Mix one part minivan, one part wagon, add a dash of SUV, and what do you get? Probably something like the Ford Flex. It’s the Blue Oval’s recipe for stylish family transportation for folks who want something a little different — and, in many ways, better — than the standard fare.
The public got its first glimpse of the Flex at the 2005 Detroit Auto Show, where it was introduced as a concept vehicle. It was a hit, and Ford put the concept into production three years later, as a 2009 model, selling over 300,000 units during its ten year run (2009-2019).
Ford discontinued the Flex in 2019. But that’s good news for used car buyers. The attributes that made it popular when new — its distinctive looks, spacious interior, and overall practicality — make it an even better used car. Thanks to depreciation, you can find a good used Flex for as little as $10,000.
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know to find and buy the perfect one for you.
The FJ Cruiser began life purely as a design concept. It’s retro lines — penned by then 25-year-old Jin Won Kim of Toyota’s Calty design studio in Newport Beach — recall many elements of Toyota’s iconic FJ40, the original Land Cruiser.
Even though Kim was born a quarter century after the original FJ rolled off the assembly line, he nailed the look. In fact, it wowed people so much at its 2003 debut at North American International Auto Show in Detroit that Toyota greenlit the FJ Cruiser for production.
Three years later, a new icon was born.
As serious car enthusiasts, even we here at Klipnik are sometimes surprised by the skyrocketing values of certain models. For years these cars and trucks remain affordable to non-wealthy enthusiasts, then, seemingly as if a switch is flipped, they become the flavor of the month, and their values go stratospheric. Case in point is BMW’s E30 M3, whose values headed for the moon a few years ago. Indeed, top examples of these have become valued up to $70,000 and more.
Granted, they are certainly desirable cars with their unique, racing-derived, and high-powered (for the time) inline four, firm sport suspension, serious sport seats, and radical body modifications. And they also have the added cachet of being a model built and sold to be homologated for racing. We know, we know — it’s all about supply and demand as well as what the market will bear.
Great cars, those early M3s, but there are much more affordable and better performing alternatives to be found right within the M3’s own family tree. We’re talking about, and presenting for your consideration here, the three generations that came after that first M3 which offer much better performance at a much more approachable purchase price.
Subaru has had many successful models over its 50+ years of selling cars in America, including two all-wheel drive icons: the Outback and the WRX. Our Outback Buyer’s Guide covers the brand’s wagon/crossover/SUV flagship, which is consistently one of its best selling models. But it’s the WRX that enthusiasts love.
The Toyota 4Runner is a legendary rig. One of the last SUVs still made with rugged body-on-frame construction, it pairs off-road prowess with Toyota reliability and longevity. Indeed, iSeeCars ranked it as the longest-lasting midsize SUV in a recent study. As a result, it remains not only a top seller at dealerships, but used 4Runners also command significant demand and thus tend to retain their values surprisingly well.