I've been test-driving the 2013 Ford Flex this week, which I've been waiting to drive for years. Overall, my impressions are highly favorable (stay tuned for the complete review) with the exception of one major point. My test car came equipped with a second-row bench seat, so the car seats a total of seven. Captain's chairs in the second row are also available, taking the number of seats down to six. While many families may think they want the extra seating capacity that comes with a second-row bench seat, I'm here to save you from making that mistake.
If you have kids in child-safety seats or booster seats, you're most likely to put them in the second row's outboard positions where a parent, grandparent, caregiver or carpool driver has the easiest access to help them climb in and out and get buckled and unbuckled. The problem is in most three-row SUVs like the Flex the only real access to the third row is by sliding, folding and/or flipping one of the outboard seats in the second row. When a car seat is installed in the outboard, there are limited options as to getting to the third row.