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Ford Freestar/Mercury Monterey



  • FWIW, I was told just today by a Mercury salesman that $2000 was the current incentive.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,004
    Freestar pricing is live here. Including invoice and TMV.

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  • I have been reading your very interesting discussions on the Freestar for the pass three months. Found them not only interesting but very helpful. You see this spring our 2000 Windstar was totaled by some driver who went through a stop sign. Thankfully my wife and I weren't killed, we owe that to the construction of our Windstar. I order the new freestar at the end of June and my dealer let us use a loner at a reasonable rate until delivery of the Freestar. The Freestar was built on 9/29 and DELIVERED this passed Friday. We were about to leave town for a couple of weeks when the dealer called about the delivery. We were very excited and told him we would stop by his dealership to look it over. We checked the 3rd row seat and it folded very neatly into it's well and there weren't any damages in transportation.
    WE ordered the limited and let me tell you, my wife and I looked at the interior and thought it was beautiful the car overall in our opinion is handsome. I'm anxious to drive the vehicle. I will except it this Friday. I honestly don't expect to be disappointed.Ive owned one Aerostar two Windstar's and now the FREESTAR.
    One more note, there is only a $1,000 rebate, until 12/01/03
  • Richard, that is great news. I have one on order and it was built on 9/29 as well. We expect it in Calif this week. Glad the finish was ok, I saw an early one and the seat did not quite close. We have an SEL coming. We have had 4 Windstars, so we are ready.

    Good luck,
  • Randy; Some time back I remember reading your #49 posting where you mentioned your build date and the expected delivery. Knowing mine was being built the same day as yours and the expected delivery date, I talked with my dealer that on the expected delivery on or around 9/10 we were leaving town for a couple of weeks, left a number we could be reach at and that if it arrives while we were gone,let us know and we would drive back to town to except delivery. The rest you know from my last posting. Just wanted you to know that your dealer info was right on.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Come on guys! You got your Freestar? Please write something about it, how do you like it? How is it in comparison to the outgoing Windstar? Is it quiet, in your opinion? How is the ride & handling, fuel mileage, seating, and so on...

    Please let your voice be heard!
  • We'll pick up our Freestar Friday afternoon. We'll spend the week end at home (have a wedding to attend Sat.) Sunday we'll drive back to our vacation spot,about 150 miles, so I should be able to give some kind of a review.
  • pwierpwier Posts: 11
    In the New York Long Island Area, with the current incentives - what do you think I could purchase a 2003 Windstar SE model for. Does $22,000.00 sound low or in that range. Also, should there be any Windstars left into the new year, do you think Ford will continue the current offer of $5,000.00 off or will they increase it to free up their lots. Freestar came in on the high side. Kia looks real nice, any comments on that one.
  • I read my posting #197 and saw that the numbers were not correct. tried delete. Don't know if I did. The following should be correct.SORRY.....

     I'm sure the SE your looking at has a number of options, which should make that $22,000 a good price. The base invoice price for that car is $28,053, beside the $5,000 rebate there are $500 loyalty rebate + $1500 if you finance though Ford,s FMCC. If you qualify for the $500 + $1500 and their are a number costly options, go for the $22,000, if it's basic, offer them $21,000. Waiting for further rebates is a gamble you'll have to take.
    Good luck.
  • jvp06jvp06 Posts: 12
    As many reviews read, the Freestar seems like a pretty nice car, but to me it seems like a sorry excuse for a minivan. Wow, a third row seat that sinks into the ground. Toyota, Honda, nissan and Mazda already have that, plus Toyota's is split. A power liftgate- dodge, toyota and nissan already offer that too. Don't forget that 4 speed auto. Everyone else is gotta 5 speed. And dont forget that creative name. The aerostar, the windstar,and now the freestar. WHy are they keepin this star. Not to mention, you know that by next year owners of this car will already have been swamped by recalls. And who's thikin it's gonna be any better then the dreadful windstar. Sorry Ford, but you have offically sunk as low as it gets!
  • How could you, after reading all the posting on the stars, come to the conclusion that they were a sorry excuse for a Min van. Have you had an experience with a Star that made you so bitter? I've looked at the vans you mentioned and found them to be except able, like all vehicles they have their pros and cons I've had good experience with an Aerostar and two Windstars so I bought a new Limited Freestar. Glad they came out with the third seat that folds into the floor,another reason I bought the Freestar was because of the reverse sensing system. I'm enjoying my Freestar. I now have 265 miles on it without a recall.
    By the way what are you driving?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Unfortunatly many come to that conclusion, even before a test drive is administered. Granted, even I would have wanted more out of the development of the Freestar, but because of NUMEROUS issues, this is the result given the senario that was presented.

