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Ford Freestyle - Taurus X

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  • 2006 SEL, leather, reverse sensing system, 16,700 miles, purchased new in May 2006.

    My wife thinks our Freestyle is “sporty”. While I wouldn’t go that far, it is a very competent vehicle. It handles very well in normal driving conditions around the city and on the Interstate, as well as on the twisty and hilly state highways and side roads we travel on our 50 to 100 mile jaunts to wine country, carrying 6 adults (and their stuff) in safety and comfort. Even adult passengers relegated to the third row are surprised at not being cramped, and that their comfort was not an afterthought.

    Some automotive journalists feel that the Freestyle is underpowered; we disagree with their reviews. After driving the Freestyle for a year and a half, we find it to have ample power and acceleration under all circumstances. The engine is noisier than we would like under hard acceleration, and it does stay higher in the RPM range than we’re used to as it maintains speed to climb hills with a full passenger load. This is an engine that lets you know when it’s working hard! As far as gas mileage, the Freestyle gets good mileage for the type of car(?) it is. We average 17.5 around town, 28-29 on the highway at legal speeds (60-70 MPH) and 25-26 MPG beyond the legal limit.

    Build quality is good. The Freestyle feels solid, and there have been no squeaks, rattles, or other disconcerting noises to date. The front and rear seats are comfortable (can’t vouch for the third row, as I haven’t spent any significant time back there). The drivers seat is power adjustable in all aspects, and finding the “just right” driving position is easy for all of us; me (long arms and legs), my wife (long arms and short legs), and our son (even longer arms and legs). There are a few things that we do have issues with, such as the tether on the gas cap, which gets in the way when unscrewing or screwing the gas cap on/off; and the in-dash multi CD player that makes cheap sounding noises as it loads, unloads, and switches discs.

    Reliability has been very good, so far. Our Freestyle has been in just for routine maintenance. At the time we bought, Ford was offering two years of free scheduled maintenance, so we have continued to bring our Freestyle back to the dealer we bought it from. This dealership has been proactive whenever we bring it in for scheduled maintenance, and replaced the rear brake pads (the current Achilles Heel of the Freestyle) at no charge to us, even though we had not experienced or commented on any brake issues. The new rear pads generate much less brake dust then the original pads. And then there’s the continuously variable transmission (CVT). Will that prove to be the future Achilles Heel of the Freebie? I hope not, at least I hope if it does fail, it does it during the extended warranty period.

    Overall, our Freestyle is a safe, comfortable, and handsome vehicle, capable of hauling a bunch of kids and grown-ups (and their stuff, did I mention that?) whether traveling across town or across country. In a nutshell…..a Very Competent Vehicle.
  • cmunizcmuniz Posts: 604
    I agree with everything you said, except to add that the 08 Taurus X , in my opinion, is an even better vehicle than the Freestyle. Both are very capable vehicles and are way under-rated by the auto experts.
  • According to the Ford website, I see that Sync is now a standard feature on the Limited and Eddie Bauer trim lines (http://www.fordvehicles.com/crossovers/taurusx/features/). However, I see from searching dealer inventory, that Sync is only listed on some of the stickers. I am guessing (although somebody "in the know" can confirm this) that since Sync was "released" in the middle of the model year that there are still pre-Sync 2008's on dealer's lots.

    If this is in fact that case, I am wondering how dealers are going to handle this situation. If something is being advertised as being "standard" on a vehicle, and yet it is missing from some vehicles, I know that I might not be too happy once I discovered that fact. The optimist in me hopes that salespeople are going to disclose this fact, but the cynic in my suggests that this could be an area which might lead to a "poor customer experience". Let's hope that Ford dealers take the high road on this one and be up front about this issue.
  • Sync became available in Job 2, starting around the end of September.

    The price of the TX Limited when the Sync was automatically included went up by $400, coincidentally the price of Sync. So as a practical matter, you now have that option as mandatory. But you can choose not to have Sync and save money just by getting one of the older models.

    Anyone who really wants Sync will notice it's missing on the car (it's listed on the Invoice) and chose the newer models as needed. I suspect it won't be too hard to handle at the dealers.
  • I am just about at 36,000 and 3 years on the '05 Freestyle.. I can purchase additional warranty for about 1,500 to take it out 4 more years and I believe another 40,000 miles taking it to 76,000 total.. with a 100.00 per occurance deductible. Full coverage.. is this something I should consider. basically I would be more concerned regarding the CVT transmission.. What do the freestyle folks say that have close to 70,000 miles on theirs now?

    Thanks

    Jim
  • larryqw:

    Thanks for the info. I didn't notice that the MSRP went up, but that makes sense. At least you are getting what you pay for, or not getting what you didn't pay for, as the case may be!

    I finally had a chance to check our the TX at the local dealership. They had a fully loaded one sitting in front of the showroom for demos. I didn't have time for a test drive, so my impressions are limited to just sitting in the car.

    Things I liked:

    1. Plenty of room in all seats. I am 6'2" and I was able to sit in the third row without much trouble. Same with the second row.

    2. The "command seating" was very nice. Basically, the second and third rows sit up a couple of inches higher than the previous row, giving a stadium seating effect. I am surprised that more vehicles don't do it, because it is a great idea.

    3. There seemed to be a lot of cargo space for a station wagon/CUV. Even will all of the rows in use, there was a good amount of space behind the third row. Most other CUV's have the third row seats practically against the liftgate, so there is barely any room back there, so the TX was nice in this regard. Plus with the seats folded down, you get a good amount of space for hauling stuff.

