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Ford Freestar/Mercury Monterey



  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    It's mid-Sept. Are any of these at the dealers yet? I'm anxious to rename this discussion :-)

    Steve, Host
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    They just started arriving in some dealerships this week, most will receive it by next year, then totally phased in towards the end of the month. Currently, the first batch (consumer ordered) vehicles are reaching the dealerships, So I guess you could rename it if you wish.

    Ford Freestar
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    I haven't seen Dindak in here lately so maybe renaming it will get his attention. It sounds like he's seen some too at a dealer near his house.

    I'm curious to hear from the first new owners too.

    Hopefully our new vehicle pages will get updated soon too.

    Steve, Host
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    Don't holler at me, I love Canada. That's a quote from the Globe and Mail!

    Getting a fix on Freestar

    Steve, Host
  • now has a link to a Freestar preview section for those who may be interested.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    When will I find a Freestar at my local dealers?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    They should start arriving after this coming week.
  • Hi All: I just found this on Ford's media site. Looks like the first pricing info. id=16422&vehicle_id=939&make_id=92

    or you can go to
    and search for an article dated 9/22/03.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    Ford prices '04 Freestar minivan (Automotive News)

    Steve, Host
  • rodc1rodc1 Posts: 36
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    written by - it's still not published on their site, but they have it in the magazine (November issue).

    Here are a few sentences:

    "If the new Ford Freestar minivan demonstrate anything, it's that a new name is a lot cheaper than new sheetmetal...

    "The cabin has been gutted, and the Windstar's blobs and swoops replaced by a very J Maysian execution of strict horizontal lines, small buttons, and high-quality materials...

    "Interior noise levels have plummeted, offering the Freestar/Monterey driver a calmer perch and less intrusion from either the 3.9 - or the 4.2-liter OHV V-6...

    "The Freestar/Monterey drives with more discipline than the Windstar, with tighter steering and firmer brakes. But the unsophisticated beam axle at the rear allow bumps to crash through the cabin, and some corkscrewing to assert itself on undulating roads. In the dynamics department, it's still no Honda Odyssey, but it's no Windstar, either...

    "If there is one knock on the new interior, it's that the seat bottoms are too low to the floor, forcing second & third row passengers' knees into their headgear...
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Seen a Monterey? Where? on the road or at a dealer?

    Ford Media says that the Freestar will arrive in volume in October & November.

    Interesting, because the new F-150 and refreshend Ford Taurus, and Crown Victoria are already at the dealers.
  • rodc1rodc1 Posts: 36
    Test drove Monterey at Bob Borst LincolnMercury today located in Metro Detroit area. See my post on the Monterey board of course go to Mercury first.
  • I thought the Freestar/Montery was supposed to get an independent rear suspension. Did plans change?
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    There was never a plan to have independent rear suspension. Where have you seen such a plan?
  • "Where have you seen such a plan?" samnoe.

    Well, Edmunds and Car and Driver, just to name two.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    If I only had a penny for each media mistake I've read out there, Car and Driver, Motor Trend being the worst offenders.

    From the start the Freestar was never conceived for having an IRS. The media speculated this "incorrectly" only because they thought it would need IRS for it to fit the 3rd row dissapearing bench. They saw that other of Ford's vehicles ditched live-axles for IRS, to fit their 3rd row seats (Expy, Explorer, etc.) The media took this as a hint and did a "Miss Cleo" on it.

    Factors as to why IRS weren't implemented, Mainly costs. It's enough they redid the rear compartment to fit it, and improve the drivetrain, as well as triple the investment on interior materials/quality. Ford didn't want to invest anymore when already they are planning on another minivan a few years from now, based on the Futura architecture.
  • I actually read an account of an early sighting of a Freestar development mule in which the author said that he got close enough to see the new independent rear suspension. Go figure.

    I find it amazing that so little information about this vehicle has been released prior to production. And now it appears that much of what is out there may be inaccurate.

    By the way, I saw my first Freestar today on the lot of Capitol Ford in Madison, Wisconsin. I couldn't get out of my car to look it over because my 5 year old was in the back seat of my car throwing up (not kidding). My first impression was "eewwwww" (for the Freestar, not the vomit). Thank goodness the interior is so attractive.

