Jones Ford Verde Valley Compares 2017 Ford Flex VS 2017 Toyota 4Runner Near Verde Valley, AZ

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2017 Ford Flex

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VS

2017 Toyota 4Runner

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Flex inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The 4Runner doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The Flex Limited offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The system also pre-charges the brakes to begin deceleration more quickly. The 4Runner doesn't offer a collision warning system.

The Flex (except SE)’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Flex (except SE)’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the Flex uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The 4Runner uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the Flex and the 4Runner have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and rearview cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Flex is safer than the 4Runner:

 

Flex

4Runner

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Head Injury Index

223

415

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Head Injury Index

326

524

Chest forces

36 g’s

52 g’s

More stars indicate a better overall result. Lower numbers indicate better individual test results. Not comparable with post-2010 results.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Ford Flex is safer than the 4Runner:

 

Flex

4Runner

Overall Evaluation

ACCEPTABLE

MARGINAL

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

49

142

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

11 cm

12 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

2.8/2.2 kN

3.9/2.4 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Tibia index R/L

.53/.69

.95/.85

Tibia forces R/L

.7/.8 kN

5/2.9 kN

Instrumented handling tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and analysis of its dimensions indicate that the Flex, with its four-star roll-over rating, is 8.2% to 9.5% less likely to roll over than the 4Runner, which received a three-star rating.

Warranty Comparison

There are over 2 times as many Ford dealers as there are Toyota dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Flex’s warranty.

Engine Comparison

The Flex’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 17 more horsepower (287 vs. 270) than the 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6. The Flex Limited’s optional 3.5 turbo V6 produces 95 more horsepower (365 vs. 270) and 72 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 278) than the 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Flex Limited 3.5 turbo V6 is faster than the Toyota 4Runner:

 

Flex

4Runner

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

7.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.5 sec

22 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

7.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

121 MPH

105 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Flex has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Flex stops much shorter than the 4Runner:

 

Flex

4Runner

 

70 to 0 MPH

185 feet

201 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Flex SEL’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 4Runner’s standard 70 series tires. The Flex’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the 4Runner Limited’s 60 series tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the Ford Flex has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Toyota 4Runner has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The Flex’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The 4Runner doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Flex’s wheelbase is 8.1 inches longer than on the 4Runner (117.9 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Flex is 1.8 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the 4Runner.

The Flex Limited AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the 4Runner TRD Off-Road pulls only .71 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Flex SEL AWD performs Car and Driver’s emergency lane change maneuver 4.1 MPH faster than the 4Runner TRD Off-Road (58.9 vs. 54.8 MPH).

Chassis Comparison

Unibody construction makes the Flex’s chassis much stiffer, which contributes to better handling, and enables softer springs to be used for a better ride. Unibody construction’s stiffness also contributes to better durability and less body squeaks and rattles. The 4Runner doesn’t use unibody construction, but a body-on-frame design.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Flex Limited AWD is quieter than the 4Runner TRD Off-Road:

 

Flex

4Runner

At idle

37 dB

43 dB

Full-Throttle

73 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

68 dB

69 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The Flex has 27.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 4Runner (155.8 vs. 128).

The Flex has 2.5 inches more front headroom, .9 inches more front legroom, .6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear headroom, 11.4 inches more rear legroom, .3 inches more rear shoulder room, 4.4 inches more third row headroom and 4 inches more third row legroom than the 4Runner.

The Flex Limited offers an optional rear tailgate seat that can be flipped rearward and used for tailgate picnics. (Do not use seat reversed while vehicle in motion.) The 4Runner doesn’t offer a rear tailgate seat.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Flex’s cargo area provides more volume than the 4Runner.

 

Flex

4Runner

Behind Third Seat

20 cubic feet

9 cubic feet

The Flex’s cargo area is larger than the 4Runner’s in almost every dimension:

 

Flex

4Runner

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

16.5”/47”/83.3”

n.a./42”/66.3”

Max Width

46”

57.7”

Min Width

40.5”

42.4”

Height

40”

39.5”

The Flex has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The 4Runner doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Flex’s second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The 4Runner doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults or children, the Flex (except SE) offers an optional power cargo door, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a power cargo door.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Flex offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The engine computer on the Flex automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The 4Runner’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

The Flex (except SE)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 4Runner doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Flex and the 4Runner have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Flex is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The 4Runner prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Flex’s exterior PIN entry system. The 4Runner doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Flex SE/SEL’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The 4Runner’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Flex Limited’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Flex has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the 4Runner only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Flex has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The 4Runner has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Limited/TRD Pro.

The Flex’s power mirror controls are mounted on the door for easy access. The 4Runner’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

Both the Flex and the 4Runner offer available heated front seats. The Flex Limited also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the 4Runner.

On extremely cold Winter days, the Flex Limited’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Flex Limited offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The 4Runner doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The Flex Limited’s optional Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The 4Runner doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Flex is less expensive to operate than the 4Runner because typical repairs cost much less on the Flex than the 4Runner, including $3 less for front brake pads, $138 less for a starter, $159 less for fuel injection, $202 less for a fuel pump, $40 less for front struts and $772 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® recommends the Ford Flex, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Toyota 4Runner isn't recommended.

The Flex is ranked first in its class and received the 2015 “Total Quality Award.” The 4Runner is not ranked.

The Flex was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 9 years. The 4Runner has never been an “All Star.”

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