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Ford Freestar/Mercury Monterey



  • libertycatlibertycat Posts: 593
    forgot to look there, LOL! Plus some people don't update their profiles and therefore have the wrong car on it.
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    No Mercury Sable GS has a cloth (and it looks cheap). I meant that just recently I discovered that in my Sable only seating surfaces are made from real leather. Back of seat and etc are made of vinyl or letherette or whatever you call it, but it is not real leather. It is hard to say though the difference. Many driver probably will never discover that - color and pattern much perfectly.

    Yeah recenly even hard plastic on some cars really look like leather untill you touch it. I agree modern cloth sucks.
  • libertycatlibertycat Posts: 593
    is leather, the rest is vinyl, hence the term leather-trimmed interior.
  • trainboytrainboy Posts: 66
    Nice discussion regarding seating surfaces. This forum is for the Freestar and that is a family unit by design. When we re-focus to this vehicle use, the family folks will probably agree the cloth type stuff is the best for families with young kids. Leather is a nice upgrade if you are using the van to haul real estate buyers. My 3 company Windstars have had cloth seats and they work fine and are comfortable. My wife has a '96 Windstar with cloth seats. My three kid's debris have taken their toll on the seats, but they still cleans up good, probably better than leather or euro vinyl.

    We will be ordering a new Freestar or Monterey as soon as they will take our money and since our kids are still young (7, 7 & 3) cloth seats will be on the order.

    Ford has some info for the Freestar and Monterey on their fleet site, They are more forthcoming with info on the Monterey, you can even download a brochure.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Yes, but the brochure they display is just the phamplet type that you might find at the auto show. Not much info on it, but enough to give an indication of what's to come.

    I prefer cloth seats because they are much easier to clean up, you can even steam them if need be to get the grim and dirt out of it. And if crayons melt on it (as some parents use their vehicles as a traveling playpen) it's much easier to get off cloth over leather. And depending on the pattern of the cloth, it can hide any imperfections as well.
  • libertycatlibertycat Posts: 593
    People talk about oil, polish, etc. on chat boards. There is no reason to create an individual discussion on seating surfaces when we are talking about what the Freestar/Monterey should have (I know it will have cloth and leather but why not talk about what it SHOULD have?). Actually, I think leather/vinyl is easier to clean up because you can wet it and dry it off easier than cloth. Plus IMO they look better, feel better, and make an interior look more luxurious. A huge disadvantage of vinyl/leather is that they get REALLY hot easily. But the other advantages are worth it to me.
  • trainboytrainboy Posts: 66
    I agree that Shoulds are nice things to talk about and we are all entitled to our opinions (and we can chuckle to ourselves about other's opinions). Euro vinyl is nice, I agree to that as well and I liked it in my old VW Rabbit. But when you have kids and your kids grind fluroscent orange Cheetos into the seats, cloth is easier to deal with as compared to perforated vinyl or leather.

    Now you want to talk about "Shoulds", well, in the family vans I would like to see a double radio tuner. All speakers on one tuner or turn on the second tuner and it goes just to the back where the convenient headphone jacks and controls "Should" be located for the kids, with Mom and Dad listening to the front speakers. We are not big fans of the car video systems; kids watch enough TV at home and we want ours to look out the window, which is a little better for their stomachs.

    The other "should" that I would like to see is the return of the "self-leveling" air suspension that was an option on my '96 Windstar with the trailer package. No matter how much I piled into that box, it always righted itself to level. My '02 company Windstar has commercial springs installed and it rides too high when it is empty and occasionally gets blown around on the road.
  • libertycatlibertycat Posts: 593
    Now that you mentioned "perforated" vinyl or leather, I'm curious. Would vinyl or leather that is not perforated work for you (a lot isn't)? Also, you keep saying Euro vinyl. Ford trucks have vinyl also (I like it fine, but I'm sure many (most likely including you) think it is cheap). Also, do you think vinyl, leather, or cloth looks best? What is your second favorite. My order is:leather, vinyl, cloth. Very cool idea about looking out the window being better for stomachs :)!!! I don't like these systems much either. I TOTALLY agree Odyssey and he was listening to some kid music that you could tell he and his wife didn't like to please his kids.
  • libertycatlibertycat Posts: 593
    go to the "2005 Chevrolet Venture/Pontiac Montana/Saturn Relay/Buick minivan" discussion. The Buick will compete with the Monterey and the others will tackle the Freestar with the Relay and Venture being slightly cheaper than the Montana.
  • trainboytrainboy Posts: 66
    I have had vehicles with non-perf vinyl, like late '60s-'80s Fords. I have also driven lots of rentals and heavy stuff as well. In some instances, vinyl is the cleanup choice; like my old dune buggy or the wreckers and semis that I have driven. My '78 VW had nice vinyl, but I didn't have kids then.