    If the Freestar were a girl I guess I would have to say she has inner beauty and a nice personality - and we all know what those are code words for. :-)
  • ext25ext25 Posts: 32

    Article on new Freestar.

    "Yet, the Freestar is one of the most authentic minivans on the market. It is designed to serve busy families with a minimum of fuss and pretense.

    While many manufacturers claim to have captured the "family-room feel," the Freestar actually delivers on that promise"

    "The new and beautifully crafted two-tone instrument panel in the Freestar is squared off and almost stark, giving the minivan a spacious, almost European feel."

    "After driving both the Freestar and its rivals, this mom puts the new Ford minivan near the top of her shopping list."
  • ext25ext25 Posts: 32

    Outwitting kids delights Ford engineers

    Flexible cupholders keep bouncing back; smart seats are safe

    "Ford engineers were clearly thinking about kids and their antics when they redesigned those second-row bucket seats. To my eye, they've even beaten the system on the new Toyota Sienna minivan"
  • I just test drove a Freestar SES in the Wash D.C. area. Here are my quick impressions

    Overall: Very Solid. Probably the best American made minivan (I haven't driven the T&C). Looks good and drove good, almost as nice as the new Sienna and Quest.

    What I liked: Drove very nicely, well designed interior, doors shut snug, nice accleration, steering is decently tight and not a lot of body roll. Dash is nicely laid out and interior is pretty quiet.

    Dislikes: Engine is noisy when acclerating from stop, 2nd row captains chairs are fixed and to get to 3rd row you must either walk down center or fold a 2nd row seat flat and then up against the front row. No power passenger sliding door option

    I like it, prices seem a little high when compared to competition
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    Maybe the Freestar you drove did not have the power sliders but they are definitely available and very desirable.
  • Power doors are an option on the SEL and standard on the Limited. You cannot get them on the SES, SE or S.

    If you get an SEL, the power doors is an $900 option. If you add the safety canopy (curtain bags) and safety assist (traction), you have an invoice price of $29.2k and msrp of $32.3k.

    This is whole lot, when you can get the same pacakage on the Sienna for $28k and the Quest for $27k.
  • ext25ext25 Posts: 32 _code=carnews&loc_code=index&content_code=04449937

    This article says teh 2nd row of seats do move fore and aft, if I am reading it correctly.

    "we’re impressed by the tranny’s behavior. "
    "A new torque converter, five-pinion final-drive gear set and simplified hydraulics produce smooth, quick shifts. Kick-down is easy to initiate, and the tranny selects and holds the correct gear better than any Ford autobox we can remember"

    "The (suspension) setup offers a significant and much needed improvement over the Windstar’s ride and handling; Quest and Toyota Sienna passengers will feel right at home in these minivans, "

    "the steering actually has some on-center feel that makes it easy to place the vehicles exactly where you aim. "

    "Apply the strong, standard four-wheel disc brakes via a firm (finally!) brake pedal and you forget this is a Ford minivan. "

    "rivals the competition for driving enjoyment, convenience and practicality, if not for outright style."
  • The second row seats that move fore/aft is the bench seats. The vehicle I drove had the captains chairs in the second row, which is what I would want. The captain row seats cannot be moved, other than folding up.

    Again, I like this vehicle, it is clearly a competitor with the Sienna, Odyssey and Quest. I am still waiting on the pricing info.

    And I forgot to mention the passenger compartment feels no vibration at all from the engine. It is very smooth, with no rattles at all.
  • pwierpwier Posts: 11
    After waiting very patiently for Ford and GM to put their heads together in-order to build a quality ground breaking mini-van. I see I am going to have to keep waiting.

    GM isn't going to do anything except milk the public until 1995 when they will attempt to build a van that can compete with the competition.

    Ford Has given it a good try, and believe me when I say I grew up on American cars, I love American cars and would be even happier to honestly say that the ford freestar is the best Van out there. But it isnt.

    After going on the ford site / building a new SE Freestar / viewing the standard options / viewing the available options (DVD SYSTEM NOT AVAILABLE)Which is unacceptable in todays market, so I called a local dealer - he advised that the DVD systems will be offered aftermarket from the dealer. If I'm buying after market, why would I buy from ford.