    If it were up to me, I would have preferred a "maxi-minivan" on a RWD or AWD DEW98 Platform (basis of the Lincoln LS, Jag-Stype, Tbird) throw in the 4.0L SOHC V6 as standard, 4.6L OHC V-8 as an optional engine. BUT reality is, that can't be the case given the investment and development needed for such a vehicle. As was mentioned before, every vehicle has it's pros and cons, that is why there's so many different products in the market, each to suit someone's preferrences as closely as possible.
  • The Freestar came to market with a heavily reworked four speed automatic. I am confident that Ford has fixed the many maladies that afflicted the previous generation of this unit, despite the doubts of some on this board.

    My question for you is this - why did Ford choose to go with a four speed instead of a five speed transmission. Does Ford even have plans for a five speed front drive transaxle or are they banking on the development of CVT technology for their next generation of passenger cars (Futura/500).

    I also noticed that the F150 came to market with a four speed unit. Why hasn't Ford developed a five speed for the F150/CV/MM/TC/Expedition? Are they waiting to introduce their six speed automatically shifted manual boxes?
  • jvp06jvp06 Posts: 12
    To answer your question, i have just ordered a toyota sienna after test driving it many times. The results are much better then with the Freestar. And by the way I own a 99 windstar right now- it sucks!- It pings like crazy, even after many repairs, the brakes sqeak- after many repairs and to top it all off the transmission jults when it downshifts when u dont make a complete stop. Does that answer ur concerns- o and by the way- 265 miles- ut hink thats alot????- just wait and c- u'll be seeing that ford letter with a recalll in it many times to come.!
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    I would discount the opinions of one who posts who cannot use proper punctuation, spelling or grammar. I seriously doubt if this person ever test drove a Freestar and I would also doubt if they own a Windstar either. Just my opinion......
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Good question, I'll try to explain it as simply as possible, if anyone has any more questions relating to these answers, feel free to ask if I must clarify.

    When transmissions are developed/engineered/designed,
    their are 3 main factors to consider. If their application will be applied to RWD, FWD or AWD-4WD configurations, the power/torque output of the engine it'll be coupled with, and overall vehicle structure/load/stress.

    As you may have read on here, the 3.8/9-4.2L Essex engines will be dropped in the future, therefore they received limited changes (as well as their coupled tranmissions the 4F50N ). If we search thru Ford's parts bin of other engines and transmissions available, the CLOSEST combo they could have used might be the 4.0 SOHC V-6 found in the Explorer. Issue? It's configrued for RWD/4WD, not Freestars FWD layout. Let alone, the Freestar's structure would have needed additional re-engineering to accept it.

    I mention that engine (nicknamed Cologne after the city in Germany it's built in), since it's power and torque outputs are closest to the Essex engines. The Freestar is a heavy vehicle, so torque is much more of a priority. Placing the Duratec 3.0L V6 found in the Taurus, might WORK for the Mazda MPV since it's much lighter, but definatly not on the Freestar since it's transmission would NOT have been able to sustain the extra weight the Freestar possesses over the Mazda MPV. The Cologne engine would also require additional plant re-investment in Germany, whereas the Essex engine plant in N.A. needs the work because of U.A.W. contract issues.

    Closest to that, Ford really doesn't have any other V-6 engine with a higher torque output, and closest engine along the power line would be Ford's Triton 4.6L SOHC V8. I'm purposely NOT mentioning the 3.9L DOHC V8 found in the Lincoln LS, since it's quite an expensive engine, and Ford will keep that engine design exclusively for Jaguar.

    IN another senario, Ford could have opted to place "an extra gear" in the 4F50N tranmission. But in reality, it's benefits would have only been gained on maybe an additional MPG on the highway run. Let's not forget, this is an OHV engine design, where it's output is maximized down low, therefore having the extra gear, might be only beneficial on highway cruising at that. (take note, the Cologne engine brings a 5/Auto). A OHC design engine would benefit much more from a 5Speed automatic, since the majority need to climb up on revolutions, for decent output.

    This year, the 4F50N tranmission was given a much improved torque converter, that allows for much better launch from stops. Also a new 5 pinion final drive gear replaced the previous 4 pinion version for better shifts. And faster hydraulics improve shift performance and refinement. I've read of 2 reviews already in which the auto journalist pointed out the vast improvement from the old system onto the new one. If someone on this board has test driven it, and noticed the improvement, let us know... I myself instantly felt it.

    In case your thinking, "Why not just design a totally new tranmission?" That is a budget issue, plus it wouldn't make good business sense since whatever transmission they would have designed for it, would have been killed upon the next generation of Ford Minivans introduced and not be able to be phased in any other vehicle.

    So ALLLLLL this I have mentioned above, hopefully will answer your first question as to why Ford elected to upgrade the current transmission, over adopting another. IN a nutshell, I hope the factors above can show you it's NOT as easy considering the numerous factors involved.

