2013 Ford Flex: Car Seat Check

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The 2013 Ford Flex is a three-row crossover with a look all its own. The box on wheels can carry six or seven passengers. Our test car had a three-seat bench in the second row and a two-seat third row. While we weren't able to fit our three child-safety seats across the second row, it almost worked.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.

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The front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant seat and convertible seats are installed behind the passenger seat. We also install the convertible seat in the second row's middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.

Here's how the 2013 Flex did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:

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Latch system: There are two sets of lower Latch anchors in the Flex's second row. They're easy to connect to because they nearly stick out from the seat bight, where the back and bottom cushions meet. The third row has one set of Latch anchors on the passenger side, which also was easy to use.

There are two tether anchors for the second row. They're found near the floor at the bottom of the seatbacks and connecting to them was easy. The third-row anchor was difficult to use because there wasn't any clearance around it.

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Booster seat: Our high-back booster seat fit well in both the second and third rows, thanks to the wide, flat seats. However, legroom is lacking in the third row, which means a child sitting back there might be kicking the second-row seats.

The second row's seat belt buckles are on floppy bases, which can be difficult for younger kids to use independently. The buckles in the third row are on stable bases, but they're recessed into the seat cushion.

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Convertible seat: In the second row, the forward- and rear-facing convertibles fit easily. The third row's fixed head restraint pushed our forward-facing convertible forward on the seat cushion, but there was still enough room to install the car seat. However, this positioning limits legroom for a child in the car seat.

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Infant-safety seat: This rear-facing car seat also fit well in the second row.

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Third-row access: With the second-row bench, the seat folds and tumbles forward in two steps if doing it manually or there's a power button on the pillar. This cannot be done with a child-safety seat installed, though. Once the second-row seat is tumbled forward, there's plenty of room to get to the third row, but the step-in height is quite high.

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How many car seats fit in the second row? Two, but three almost fit.

How many car seats fit in third row? Two

Editor's note: For three car seats — infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats — to fit in a car, our criterion is that a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.

Related
Research the 2013 Ford Flex
More Car Seat Checks
More Safety News

Comments 

I read your post and you are very well described the types of infant car seat.

My biggest peeve with the Flex is the lack of LATCH anchors in the 3rd row passenger position. Using the safety belt is a minor annoyance; having no tether anchor is a big deal. Consider this:

If two child seats are mounted to the 2nd row LATCH points, access to the 3rd row is effectively cut off. (If the Flex is equipped with 2nd row captains chairs, somebody may squeeze past the child seat and access the 3rd row through the middle.)

If one child seat is moved to the 3rd row passenger side (where the LATCH points are), it's a tight squeeze for a full sized person to get into the 3rd row drivers-side seat -- again, they must squeeze past the child seat.

I could place both child seats on the passenger side of the Flex (one 2nd row, one 3rd row), and load passengers from the driver's side, but then I've got people (and potentially my 3rd row child) out in the traffic lanes.

Ford needs to add LATCH points to the 3rd row drivers side. It would also be helpful if they'd flip-flop the 2nd row 60/40 bench, so that the 60% portion was on the passenger side, providing even more generous 3rd row access from passenger side door of the vehicle.

Ben Fortenberry

I just bought a 2013 Flex and agree 100% Nate.

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