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Ford Freestar/Mercury Monterey



  • tjnbtjnb Posts: 26
    I had the following features I needed:

    1) Air Canopy
    2) Leather Seats
    3) Stability Control/AWD
    4) 5 Star Crash rating

    I had the following to choose from with these features:

    1) Toyota Sienna
    2) Ford Freestar/ Mercury Monterey
    3) Nissan Quest

    The 2005 Town & Country had the air canopy but
    it did not have the best crash ratings.

    I like the Quest exterior the best but I did not like the interior and my wife hated all of the colors, so we did not consider it after an initial test ride.

    The Sienna is extremely ugly on the exterior, but it has a great luxory feel on the inside. It drove well, but I did not really get to drive it much since there wasn't many on dealer lots. I was going to have to wait for it.

    The Freestar was great looking on the outside and very nice inside. With A-plan and incentives, it was around 7-8k cheaper than a Toyota. Once I figured that out, I had to go with the Ford. I considered the Monterey, but the Ford dealer is closer and we have bought there before.

    So far I like the message center, which tells us our gas mileage and miles to empty, the compass and temp above the rear view mirror and the audio controls on the steering wheel.

    I dislike the gas mileage the most. I have been driving mostly around town and I get about 14-15 mpg. Not that good, but ok. Acceleration is great and handling and ride are exceptional. The third row seats are small and cramped but we try to only have the kids back there. The second row is very comfortable.
    The driver and passenger seats are great. Visability is exceptional as well.

    to sum up:

    Drive, ride and handling
    Audio Controls on steering wheel
    front 4 seat comfort
    message center

    small 3rd row seats
    gas mileage
  • tjnbtjnb Posts: 26
    look at, they have all of the rebates as well as ordering guides.
  • tjnbtjnb Posts: 26
    The Quest drove the most like a car and seem to have the best ride. Here is my ratings:

    1) Quest
    2) Freestar/ Town& country
    3) Sienna

    Interior Space:
    1) Town & Country
    2) Sienna
    3) Quest
    4) Freestar

    1) Town & Country
    2) Sienna
    3) Freestar
    4) Quest

    Ease of Use
    1) Freestar
    2) Town & Country
    3) Sienna
    4) Quest

    Exterior Attractiveness:
    1) Quest
    2) Freestar
    3) Town & Country
    4) Sienna

    1) Sienna
    2) Town & Country/Freestar
    4) Quest (Distant)

    1) Quest
    2) Freestar
    3) Town & Country
    4) SIenna

    At least that is the way I saw in my limited exposure to the T&C, Quest and Sienna versus the Freestar

    1) Freestar ( Pricing helps here )
    2) Sienna
    3) T&C
    4) Quest
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Thanks everybody for the rebate information!

    tjnb: Could you tell me what price you got with the A plan, e.g. a certain amount below invoice? I'm qualified for the X-plan. Don't know if they work the same but would like to have a rough idea. Is this discount on top of the regular rebates? Thanks!

    Again, does anybody have a guess if the rebates will increase after this round?
  • tjnbtjnb Posts: 26
    was 4.4% below innvoice.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    tjnb. Was that in addition to the regular rebates?
  • spartanmannspartanmann Posts: 197
    Apparently you didn't need the AWD as only the Sienna has it.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    what are those A and X plans? Who are qualified for it?
  • tjnbtjnb Posts: 26
    A Plan is for current employees
    Z Plan for retirees( same price as A plan )

    X Plan is for suppliers and dealers/salesmen. has eligibility requirements.

