5. Ford Flex
2009 — present
Ford’s three-row crossover strategy now has two trucks for you to consider: the fairly conventional-looking new Explorer or the distinctively wagonlike Flex. In the beginning, the Flex was going to put the Explorer out to pasture with its radical design, more spacious interior and ease of entry at a time when gas prices and the economy were threatening the traditional SUV segment. That plan did not work, and Ford quickly developed an all-new, SUV-like and strong-selling Explorer. Some love the Flex’s slab-sided chunkiness, hot-rod EcoBoost motor and the optional contrasting roof color, likening it to a pumped-up Mini Cooper. Most find it to be a bizarre retro design reminiscent of old woody wagons of the 1940s and 1950s. It is big in one key style-conscious market: California.