    My current job has me in and out of a Windstar about 3 days a week covering 800-1000 miles in that interval covering central Calif. Vinyl just heats up too much in our area. I would like to have a car with leather seats like my old '60 Lincoln Mk V, but it is not practical with kids. I once drove a Crown Bus with a perforated leather seat and it made you sweat as well. As far as you request for choices, I probably would go with leather first, cloth second and vinyl last. If I add kids to the equation, then the leather moves to the end of the line. Once my kids get past about 10, then I might reconsider leather. Right now, cloth is the overall choice at our house. I would have a real problem with leather seats if the kid's carseat wore a hole through the hide. Maybe in a few years......
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    I have leather, and have had leather on many vehicles in the past. Unfortunatly, they were standard, if I could I would have made them cloth. Luckily there's seat covers, and I'll use that instead. BUT that's just my experience, since I do not wish to burn my buns in the FL heat :-)
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731 available at for both, Freestar & Monterey.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    The Air Conditioned seats on my Navigator are just lovely in the desert heat. The longer the trip, the cooler your butt and back get. No sweating...... I'm very happy with them, and the leather seating.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Yap, it's important in these hot days, if you got leather. I would say even more important than heated seats in winter (when you wear long pants anyway).
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    For Freestar:

    For Monterey:

    I see that the new 4.2L engine will have 202 hp (one more than estimated) and 265 lb-ft of torque (5 more than estimated).

    The new engines will also be much quieter. Do you think Ford can match a Honda or Toyota engine in terms of quietness?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Not these engines, these are the Essex engines, I dislike. (I mentioned this on another Freestar/Monterrey thread). They have definatly been improved, and the (farm machinary sound) of the current 3.8L (now 3.9L) has been muted quite a bit. The days on this engines are numbers, thank god....
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    You know though, the 4.0L SOHC in my Mountaineer is as quiet and smooth as any Honda engine I've had, and frankly so are the 4.6L and 5.4L. The 5.4L has just a tad more NVH, that means you can barely tell they are running. But the other two are like butter. And the 3.9 V-8 in the Lincoln LS you can put a glass of water on when running and can't see a ripple. So, yes Ford can build engines as quiet and smooth as Honda. Just not the 4.2L, which is an old, but updated engine.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Job1 For Freestar is August 25th, and they should be shipped to dealers mid September, expect to see them at the dealer's lots at that time.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    So, when does the Colony Park (Mercury twin) hit the dirt, ANT? (That's the Monterey, right?)My L/M dealer will be angry if I replace my Villager with a Freestar from the dealer across the street.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    No official date has yet been released internally mainly because production of the Freestar will take presedence, once dealer's are stocked well from the Freestar, then the Monterrey production will begin. My quesstimate, look for Jan-March of next year. Obviously I'll post info as I receive it.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    That should work. Lease is up in May. Getting a lot of miles on the old girl (42,000).
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Here's a link to the first printing of the owner's manual for the upcoming Freestar. (I'm posting a similar link to the Monterrey's in it's respective forum). This way people can see it's options, toys, gadget, instrument panel, stereo configuration, etc. it's a large file in .PDF format. Have fun !