    Also my 4.4% below invoice is before any incentives. Plus I got an extra thousand in incentives.
  • tjnbtjnb Posts: 26
    I wanted either Stability Control or AWD. I know that the Sienna is the only one with AWD, since Chrysler dropped for lack of sales. ( the Venture and other GM minivans may as well, but they lacked other features I wanted )
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    with the canopy is hard to find here in the midwest. My dealer found none! IS this true throughout the country or just a regional phenominon?
  • tjnbtjnb Posts: 26
    I requested it on my Limited. The dealer in my town had mostly safety canopy installed Freestars, but they did not have one with the canopy in the color we wanted. It took them about 4 or 5 days to find one. I am in the Chicago area and it seemed like a lot of the dealers had them installed on the remaining units.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    I'm in northern Indiana 100 miles from Chicago. My dealer said he didn't find even one in the nearby 5 states. Maybe Ford figures people who want the base model prolly won't spend more for the canopy.
  • I have a Freestar Ltd. Just recently my wife noticed the engine seems much louder while excellerating and the sound comes from behind the left (drivers side) vent. Has anyone experienced this? We have 2k miles on the Freestar. Otherwise, great minivan.
  • vulawgradvulawgrad Posts: 13
    you think Freestar has better handling than the Sienna? We have the Sienna LE and it turns on a dime and handles much better than the Fords we've owned (Merc Sables) which have turning radiuses like large trucks. We're getting 21-22 mpg driving around local area! we got the safety package (stability control, traction control and canopy airbag) all for $28,9. No leather but we preferred that.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Turning circle radius is not the same as handling. I am sure tjnb is referring to typical Toyota design to bias toward soft suspensions for smooth ride which causes them to have generally poorer handling characteritics-ie they tend to lean in high speed turns and wallow over wavy roads.

    Tight turning circle is only beneficial when you are making slow speed maneuvers in parking lots, parallel parking and U-turns. It has nothing to do with what people refer to as handling.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Any recent buyers in Michigan feel free to reply:

    A newspaper reporter would like to talk with recent minivan buyers who live in Michigan. Please respond to or with your daytime phone number by Thursday, June 17, 2004. Thanks,

    Jeannine Fallon, PR Director

    Steve, Host
  • vulawgradvulawgrad Posts: 13
    First - who makes high speed turns? Other than lane changes, most "turns" are at low speed.
    Second- "turning radius is only beneficial when you are making slow speed maneuvers in parking lots, parallel parking and U-turns." Since 80% of our minivan driving is done around town, this is a lot more useful than high speed turns.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I'm sorry, but you're not answering on the question asked. True, tight turning circle is great, but that does NOT stay for handling. They're 2 different things. When somebody says something about a vehicles handling, it does not include turning circle information.

    Example: The new Nissan Quest - it has the best handling of all minivans (much better than Sienna, and similar to Ody), and the Quest have a very big turning circle.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Not to say handling is not important, but I feel this thing is being exagerated out of proportion, for all cars not just the Freestar. In real life who makes turns like an idiot (e.g. an auto journalist) at even 30 mph in a car he actually makes payments on? And what're the odds with mom's minivan? Today's cars are more than adequate for emergency lane change under NORMAL circumstances. The car magazine writers have to find things to comment on. That's their job. For us the average consumers, there're more important issues to consider than handling.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Handling is most important during emergencies, like you see an object in the middle of the freeway, and you need to avoid it, etc. But you always benefit from good handling even on everyday use.

    I know, that's not what minivans are for, but you will feel much better in any vehicle with good handling at any turn, at any curve, etc.

    And that does not include turning radius.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    We're in the market for a minivan and are considering all vans. We have quite a few acquaintences who own Windstars and are very happy with them. We kinda like its (and Freestar's) exterior styling and strong safety features. However from my online research, my impression is the Windstar/Freestar don't seem to commend much respect. One on-line car site doesn't even bother to list it. Although the Freestar could use a little bit better build quality and 4 mpg jump in fuel economy, overall I think it's a very decent van, particularly considering the 5-star crash test rating and canopy. I just don't get why so many (e.g. Edmunds) love to hate it. I do think though, Ford needs to lower the Freestar's prices dramatically to compete with the imports, or even the upcoming new GM vans. Case in point, an Odessey LX can be had for $22k now.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I agree, I rented the Freestar last week for 2 days, and I was almost impressed. I own a 2002 Windstar, so I was impressed what Ford did to improve it. Much quieter and more controlled, and even though you'll still feel bumps sharply, it's not as hard as my Windstar. The ride is very smooth and handling not bad.

