, it can travel safely in snowy conditions with confidence.
Many owners report that the optional AWD–standard on the Limited trim–contributes significantly to the Flex’s ability to drive in snow.
Being able to send power to all wheels simultaneously means your Flex won’t lose traction on slick, snowy roads.
Despite that, the low ground clearance available on the Flex limits your ability to drive in certain snowy conditions. For example, driving in very thick snow with a Flex SUV may be asking to be stuck on the road.
Buying winter tires can enhance your Flex’s capabilities in snow. Winter tires (also called snow tires) have features designed for navigating wintry conditions, including snow, quickly and safely.
What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?
The Ford Flex, against all expectations, is a superb model for driving in winter. Here are features that make the Flex a great winter driver:
Intelligent All-wheel Drive
The Flex comes with Ford’s revolutionary intelligent all-wheel drive system. However, you’ll only get it as standard equipment on the Limited trim–it is optional on the SE and SEL trims.
If you live in a region that sees heavy winters, an all-wheel drive Flex is your best friend.
By analyzing information from vehicle sensors, intelligent AWD can monitor your car’s behavior. This allows it to detect loss of traction and prevent it.
The I-AWD feature can send power to all four wheels at the same time. This prevents any of the wheels from losing grip because of low traction on surfaces.
Intelligent AWD will send power to all corners of your Flex only if it detects a potential loss of traction and control. This enhances fuel efficiency and reduces fuel costs.
Antilock Brake System
The Antilock Brake System works to prevent your wheels from seizing when you brake on wet surfaces.
Braking on wet pavement often requires slamming the brakes harder than normal, which leads to excess brake pressure on the wheels.
This can lead to a situation where your wheels seize and refuse to spin.
The ABS uses sensors to measure wheel speed and can detect when a wheel is decelerating rapidly under hard braking. Then it will reduce the brake pressure on the wheel to allow it to regain speed.
Electronic Brake force Distribution
The Electronic Brake force Distribution feature is almost the same as the Antilock Brake System. What does it do?
It averts wheel seizure while braking on wet roads. This protects your vehicle against skidding and slipping on slippery surfaces.
EBD, however, works differently compared to ABS. It shifts brake pressure from wheels with less load to those without.
Wheels with less load have significantly higher chances of locking up from increased brake pressure compared to others.
Brake Assist solves a common problem associated with winter driving: longer braking distances. The slickness of surfaces in winter means the wheels find it harder to grip roads and don’t decelerate quickly enough.
This can make winter driving unsafe because you cannot quickly halt your car to stop it from skidding or crashing.
The Flex SUV’s Brake Assist system maximizes braking power when you apply the brakes, forcing the wheels to decelerate faster. This makes for shorter braking distances and faster stopping times on wet roads.
Traction Control System
The Traction Control feature on Flex SUVs ensures your tires have enough traction always. It measures wheelspin to determine if a wheel is spinning rapidly (a sign of loss of traction).
If it detects a wheel has abnormal spin rate, it will slow down the vehicle to allow for increased contact between the tire and the pavement. This will increase traction and enhance your vehicle’s stability.
Electronic Stability Control
With surfaces covered in ice and snow, driving in winter will exhaust your ability to keep your vehicle stable. The Electronic Stability Control on Flex models ensures your vehicle remains stable, even on the slick winter roads.
ESC works by analyzing various inputs while driving, including wheel speed, the car’s angle and acceleration, and steering angle.
Based on its analysis, the ESC system can detect loss of control in advance and work to prevent it.
Once the car is veering off-course, the ESC reduces vehicle speed to enable you regain control. It will also apply the brakes on either side of the SUV to correct its course.
Please also read our article on how long the Ford Flex last.
Does a Ford Flex Have Snow Mode?
Some SUVs have a Snow Mode feature that enhances performance in snow. The Ford Flex doesn’t come with a Snow Mode.
Therefore, we recommend paying for the optional intelligent AWD feature, which prevents wheel slipping like the Snow Mode feature does.
Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on Flex?
The Flex SUV can be outfitted with different snow gear depending on your needs and choices. Some of the snow gear you can install on your Flex are:
- Snow tires
- Snow chains
- Snow socks
Before installing any snow gear, consult local vehicle laws. Some regions have laws restricting usage of snow gear on vehicles.
More importantly, you should purchase snow gear based on what fits your car. This requires checking your vehicle’s dimensions, including tire size and wheel size, prior to the purchase.
Installing oversized or undersized snow gear will affect your vehicle’s performance negatively, especially during drives.
You should also read our comprehensive article on 11 Ford Flex statistics you should know.
How Much Snow Can a Ford Flex Handle?
The Ford Flex has a ground clearance of 5.9 inches, which is rare for a SUV. The reduced ground clearance lets the Flex handle only snow up to five inches or lower.
How Do Flex Handle Low Winter Temperatures?
The Flex is fuel-injected and has no problems operating in cold winter conditions. Even in subzero temperatures, your Flex shouldn’t take more than a minute to warm up.
However, sometimes your Flex may refuse to start on freezing winter mornings.
For example, if you have a bad battery, starting in winter will be virtually impossible. Leaving your car unused in winter can degrade the battery; hence, always warm up your vehicle in winter, even if you won’t drive it.
Using the wrong engine oil can also limit your Flex’s ability to operate in winter.
Conventional oils often thicken in winter, which increases your engine’s warm-up duration. Meanwhile, synthetic motor oils are more resistant to thickening and help your engine warm up faster.
Can a Ford Flex Drive on Ice?
Unlike many SUVs, the Ford Flex is suitable for driving on icy roads. The Flex’s low height means it isn’t top heavy and has reduced rollover risk. Rollover crashes are common in winter, especially for big SUVs and trucks.
Also, the combination of Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control gives the Flex maximum stability on slick pavement. The ABS and EBD systems enhance driving on ice by ensuring safer braking.
Does the Flex Have 4WD?
You won’t get four-wheel drive on the Flex. All Ford Flex models come standard with front-wheel drive (FWD), except the Limited trim, which has all-wheel drive as standard. The other Flex models offer AWD as optional equipment.
What About Older Flex Models And Winter Driving?
Most of the older Flex models have ABS, electronic stability control, traction control, brake assist, and optional AWD. Based on this, we’ll say older Flex models can handle winter driving, much like their newer siblings.
Do Flex Need Snow Tires?
For increased safety and confidence while driving in winter, Flex owners recommend running snow tires in winter. By their very nature, all-season tires can be described as ‘Jack of All Trades, Masters of None’.
On the other hand, snow tires are designed only for winter, and are better suited to handling snow and ice.
If you are looking to buy affordable and quiet tires, check out our article on Kumho Tires.
Can You Mount A Snow Plow On A Flex?
Given the Ford Flex’s low stance, fitting a snowplow on it may be ill advised.
You could even damage your engine and transmission if you plow snow with it.