    Dollar for Dollar hands down, take mechanical reliability into account, argue all you want, the sienna is by far a superior Van.

    The SE model I priced was $2,000.00 more then the LE Sienna I priced, plus the Sienna had so much more to offer.

    It's sad, but when it comes down to making a decision, I work hard and feel that each and every dollar matters. Taking a risk with the Ford and seeing my dollars go years later in repairs. No way. And when GM finally comes out with their van, I'm sure there will be tons of hard cheap plastic used for the dash and interior. Wake up!!!

    OK, Let the disagreements start, but you all know deep inside, the Freestar was not worth the wait. I would rather buy a 2003 leftover Windstar at a discounted price.
  • Wouldn't you rather just wait six months and pay discount prices for the new Freestar? If history is our guide, you can bet that Ford will continue its policy of using inflated sticker prices with significant rebates and discounts.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    If I'm buying after market, why would I buy from ford.

    The dealer will cover the install under their warranty and won't be able to point fingers elsewhere if the install messes up something else, like the alarm system. You'll probably pay extra for the privilege.

    I agree that it would be better to be able to order one installed by the factory.

    Steve, Host
  • Paul, I also drove a Sienna this summer. We got lucky and caught a dealer with a new one just off the truck. My wife and I liked most of the van, but the plastic trim seemed flimsy. The glossy black interior panels seemed like they would attract fingerprints from the kids (we have 3). I am sure you are reading the Sienna website as well. I also believe that the Sienna takes premium fuel, which costs over the long run.

    We decided on a Freestar because we have had 4 Windstars that have been a good value. I get a new company unit every 2 years and my wife's '96 has just turned 80k. Her new Freestar is due next week and my company unit will arrive in December. My wife and I are both tall, so the Windstar/Freestar offered the best legroom & seating. If you need the DVD, look at the Mercury Monterey website, this might be a good compromise. id=16423&vehicle_id=940&make_id=94
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Can't believe that a new model van is hardly even on the dealer's lots and we have someone passing absolute judgment that it is a POS.

    I don't have a Windstar and won't be in the market for a minivan for a while-my wife's 96 Caravan SE Sport is doing just fine, thank you, and so is my 2000 Taurus SES. But I just don't see the point: This continual domestic car bashing by many posters at Edmunds really gets old. Please, at least let the vehicle get on the market before you blast it!
  • You shouldn't pass judgment until you drive it.

    I did drive it and it is a solid minivan. I think it will impress alot of people and quickly become one of the best (if not the best) selling american minivan.
  • pwierpwier Posts: 11
    I will Drive it and I'm sure I will Like it and I may even buy it (depending on how much they offer off the sticker price). My main point is How can Ford Price this Van (which needs to establish itself as a leader) above the competition w/ less options. I'm trying not to pass judgment, Like I said, I waited for this Van to arrive and over the last few years have grown to admire the Ford product line.

    It would kill me to buy foreign, that is why I will search for every reason not to do so.

    So when the time comes and I test drive The Freestar and My Wife and I decide that this may be the right choice, I hope Ford does the right thing.

    On paper, like I wrote above, the Sienna seems like a better Value dollar for dollar.

    Oh, and this isn't domestic bashing, I own two Pontiac's right now and was raised on Chevrolet (I know that word is dangerous on the Ford boards)

    But I can't wait for GM, Dodge Anniversary Grand Caravan looks real nice. Hey, I will test drive them all. No bashing here.

    My biggest concern is reliability. Thanks
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    "Buttons are larger and easier to find"... says one of them.

    Well, let's see. The power controls for the mirrors and windows are about HALF the size of the perfect-sized Windstar's controls. The controls for the message center was very easy to use in the Windstar, but in the Freestar/Monterey it's hidden behind the steering wheel, with much smaller buttons than Windstar.

    To open the rear vent windows in the Windstar, just press the control next to the front windows. But in the Freestar, you have to pull yourself to the right, and press the control -- it's on the right side of the radio -- what a mess!

    The Windstar's gauges, although not so 'modern', has larger typefaces, and is easier to read than the new Freestar.

    The interior door handles are the best in class, and best size, on the Windstar. On the Freestar, they went on a diet and are much smaller, although it's 'modern'...

