The updated 2013
(F - Get Report)
Flex makes my list of mom-friendly vehicles primarily because of one standout feature: an optional built-in refrigerator.
Available on the top-of-the-line Ford Flex Limited (base price: $39,200), the refrigerator can hold up to seven 12-ounce cans or four half-liter bottles of drinks. It's the perfect thing to quiet down antsy kids on hot days.
Unfortunately, the fridge lists for $694 -- and you not only have to buy a Limited to get it, but must buy $2,800 of other options as part of a package deal.
If that's too rich for your budget, a basic Flex still makes for a good mom-mobile because the seven-passenger wagon combines a roomy interior with a one-of-a-kind exterior design.
The Flex features a funky, super-boxy exterior look that you'll either love at first sight or hate and move on. Assuming the former holds true rather than the latter, you'll also appreciate the Flex's standard front-wheel drive, automatic transmission and a 285-horsepower V-6 engine that gets a decent 18 mpg/city and 25 mpg/highway.
As for safety, the IIHS gives the Flex its top crash-test rating (although NHTSA hasn't reviewed the model). The Ford also offers lots of standard safety features, as well as good protective options such as a blind-spot warning system and inflatable second-row seat belts.