    And the interior setup is also much better than Windstar's, though not up to Toyota standards. Everything feels smoothly, and it's kinda nice layout. Although I prefer the Windstars larger controls for many functions, and so are the gauges, much smaller typefaces than Windstar.

    The only real drawback is the rear seat. It's really small, and you can't have adults on them for more than a couple of minutes. But Ford had to do it, in order to offer the folding seat. I don't want to think how bad Ford would be bashed all over for not offering a folding-into-floor seat. While actually the Windstars rear seat was very comfy.

    Then you can think about poor gas mileage, and old-tech engine, but that engine is now much more reliable then ever, and that transmission is super smooth. NVH is also much better than Windstar.

    The stereo is also much improved, especially the bass is much deeper. And the tri-mode climate system is also very good.

    So I also think that the Freestar isn't that bad at all, especially if it will have a better reliability rating than Windstar. But since it's not up to Toyota's or new Nissan's vans, they are rated as trash. It's definitely not true. It's the Ford name that people don't like.

    You can get a Freestar SE for below $22K after all rebates, and I've seen last week at one of the dealers in my area a fully loaded Limited (MSRP at $35,500 something) for $28,400. So I think it's reasonable priced.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Thanks for your informative comments. I definitely second your evaluation of the 3rd row seats's lack of space. I'm not real picky with type of engine, be it OHC or OHV, as long as it has good power/torque and fuel economy. I believe OHV engines are overly bashed.

    We got a quote from a local dealer on an SE for $20K after the $5k rebates and X-plan pricing. It's a very good deal which would look irristable if not for the competetion. It'll be hard for us to opt for the Freestar when the Quest and Odessey can be had for not much more. It'll take a killer deal for us to make the plunge. We'll wait till the end of the year after the new GM and Honda vans come out and all hell breaks loose.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Suggestion to ford: You can design a seat elevator for the 3rd row, something like a booster seat for larger children, maybe you can design something for adults, too... so they can sit at a higher position, and giving them more leg room.

    Not a bad idea IMO. Maybe it's not safe or what?
  • tjnbtjnb Posts: 26
    I drove a Sienna XLE, that was fairly loaded. It drove to me like a bus. The Ford drove less like a bus. I was actually in the Sienna twice. The second time I was a passenger in an XLE AWD. To me the Sienna drove like a big bus. Acceleration was good, but not that much better than the Ford. THe Quest really handle well, but i did not take it on the highway. I took the Sienna, Town & Country, Mercury Monterey and Freestar on the highway. Acceleration was okay on each for a minivan. Now, since this was a test drive, I didn't try to run a slalom course in these vans, and did not race them either. I did not like the dash board shifter in the Sienna and maybe that threw me off on it.
  • tjnbtjnb Posts: 26
    Rear seat is small, but my kids love it.
  • dthomasdthomas Posts: 8
    i have a pinging sound at exceleration. i have 13000 miles dealer says the gas. i tryed may i think they don't want to fix it
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Usually a pinging engine means you have bad gas. The octane isn't as high as it should be, so your hearing the result of "detonation". Try an Octane Booster gas tank treatment you may buy at your regular Auto Part Discount store, and see if that helps remove it. If it doesn't, then waste the gas you currently have on your tank. Then fill it up with a higher grade gas (Supreme from another gas station) and see if that cures it.

    When your done with that gas tank, then go back to regular. If it doesn't occur again, it was probably bad gas. If it does continue, return and we'll move on to another possibility.
  • guodguod Posts: 10
    Dealer did not look very hard here is one in Dayton Ohio. But yes there are not many around. I would buy one but I need Cruise control.
    Also the Nissan Dealer in Dayton is selling Quests with Side curtain airbags and more options for $21,999 archinventory/vehicledetailsnew.asp?orgid=2283&vin=2FMDA50664- BA30197#
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