    Note: On the manual, you will see the "WIN" name, meaning Windstar, that hasn't been rectified yet in the printing, but if you scroll thru the pages, you will find it's really the Freestar information considering how the Instrument Panel, stereo, options, are configured/designed. - ile.pdf?DMW_OBJECTID=09000c58803a7ce8
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Thanks for the link. I've downloaded the .pdf file (about 15 minutes on my 56K modem). I'm enjoying so much of reading information about the upcoming Freestar.

    There is a lot to like about the new Freestar over the current Windstar. However, there are many things I don't like, many things which I hoped so much to see an upgrade in the new Freestar, and many things which are even better on the Windstar. And let me explain a few of them.

    What I like about the new Freestar:

    Many new storage bins all over the vehicle, dual map pockets on each front door; on dashboard top; bottle holders, and more. Overhead console w/compass & outside temperature, as most other minivans have (in the Windstar it's on the message center, viewable for the driver only). Puddle lamps (if equipped). Revised engine, transmission, suspension & steering will give better feel, ride & handling, and reduce the noise (NVH). Steering-wheel audio controls. When Cruise is engaged an icon will appear like most other cars. And of course, the disappearing 3rd row seat, and good overall quality. And bigger 4-wheel disc brakes w/panic assist available. DVD entertainment system instead of the VHS system.

    What I will miss from my Windstar:

    The new Freestars dashboard really sucks IMHO. I hate everything, from gauges to controls of the climate & audio systems to the steering wheel & the steering-wheel-mounted controls. Although I guess those controls will be illuminated, a good thing over the Windstar, Ford changed the first time the cruise controls from the way it used to be for years, on the 2 sides of the steering wheel. Now it will have 3 tiny controls on 1 side only. The Windstar's gauges, in my opinion, was just beautiful, as I wrote somewhere else in Town hall. Large bright typefaces, evenly and clean designed speedo-tacho meter, and the high-beam icon in center of these 2. In the Freestar this icon is placed in the middle of the tachometer. So many icons all over in no order. This is not neat. Only one LCD for both, message center & odometer, while the Windstar has 2 extra on both sides of the gauges, so nice.

    Also we will miss the separate controls of the rear quarter windows which is located on the drivers door in the Windstar, Instead it will have a single switch to control both rear windows simultaneously (as in GM minivans, which brought a lot of criticism in the auto media).

    I also hate the analog clock, which should make a car 'luxury'... especially while they have no numbers on it, just dots instead of numbers. So if you want to know the time at-a-glance, you have no choice. It will take you at-lease 2-3 seconds to realize the time. Since this is offered only on the Limited model (and on Mercury Monterey), I guess if I'll go with Freestar I will not take the Limited.

    Things which I hoped to see a change, but unfortunately will not change:

    Overhead lamps in the front seats is placed behind the first-row seats in the Windstar, so it's hard to turn them on or off, especially while driving. No other minivan has this stupid design, nor Ford themselves have this design on their other vehicles. I was sure they will change it in the Freestar, but nope... they will not.

    Better & bigger controls for the audio systems. In 'consumer guide' it says Windstar Audio controls are too busy. In consumer reports (at the Town car report, few months ago) also says that the audio controls (close to the one in the Windstar) is not smart designed, and has too many similar flat buttons.

    Still no storage drawer under the front passenger seat; No wiper de-icer (now on Chrysler/Dodge, Kia, Toyota minivans, although I think Chrysler stopped to make them on '03 models); No DVD navigation system; Simple sound system w/6 speakers, while most other offers 8-9-10 speaker systems w/subwoofer. No driver's side outside auto dimming mirror. No rear-seat panel armrests, as Toyota, Honda, Chrysler/Dodge; Power seats are still 6-way, not 8-way, as most other have. Front passenger seat can't fold flat as the new Sienna; And of course we will not get power roll-down sliding door windows; AWD; Split rear folding seat; 2nd row seats folds down (new Nissan Quest), and just 201 hp with the updated 4.2L engine, and just a 4-speed transmission, not a 5-speed as Honda, Toyota, Kia, Mazda. No independent rear suspension. +++