    Nothing earthshaking, though... but please don't tell us the 'buttons are larger and easier to find' than in the Windstar.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Sorry if I jumped to conclusions.

    Ford probably priced it as it did to allow for those all important factory rebates!

    Seriously, likely you will soon find Freestar pricing probably will end up out the door lower than the Odyssiennas as Toyota and Honda have not had the manufacturing capacity to produce minivans in the quantities of the domestics, so they have been commanding pricing that is closer to MSRP than the domestics. That, along with their perceived (not necessarily factual) quality has allowed them to get along without discounting.
  • barmerbarmer Posts: 2
    I've been anxiously awaiting a Freestar at my local dealership. They finally received one and I just checked it out. I went with the assumption that I could get 2 must-have options:
    -All-wheel drive
    -DVD entertainment system

    After the salesman triple-checked, he reluctantly said AWD was not available. This is a deal-killer for me. Is the salesman right? Is Ford really not going to offer an all-wheel drive version of this van? I can't find AWD mentioned anywhere in the brochure.

    Seems that the Sienna is my only option for AWD of the redesigned vans :(
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    No AWD, not this generation. It's coming for the next generation Futura based, minivans though.
  • barmerbarmer Posts: 2
    Thanks for that confirmation. Unfortuantely I can't wait for the next gen vans (whenever that may be)... we need something this year.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    How imperative is AWD? Not sure what system Sienna uses, but AWD systems vary greatly. The majority (which are found on most FWD vehicles) are FWD biased, then send power to the rear axle when slip is detected. Some other's operate at certain percentages, such as 70% FWD, 30% RWD, and some other system's (some SUV's) are 50/50.

    Personally, if the system won't operate Full time 50/50, I find it pointless to go with a "when slip is detected" system of AWD, whereas a stability-control system can work almost as well to correct the vehicle. While avoid the typical drivetrain stress that's involved with a fulltime 50/50 system.

    This doesn't mean the 50/50 AWD system's are that much better, if they aren't harnessed by a good stability control system. I've seen numerous 50/50 F/R systems run off the road by their driver's misjudgement, only because the impeding force when the "wheels that slip" regain traction to match the "wheels that grip" cause them to lose control.

    I wish I could direct you to an article on Car and Driver (rare time I actually vouche their validity on a particular subject) where they described the difference between them, with cute pictures, so you can see the various types of systems.

    So on any car with AWD, I recommend you ask exactly how THEIR system works, because they will ALL vary greatly.
  • cpstechcpstech Posts: 24
    Could someone clarify about the availability of the DVD player. Is it available as an option only on the higher end models?

  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    What was Ford thinking by redesigning the 3.9L engine ? Its displacement is more than Windstar's 3.8L, it is more refined, uses the same fuel mileage (17/23), and horsepower went down from 200 to 193? How could that happen? (I know, it's at a lower RPM, but still...)

    And again, after all major competitors (except for GM's minivans which get a new design next year) offers refined engines with 230-240 hp (and Chrysler 215 hp), even the 4.2L engine is not enough for today's standards, but the 3.9L? What were they thinking?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    The investment money was spent elsewhere, than with the drivetrain itself. Plus it's really the only engines they had access, look at the engine line up and tell me what other engine would fit it's need that's readily accessible to them. So supply at the engine factory was something to take into consideration.

    The 3.9L lost power because of an emissions related item/techinicality. Example, look how Volvo's 2.5T overseas is sold as 250HP, just in U.S. form it's 243HP. Or even Jaguar's for that matter. The 3.0L with 240HP, makes 235HP overhere. Not much of a difference off the seat of the pants. In fact, Ford could have kept the numbers at 200HP and gotten away with it. What you do receive, is more useable power down low, 90% of it's torque is available at 1500RPM, and you can reach the power at less RPM as well.

    The 4.2L was introduced mainly because "What do we do with this engine?" since the F-150 can no longer use it. And since they are cousins, the mounts are similar, therefore the transition was much easier.

