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Ford Freestar/Mercury Monterey

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  • trainboytrainboy Posts: 66
    I agree the Freestar is real tight in row 2 & 3. At our house, my 8 year old twins get row 2 so they can reach the rear audio and air controls. Our 3 yr old get the rear, so she is fine as well. This van would not work well for teens and I know that the way my kids are growing, Detroit will be happy again in a few years.

    The trans shifts real nice, albeit ONLY four speeds. Who remembers "PowerGlide" and "Ford-a-Matic" two speed systems? I used to drive trucks with 13 speed manual, non-synchronized transmissions; 4-speed auto is just fine for the family sled.

    We did not choose the extended warranty. My company drives Windstar/Freestar vans to 80k-90k miles. My last 4 Windstars made it to that mark without any major repairs. Personally, my choice it to trade at 60k, we kept our '96 Windstar to 80k, waiting for the new product. Unfortunately the '95's with the bad engine scared everybody. Ford has been good to us..

    Drive Safe,
    Randy
  • trainboytrainboy Posts: 66
    You have very valid concerns. I can't see much within 3 feet, with out my reading glasses. The controls are a bit smaller, but I am fine with that and you should not worry. The gauges are a bit smaller, but remember, on late model cars, gauges are realitive. The gas lite comes on when there is 4 gallons left which is an easy 50 miles and temp gauge stays put on the left side when it is happy. I do struggle a bit with the heat/ac stuff, both on the Freestar with the simple knob system and my wife's Merc Monterey with the triple zone A/C digital dash. I can say this about the A/C, our Merc Monterey is BLACK! The other day, it was 102 degrees as indicated on the air temp display in the Merc. The air conditioner did not have to run at full, once it cooled things down. It does have the aux air/triple zone, a great value.

    Sam, I do agree with you about the seats. They are low, especially in row 3. I have bench seats in the Freestar and buckets in the Merc. Go with buckets if you can, it make access to the 3rd row easier. On the previous Freestars, the 2nd row bench seat was offset towards the driver's side, leaving a tiny aisle on the passenger' side. On the new stuff, they centered the 2nd row bench seat or made it a bit wider, tough on the third row folks, unless they are under 5 yrs. old.

    As far as the steering wheel, if you are looking at that, you are not looking at where you are going. Not much you can do here.

    Wind noise is lower in both the Monterey and the Freestar, which is real nice if you drive a lot of freeway/highway.

    I now have 12K on my Freestar company unit after 3 1/2 months. I am very happy. My company unit is an SE model. If you want to try one, look at Enterprise. You can rent one for a weekend. Ford also offered to let us take one for overnite. See what you can do.

    As I have said again and again, try the Merc Monterey. I think that is a better value if you are buying high mid range.

    Good luck,
    Randy
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    In the 2001 minivan comparison test, the Windstar was praised by Edmunds for the value, and for having the customers in mind with features not found in the competitors. For example, power adjustable pedals, and dual sun visors, etc.

    So the power adjustable pedals is now standard on many models, but the dual sun visors - which was available on the Windstar Limited only - is not available in any minivan. Even Ford dropped this feature on 2003.

    ANT, any idea why?

    Another thing I like in my Windstar, is the design of the sun visor, so you don't need an extender (it's extended already), it covers the most important spots on the windshield and on the side window when turned sideways.

    But now in the Freestar they stopped this, too, and offers a plain visor, and they try to make some black dots on the upper part of the windshield which won't do the trick. I could not figure why Ford should drop the few good points they still have.

    I once rented a Grand Marquis, and I was impressed with what dual sun visors can do for you. I'm doing a lot of local driving, and on a sunny day you can't stop pulling and turning the single sun visors. Like Edmunds points out, the dual sun visors should be standard on every vehicle!

    Can anybody explain why most minivans don't have neither visor extender and secondary visor? Chrysler/Dodge minivans always had an extender, but dropped'em for 2005. And both, the Ford Freestar and Toyota Sienna offer simple outdated sun visors. And so is GM. Honda is the only one still offering visor extenders, and who knows if they, too, will drop it for the new 2005 model??