    I hope Ford is reading this. I'm not the best writer (English is NOT my primary language), but they will get the idea. It's a long post, but contains a lot of information. As you all know, a new minivan from Ford is due in 2006 or 2007, built on the Mazda6 platform. I hope 'til then, when Honda & GM and perhaps Chrysler will be out with a new minivan, Ford will combine all features together and build a wonderful minivan.
  • haulthault Columbus OhioPosts: 126
    Is the new Freestar 3.9 and 4.2 engines just bored or stroked versions of the 3.8 ?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Yes, basically, they are the same Essex engine as the 3.8L.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
       I agree about the clock on the dashboard, but it's mainly there as a focal point, decorate touch, more than functional. There's much attention being paid to the interior materials, fit and finish, and overall quality. And you will notice a balanced look in the way the items are arranged on the dashboard. Which is where the clock came in.

       It's funny you mention the Instrument panel icons. I was mentioning that to a friend of mine, considering that her vehicle has some icons spread through-out the speedometer/tachometer as well (Saturn L300). What's worse, in her vehicle they stand out, because the lighted cut-outs are very visible at any time. You would think with all that corners on the IP's, they would have sectioned them specifically in a few sections, or have a row of them towards the bottom of the IP (remember older Volvo's). But there's reasons for this arrangement, and one of them has to do with studies of visual awareness and such.

       The Taurus' IP is also being modified quite a bit as well for 2004, and loses some of those "icon corners" as well :( But this is an item that isn't a "make or break" deal for me. NOW RED intrumentation WOULD be, for me a, deal breaker.

       There's only so much that was re-engineered for the Freestar, it's benefit is that it's Taurus based, and is using exsisting current Ford items/techonology, etc. Although being overhauled, the main aspects of the vehicle has stayed intact. So development/research money is saved in that case, and spent elsewhere (improved materials, structure, engines). This will buy time till the Mazda6 based minivan debuts in 3 years. Which will feature much of what the competition currently has. Unfortunatly this is a case where Ford is a bit late to the party (remember the 4th driver's rear passenger door-late to the party as well), now it's with the foldable 3rd row seats.

    But it's a much more improved vehicle overall, and attention to reliability, quality, NVH was worked on.
  • hst1hst1 Posts: 17
    Hi there,
    Does anyone know the pricing for the new freestar? We are looking for a new minivan with the the third row side curtain airbags. From the media ford link , it seems like we will have to get a bunch of options in order to have the side airbags... does anyone know where I could find a price for the new freestar with those options? Thanks!!!
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Pricing has not yet been released. When so, I'll post a link to it.
  • trainboytrainboy Posts: 66
    Hannah, you can get pricing if you can bluff you way into the "commercial" or leasing part of your Ford dealer. I work for GE and they have a buying agreement for employees, does your employer have the same thing (ask your HR person)? My dealer said he could give me a price now and gave me all of the ordering stuff, just no color brochures.

    You can also look at it this way, it won't be less expensive than 2003, but would probably not be more than 10%-15% +/- over 2003 with the same stuff.

    good luck....randy
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Ford announced that the new Freestar will be the most quality minivan from Ford (?). Here is a copy of their words:

    "In the past few years, Ford has steadily improved the quality and refinement of its minivans through changes in design and manufacturing - and a fanatical attention to detail. Quality has already been improved by more than 20 percent, according to independent analysis, over previous model Ford minivans. For 2004, Ford has taken quality and refinement to a higher level with the all-new Freestar."

    What do you think? Has quality really been improved? Looking at this site I'm surprised that many people are satisfied with their Windstar's: p;search=MostRecent&num=50&trim=All&lang=All

    The Aerostar had a long lasting powertrain. We have in our business 3 Aerostars, '93 & '95 models. 2 are in the 190K range, and most things are fine (one of them has no A/C), and another one, has 209,000 miles! and still runs great, with ice-cold A/C. If the new Freestar will be the best Ford minivan, it should at least last this long :-)

    The above link is for year 2003 models. but the year 2002 models, although not that good, is also much better than expected: p;search=MostRecent&num=50&trim=All&lang=All

    I hope Ford learned a lesson, and will build good quality vehicles once for all!
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