    To the next question if Ford is planning on developing 5Speed FWD tranmissions, YES that's already being worked on. There's a new line of fuel efficient transmissions that are being developed by Ford, there's one series of engines that Ford will co-design/engineer with GM (said to improve fuel efficiency 10-12%). These include 6 Speed automatics for FWD applications. (Ford has issued a press release over this, NO big secret).

    Would these transmissions be phased into vehicles starting this year? No, these transmissions will first go into Ford products that aren't with us yet, and the development of these tranmissions have started just recently.

    Ford has also announced (no big secret either) how it'll use CVT's as well. CVT's have a special world of it's own, and it's applications are somewhat limited depending on the vehicles/loads/torque outputs. But yes, we will see more of those.

    ***Side note, Ford is working with Torotrak on developing an IVT. (Infinitly Variable Transmission)...

    What makes an IVT better than a CVT? You can use it on any sized vehicle,load, output, and Torotrak is testing it's IVT in a 5.4L Expy. The vehicle cruises at 70-80MPH on/around 1000RPM's. Personally, I believe the future of CVT's, is on IVT's, but that's still being refined.

    Next question, the F-150 debuted with a 4SpeedAuto because of some factors similar to that of the Freestar, BUT you will have new tranmissions being phased in, in the first couple of years to answer this. The current/previous tranmissions in the F-150 do not have a history of issues such as the famed Windstars, therefore it might be a smarter alternative to stick to something that works, over trying something new that might distort the launch of the F-150.

    ***Side note: Ford has stated publically that it will improve vehicle components through generations/redesigns, rather than introduce totally new components. Japanese manufacture's have used this approach which is why they have been able to control their quality issues since they use a higher percentage of carry over parts from one generation to another, over domestic manufacturer's.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Ford's best minivan ever, the Freestar, is missing 2 important illuminated things which have been offered in all Ford minivans 'til now. 1) Illuminated glove box; 2) Illuminated power/volume knob for the audio. Can somebody figure out why? Ford want to save a few pennies?
  • This is a nice van overall. My wife and I each drove it alone for about 50 miles each today. This is a lot quieter than the other 4 Windstars we have had. In the review that Sam posted, it stated that there is a lot of tire tread noise. I have to agree with that, but overall, most of the wind noise is gone from previous Windstars. The interior finish is what we expected. We ordered the side canopy airbags, that being the major reason to wait for the Freestar over taking a deal on an '03 Windstar with major rebates. We paid X-plan pricing and got a $1000 rebate as well. The interior trim sure is more durable than the trim on the '04 Sienna that we drove.

    Compared to the two major contenders, the Sienna drove nice, but as I said, the trim was very weak. The demo unit we drove had 180 miles and the plastic trim on the floor was all torn up where the seats attach. Also, I cannot see the logic of using an engine that requires premium fuel in a kid hauler. Maybe the Freestar is less technically advanced under the hood, but I save 20 cents a gallon and that adds up. We tried the Honda Ody, but we are both too tall and that vehicle punishes front seat occupants that are over 5'-8" in height; we are both 6'. Also the Honda does not offer a driver's keypad on the door. As parents of small children we have locked our keys in the car on a regular basis and I don't think we are alone here. The key pad has saved us a bunch of times.

    We did find a few flaws with the unit once we got it home. We ordered the power side doors but we did not get the key fob that operates the side doors. That should be an easy fix. Another possible problem is with the side canopy air bag. The icon on the dash annunciator panel shows front airbags only. We can see the side airbags, but it appears that maybe the wrong icon is programmed or is the side canopy not enabled? We will get that one looked at as well. The driver's door seems twisted in that the rear seam is not parallel front or rear to the next door/panel. It seems off about 3/16" top to bottom. The problem that really makes me mad is the paint quality. We ordered the Arizona Beige Clearcoat. We found one paint flaw with dirt on a horizontal ledge under the rear windows. The service guy at the dealers said they would repaint that area. Once we got home, without looking too hard, I found 10 more paint flaws of dirt, paint "boogers", or drips in the clearcoat off the back door corners. Ford has a real problem here with quality. On top of that, whoever filled the unit with gas at the dealers gouged the paint inside the filler well. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense for us to endure a repainted vehicle, so we will be talking to the dealer tomorrow.
  • Thanks for the response ANT. I appreciate your thoroughness.

    I really don't have a problem with the use of the pushrod 4.2V6 - as long as Ford fixed the head gasket problems that afflicted the previous generation of this motor. In fact, I was glad to see Ford touting torque as an important aspect of engine output unlike other manufacturers who continuously brag about horsepower.

    No doubt Ford fixed the shift quality of the transaxle used in the Freestar, but did they solve the durability problems that afflicted the previous generation? I know you referenced several modifications, but are you confident that these will do the trick? There is a saying we use around the office - "You can't polish a turd". I hope this doesn't hold true for the 4F50N.

    Given your message, we shouldn't expect to see a five speed automatic or a different engine option in this generation of Freestar, correct?
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