    4. The fold flat seats are very easy to operate.

    5. I mentioned to the salesperson that I am eligible for X-Plan pricing. The salesperson said that they accept X-Plan customers, but that they would be able to do "even better than X-Plan". I wonder if this is because TX sales are weak, as I had suspected. :)

    Things I didn't like:

    1. When flipped down, the DVD player greatly restricted rear visibility, but I am sure this is true of most vehicles with roof mounted players.

    2. Rear visibility in general seemed fair, but it was hard to really judge not actually being on the road.

    3. The second row seats tumble forward to allow third row access, but with a carseat installed, they would be impossible to operate. I couldn't judge if you could fit between the second row captain chairs, since there was a big center console in the second row.

    4. The roofline seemed very low to the point of being claustrophobic.

    5. While cargo room was decent, it still doesn't compare to the room you get in a minivan.

    My overall impressions were positive based upon my walkaround. I even liked the styling of it. One thing that I dont' like about the current CUV styling is how they try to hide the fact that they are really just minivans with their high clearance and aggressive stances, while sacrificing true family utility. The TX is an unapologetic family vehicle with its station wagon appearance, and there is something to be admired for that type of courage.

    I am not sure if I will end up buying a TX though. I am still thinking that a minivan might be a better choice as a family vehicle.
  • i was in the same situation half a year ago and purchased the extended powertrain warranty, mainly because of the CVT. 1500 sounds alot though. do a google on extended ford warranty and i am sure you'll find a cheaper one. i bought mine at www.fordwarrantys.com for around $1000 and later found one that had the same coverage for 150 less.

    Carsten
  • cmunizcmuniz Posts: 604
    I thiink your analysis is good and accurate. The choice between a minivan & TX is personal since they offer similar features. Getting into the TX 3rd seat w/child seat in second row should not be a problem if you only have one child seat. The other seat will allow easy access to the back. Also ,they have a 40/60 second row bench seat available in the SEL - not sure if you can get it on the Limited. I find rear visibility to be OK while driving and like the rear sensors availble for backing up. I drove a Ford Windstar in the 90s and really liked it, but I like the TX just as well and just moved up from a Freestyle to the 08 TX.
  • Which one of the many options did you select?
  • "I am not sure if I will end up buying a TX though. I am still thinking that a minivan might be a better choice as a family vehicle."

    Since you are shopping with your family in mind, remember that with it's Volvo P-2 chassis, no Minivan will protect your family the way the Taurus X will. Even the original Freestyle with no side airbags received a five-star side impact rating. The X is also a good deal more maneuverable and sure footed than a minivan, making it less likely to be in an accident to begin with.
  • i wanted the basic PowerTrainCare 6 years 75000miles 200 deductible but my wife wanted the BaseCare 6 years 75000miles 0 deductible. final price was $1010 after a rebate. when you shop on that page and give them your email address they may send you a promo code.
    if you know that you will be driving the car longer or more miles you may want to get the maximum time/mileage coverage.

    we are now beyond 36000miles and it "feels" good to have the additional coverage. so far no problems (knock on wood) but you never know...

    Carsten
  • cmuniz:

    We've got two kids in car seats. One option is to keep both kids in the second row when the third row is not in use, and move one kid to the third row when transporting a third adult. As the kids get older and graduate into booster seats, this won't as much of an issue, though.

    You can get the bench seat on the Limited, by the way.

    Thanks for the input on the rear visibility. Like I said, I didn't get to test drive so I couldn't really judge.
  • passat2002:

    That is a good point about the TX's safety pedigree. Volvo is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to safety, so that is one thing that I appreciate about the TX. On the other hand, there are some minivans which also have good crash ratings and good driving dynamics, so it's not like I'd be driving a deathtrap if I opt for a minivan! :)
  • No disrespect intended humble.. but please don't use the words Minivan and good driving dynamics in the same sentence.
  • I am planning on replacing my Windstar with a Taurus X. I'm commited to buying real North American cars (not just cars with a US name).

    I thought I would consider a Chrysler Town and Country as an alternative. But then I read several reviews that said the Town and Country is pretty weak from an engineering point of view. Chrysler put all their effort into the entertainment system and seats. The base engine of the Chrysler minivans is also weak. However, those vans are apparently selling well.

    Consumer Reports has been hammering Chrysler about the engineering of their vehicles for the last year. Many Chrysler vehicles showed up on Forbes' worst vehicle list. Also, Ford has been increasing in quality much faster than Chrysler, according to Consumer Reports.
  • cmunizcmuniz Posts: 604
    Good choice!!
  • I had the chance to finally use the TX for extended highway driving over the Thanksgiving holiday and guess what? It wound up getting about 24mpg over several tankfulls of gas! Pretty similar to what others in this forum are claiming. I'm betting my 16.5 mpg average has more to do with the ^#&## traffic here in ATL than anything else.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,732
    " It wound up getting about 24mpg over several tankfulls of gas!"

    What was your average speed?

    My 2006 SEL gets 26.5 @ 80 MPH, about 28 at 70 MPH, and somewhere around 30 at 65 MPH. All are steady state, no hills. Hills will reduce MPG somewhat.

    We went from the Valley to Disneyland yesterday, average speed less than 65 MPH, which yielded 32 MPG. But that is unusual.
  • I would guess the average speed was near 70-75mph. The trip was through the Appalachians in GA, TN and KY--definitely not flat for 75% of the trip there and back.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    The Odyssey I drive regularly has dynamics very similar to my Accord. Sure, it's heavier, and feels it, but it does have nicely weighted and communicative steering for a vehicle its size. Beats the pants off of its minivan competitors, and I'd wager it'd give many crossovers a run for their money in the dynamics department.
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