    I too am not fond of the powertrain, and a few other items in the vehicle itself, but overall its' a very extensive make-over, and the new minivans will be here in a few years anyway, so this investment will do for now.
  • Freestar hasn't got the DVD. You will have to upscale with the Mercury Monterey. id=16423&vehicle_id=940&make_id=94
  • Hey Ant, go to the Mazda6 board maybe you could give us some help with a problem. Thanks
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    Yesterday, at The State Fair of Texas, I saw both the new Ford and Mercury vans. Only the Mercury was close enough to get a look inside. The Ford was on a revolving pedestal. Apparently they are in such short supply Ford could not make enough available for the fair. Nissan, Toyota and GM all had plenty to look, touch, sit and feel. A Mercury employee demonstrated how the rear seat folded for me but I was actually able to fold all the others for myself.

    My observations are that the Freestar is going to be difficult to distinguish from a Windstar on the exterior and the middle and back seats seem too low so one's knees will be close to one's chin.
  • I stopped by my local Ford dealer again to get a better look at the Freestar. They had one in the showroom - a red SEL with tan leather interior. After crawling around and under the van, sitting in every seat, slamming all the doors, checking the sight lines and playing around with the seating configurations I came away with the impression that this is a very average van. Here is what threw me - the option list.

    I currently own a 2001 Nissan Quest SE which was the middle grade or "sporty" model. I got it out the door for a little over $22,000. The comparable Freestar, the SES, will sell for considerable more than that. Why am I disappointed? Here is a list of what the more expensive 2004 Freestar is missing when compared to my cheap 2001 Quest SE.

    No heavy duty battery - only an option on the Limited
    No leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls - only on the SEL and Limited
    No fuel economy or range read out - only on the Limited
    No rear seat audio or climate controls - SEL and Limited
    No lighted vanity mirrors - only on SEL and Limited
    No for/aft adjustable second row captains chairs - SEL and Limited only

    Things that should be standard, but are options:

    First row floor mounted console
    Second row captains chairs
    Heated power outside mirrors

    And something that isn't even offered - a DVD or VHS system.

    Maybe if Ford didn't offer five different wheel styles and eight different interior fabric choices they could have devoted some resources to bumping up the standard features.

    Here is the final kicker that took some of the sting out of the sticker. The salesperson said that they would be hearing about rebates and discounts real soon. Why doesn't Ford just put on honest price on the vehicle in the first place?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Instead, they raised the prices, SO when the rebates kick in, the hit isn't as hard.

    As for the items you stated, I can vouche on the center console not being standard because not everyone want's them. It was one of those things in the consumer clinics, that people didn't care one way or another for. Some even stated they didn't want it because they wanted to have accessibility to the rear seats.

    Same goes with the 2nd row captain chairs, they prefered having the bench as a standard item, over the seperate captain chairs.

    Some of these issues are not directly manufacturer related (well work with me here so I don't lose you). As in, they built what people want... How do they know? Consumer clinics is the result of the issues you stated above. Issues to you (and some other's I'm sure) but not to the majority of people surveyed in the consumer clinics.

    As for the DVD/VHS, sometimes an aftermarket system might end up being a much better bargain, Or probably a dealer installed option.

    Now, if you noticed the items you mentioned above... You will notice they want people to "upgrade" to SEL and Limited, to receive those items. This too is results from consumer clinics. The point is for people to upgrade, to receive the toys...IN the end, you probably get it for pretty much the same price (as the lesser models) after rebates and all, kicks in.

    But I agree though, sometime it's frustrating, and many times there's things you expect as standard items without the need to upgrade.
  • "Now, if you noticed the items you mentioned above... You will notice they want people to "upgrade" to SEL and Limited, to receive those items. This too is results from consumer clinics." - ANT.

    Hogwash. Pure hogwash.

    Nobody, abosolutely nobody, WANTS to pay extra or upgrade for anything - period. What Ford has done is taken the results of their focus group, picked out some desireable options and put them in their most expensive models. Some of this stuff should be - at the very least - made an option on the SES.

    Come on ANT - $28,000 and they don't even offer redundant radio controls? No for/aft adjustment on the rear buckets - buckets that should be standard? Serious omissions that are designed to chase consumers into more expensive and profitable products. I get the feeling that the consumer was left out of the equation - unless, of course, Ford is ready to offer $4000 rebates on the SEL.
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