    And one more question: In the good old days, the mirror on the visor was big enough to look in. nowadays, most mirrors, especially the illuminated ones, are so small you barely can see your 2 eyes in it! Why do they make it so small? Was something wrong with the old big design???
  • mlicarimlicari Posts: 4
    Yes, we bought our Freestar SE for 22,400 (and change) in February. Options: Power driver's seat, CD/Cassette dual media, front-row center storage console, roof rack/bars, engine block heater (no charge; purchased in Minnesota!), captains chairs for center row.

    Popping those features into Edmund's pricing system, it comes out at 23,104 after incentives/rebates. We got better incentives from our dealership (helped that we were purchasing off the lot).

    I can't imagine why anyone would be surprised at the low price. Plus, I'm puzzeled why anyone would pay MORE for a minivan. Call me a cheapskate if you want, but the day I spend more than 30K for a car, it's going to be something sweet.

    Mike
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    I've received the common complaint with sun visors. It's one of those features consumer's don't usually complaint about, so it's one items that becomes cheapened during time.

    Although I have been known to replace sun visors before, with better one's. Specially waayyyyy back when, in a Mustang GT. Those things were a joke!
  • spartanmannspartanmann Posts: 197
    I guess that $4000 rebate and paying invoice really does help. You basically paid the same amount that I did for my 2004 Odyssey LX. As long as you don't look at resale value and previous Windstar reliability ratings, it probably is a good deal.
  • mlicarimlicari Posts: 4
    Yes, resale wasn't a concern. I always want at least 10 years out of my cars, I've always driven them into the ground. The Freestar replaced a 93 Escort LX that finally gave up the ghost (blown head gasket not worth repairing, and I sold it to someone willing to fix it). So, now we have the van and a 95 Taurus, which is still going strong (low miles...just 90K).

    Mike
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,296

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • 446pack446pack Posts: 7
    After several months of waiting, finally bought the Freestar limited. Am more than happy with it. Everybody keeps comparing it to the Windstar, but I have to say that after driving numerous Windstars, the Freestar is more like our 1992 Aerostar that it just replaced. Setting in the Freestar provides a better all around view like the Aerostar. It has a firmer (stick to the road feel), but more comfy ride that most Windstars that I have driven. Having the Limited, I sport the 4.2 V-6 that so far is averaging 22-23MPG on the highway and between 18-20 city. I plan on installing an AUQATUNE water injection system with a set of TORQUEMASTER spark plugs to see if I can boost the MPG up even more. As far as safety goes, the National Insurance Institute rates the Freestar and the Toyota tops in the 40MPH frontal crash. They rate the Toyota just a hair higher than the Freestar. However, I think that I would rather have my head bounce back into the headrest like the freestar results show verses bouncing my head back into the B-Pillar like the the Toyota. The Toyota test was repeated with the same results. After rebates, X-Plan, $1,000 for financing thru Ford and dealer incentives, the Freestar ended up costing me $28,400 after taxes.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Hi all.

    I currently have a 2002 Windstar lease, which ends in 8 months. I was still undecided which minivan to buy next (I'll stay with minivans - I just love them - don't care about that image thing ;-)

    But this week I got an offer from Ford that I can return my Windstar TODAY in order to get another Ford car. They call it "early bird" special, which let you terminate your lease, and the rest of the payments will be waived.

    Now I've got a big decision to make. Should I keep my Windstar another 8 months, and then return it (and pay for everything not covered under warranty) and then decide what to take next (Toyota, Honda, Chrysler or... Ford), or should I take the offer and drive a new vehicle right now, which means stick with Ford for another 3 years (by that time I hope the new minivan from Ford will already be out - which should be much better than the Freestar).

    I don't care about the engine stuff. The only thing I don't like in my Windstar is the noise levels and the 3rd row seat doesn't flush into the floor. Now the Freestar has both, a quiet interior and a fold-into-floor rear seat - although I want the split one (like Toyota or Chrysler), and the rear seat is very low.

    Freestar has better steering and braking than Windstar, NVH is also much improved over the Windstar, controls are better looking (although I prefer the Windstars over the Freestars), and much more improvements.

    Even though I think the Freestar's design is dated, I still like it more than the UGLY Sienna.

    Anyway, I can't decide. I need help deciding!

    Besides. I would like to know if my early lease termination will effect my credit. (Usually if you terminate a lease, besides the $1000's in fines, it will have a negative reaction on your credit score).

    Thanks for any inputs!

    Sam
  • spartanmannspartanmann Posts: 197
    If you think Ford will have an "All-New" minivan in three years, then I have some swampland for sale I want you to look at.

    Remember - the Freestar was also "All-New" according to Ford and its sales are lower than the Windstar's despite heavy incentives.

    The Freestar will seem like a big improvement over the Windstar to you. If you are going to get one, just don't test drive anything else. And be prepared for the same resale and reliability history of the Windstar.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Ford will have a new minivan by 2006 or 2007 built on the Mazda6 platform (although I can't understand why can't they just build one on the upcoming freestyle platform, especially with all those Volvo safety features).

    The new minivan will be brand new, and not just a carry over. It will have the new Duratec 30 engine as well.

    You have to understand that Ford wasn't able to build a brand new van in a short period of time. The Windstar just got in trouble after the new Sienna and Quest came out, so they took the Windstar, updated the interior, made it quiet, and added a small 3rd row seat which folds into the floor, and gave it a new name (the name is all-new - err... actually just the first half of the name).

    I couldn't care less about resale value since it's a lease. And about reliability, I haven't had any major problems the last 2 and a half years with my Windstar. It was almost trouble free.

    Of course, the only way I would accept Ford's offer will be if I'll get an excellent deal. If not, I would rather take the (ugly) Sienna, since it serves better my purposes with the seats and smoothness.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    " (although I can't understand why can't they just build one on the upcoming freestyle platform, especially with all those Volvo safety features)."

    It's too expensive of a platform for them to turn a decent profit. And the Mazda6 platform is much more flexible to increase it's width, as well as length, while being lightweight in comparison to the P2 platform which is heavier.
  • spartanmannspartanmann Posts: 197
    The Freestar is "All New",just ask Ford. Will the next van be marketed as "Really All New This Time"? New product cycle announcements are notorious for being optimistic. I find it very hard to believe that a replacement for the Freestar will be for sale by 2007. Consider how long the previous Aerostar and Windstar product cycles were. If the new van is only three years away, why would Ford go to the expense of a partial redesign that they had to know wouldn't help sales?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Other elements were taken into account. As in, if they had to design and desvelop a totally new minivan A) the ful realization of the Mazda6 platform didn't materialize yet and it's posibilities B) the Duratec35 wasn't ready yet.

    So based upon the exsisting platforms, and drivetrains, there was really no choice other than what you currently see.

    They can't develop a totally new platform JUST for minivan use, it simply wouldn't be financially feasable. The only real engine they could have used would have been the 4.0L SOHC V6 "Cologne" engine found in the Explorer... And that itself isn't configured for FWD application.

    Yes they could have used the P2 platform (as the Freestyle/500) but it's an expensive starting base to begin with. And because of how sophisticated it is, it would have to be reinforced structurally a bit more, for minivan duty, hence, weight. WEIGHT which needs to be propelled by an engine, that has not yet come to light, the Duratec35.

    So the end result is the Freestar, which improves on the Windstar, but doesn't really set it apart from the rest of the pack.
  • 446pack446pack Posts: 7
    Well, to add to my observations. It seems that even thought I bought a "LIMITED" with a sticker price of almost $36,000 Ford felt that it was neccesary to outfit the vehicle with Goodyears "CHEAPEST" tires, the Goodyear "Integrity". These things sell for $53-66 each. I know Ford gets them for a lot less. These tires have an awful rating verses even cheaper priced tires from other manufactures. It was raining today and the tires were slipping on even easy take-offs. Just plain no wet traction. And the fact that Ford designed the 4.2 to have most of its grunt at a lower RPM doesn't help. The least they could have done is put the Goodyear "Assurance ComforTred" on these. I mean with the LIMITED being thier "TOP-OF-THE-LINE" model, you'd think they would have put a "TOP-OF-THE-LINE" tire on it. I would have gladly paid the $30ea difference had they given the option of choice like Ford does with the SUV/Truck line. I mean, come on Ford, your latest and greatest and you put "Generic Brand" tires on these. Guess I'll be looking for new tires with only 207 miles on the van. I'm so happy...
  • 446Pack, Im sorry you got bad tires... THis is the last straw, I have to vent!

    Ford are now discussing names, like Freestar and Freestyle, so ford brand cars should have names that start with "F". Names don't sell cars you pencil pushing posers. Cut your overhead and put more content into your cars than the competition.

    I've got a good name for most of your managment Ford, its two words and hey; it starts with an "F".
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    This isn't news, Ford stated 2 years ago they would shift to "F" for Ford's sedans, "M" for Mercury's, and keep "heritage names" on certain vehicles (Mustang, GT, Taurus. While SUV's keep the EX/ES names.
  • 446pack446pack Posts: 7
    So with Ford's naming game, I guess that we can look forwards to an all new Ford "Frown Vic" and Mercury "Mable" for the 2005 models...Hehehe

    On another note, does anybody know how hard it is to pull the door panels and rear panels off to upgrade the Freestar's speakers?
  • guodguod Posts: 10
    Any one install an aftermarket Cruise control in a Freestar S. I am really suprised Ford is not offering Cruise on the S (unless you are a Fleet) They must be using the S to get people in the door to upgrade them. The only reason I am interested is I want a cheap van with side curtain air bags. With A-Plan or X-Plan and $3000 rebates it is the lowest cost van to offer this level of safety.
  • 446pack446pack Posts: 7
    Not personally myself, but it shouldn't be too hard. Are you looking at a "Plain-Jane" aftermarket or a Ford unit? The Ford unit would look like factory installed without the "Tilt Wheel" feature. If Ford still offers that accessory
  • dthomasdthomas Posts: 8
    hi i have a constant pinging like bad gas. i have about 10,000 miles on my van. the dealership replace trany(they thought where noise was comming from) now back at the dealer 3 weeks out 11/2 days and then back. the trany shifts hard and hesitates. we took it foir a test drive with the tech and got out to switch places and you smelt a burning smell. i said what's burning he said your trannys hot. i know that's wrong. well weds i meet with ford rep any suggestions?
  • mlicarimlicari Posts: 4
    When we test drove one, there was a pinging/banging sound at highway speed (mostly when I let off the gas a bit) as well as a burning smell when we got back to the dealership. Turned out to be a fouled spark plug.
  • tjnbtjnb Posts: 26
    Some Freestar Ltd`s have a base of 32945 and some have a base of 33090? Does anyone know?
  • trainboytrainboy Posts: 66
    Hey, good luck and be persistent. Read back to my messages. We had a Freestar with bad paint and after numerous complaints, they took it back. They also spent half a day trying to figure out why the keyless entry had about 6" of range, instead of 35'.

    Be courteous, persistent and escalate. First the Ford zone rep offered to repaint our unit; then repaint and add more warranty (bogus value) and finally, they made an exchange. If you have trans problems, are they giving you new or rebuilt? If these guys are clueless, ask them to take an oil sample from each unit; engine, trans, etc. and sent it to an oil lab for analysis. They do this with big engines, planes, etc. The lab can tell which oil is being abused.

    If they find the final culprit and it does affects the trans, they should exchange it AGAIN, after they fix the problem.

    Push for a "discretionary replacement". This gets you a new unit. They will try to match the equipment and exchange at MSRP. We upgraded from a Freestar SE to a Merc Monterey. We had to kick in some bucks because the Merc was more, but we got a better overall deal. The Merc is sweet!

    Good Luck,
    Randy
  • tjnbtjnb Posts: 26
    I got a Limited with the air curtain and active safety package 2. I really like it a lot. I have had no problems so far at 250 miles. Will check at 1000. Got A-Plan pricing and incetives($3000) with 0% interest for just under 28K plus taxes with MSRP of 35K. Much cheaper than the Sienna.
  • spartanmannspartanmann Posts: 197
    Rebates now at $5000 if you finance through Ford Motor Credit.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Congratulations to your new van!

    Would you like to share with us what exactly do you like/dislike? What did you expected and what did you get? Why did you choose the Freestar over any other minivan?
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Edmunds says $5000, but ford.com only shows $4000. Who is right? We're considering buying a freestar S or SE. Do y'al think the rebates will get better now that GM offers $5000 loyalty rebates? Thanks! Trying to get a van for under $17000...
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,296
    "Ford has increased cash rebates for Freestar minivans to $5,000. The offer is good to those who finance the van through Ford's credit arm"

    Channel Oklahoma

    Ford probably just hasn't updated the web page yet.

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

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