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Ford Freestar/Mercury Monterey



  • CPS Tech-
    you can read a discussion about interior trim showing through on outside in a review of the Freestar in ( In the review, the reviewer noticed the trim showing through and asked Ford engineers why and got no adequate answer (though it seems to me Ford didn't want to spend the money to fix this design flaw). I see it as a design flaw since i have yet to see any other model car (Ford or any other mfg.) ever have this! To see for yourself, go to a Freestar and from the outside look at the driver's seat area or front passenger area. Clearly, from outside you can see 2 inches of interior trim showing through the glass! I personnally found this to be unattractive and unacceptable for a car i would spend close to $30,000 on and therefore for THAT reason and a few others (60/40 split 3rd row), we bought the Sienna. Maybe a Ford employee on this message board can provide an answer to why Freestar has this.
  • Since i am not a technical person, maybe my explanation of door trim isn't clear. Here is the relevant section of article i mentioned before in
    "We were quite puzzled with an odd Freestar design choice, to which no one had a clear answer for us. When looking at the Freestar from the side, you can see the interior front-door panel sticking a good two inches above the outside doorline. It looks like a glaring mistake, as if the design budget got cut and it had to stay that way, and when we asked we got three different stories from three different people on the project as to why the panel is the way it is, revealing something about the communication within Ford. One said that the door and power window mechanisms wouldn't fit in a lower panel (which seemed unbelievable as the door is so huge!); another said that a decision was made to keep the panel because it gives people more of a feeling of safety (also hard to believe as you look down the gap from the panel to the real window sill!); and yet another said that he doesn't know why and the panel has simply been carried over from the original Windstar, which had a higher door beltline. Would this happen at Honda or Toyota? We don't know, but we don't notice the panels sticking up on those vans, either."
  • Thanks, I get it's very clear in the brochure. Definitely a design flaw in my opinion, can't imagine why they felt that it was acceptable to leave it like that. I wonder how far the window goes the door or to the panel??
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    It's just a carry over piece, in other words... if you were to rest your elbow on the whole window ledge, the trim will be the part that you will actually rest it upon, NOT the window ledge itself. This makes the previous Windstar, now Freestar, integrate with the front dashboard. You will notice older Explorer's had this same situation.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I'm beginning my search for a new vehicle to replace my Explorer. I test drove the Freestar on Friday. I was able to get some highway and back road time. Overall, it's an improvement on the Windstar. The 3.9 L engine does accelerate nicely. Better then I thought it would. There was osme growling from the engine when you accelerated but it was very quiet while cruising. Seats we comfortable although the second row seats seemed bit low.

    Dashboard was OK. A little too much plastic on the doors. My 96 Explorer at least had vinyl on the doors. But I felt the Windstar was a better layout but what do I know?

    Overall it's a nice van but the biggest problem I had with the van was the cost. To get the items you truly need, you had to buy it separately. The cheapest Freestar they had on the lot was $28k. That was for an SE. For that price I can get a loaded Odyssey, sienna LE, Nissan Quest, or MPV. OF course they do have a bunch of Windstars available with big rebates on them.

    I'll continue my search later this week with the Quest, Odyssey and T&C.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    I remember that you are having trouble with the Explorer, but don't recall if you mentioned why you are looking to go to a minivan instead of another SUV (or Malibu?).

    Are there any Ford loyalty coupons floating around these days?

    I'm always curious as to why MV/SUV owners defect and switch styles. Thanks,

    Steve, Host
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    The reason for the switch to a minivan is my 96 Explorer V8 has 144k miles on it and my wife backed into a loading dock. We are getting it fixed but it has lost its appeal. It was in such great shape before that people were stunned that it had that many miles on it. We had planned on shopping for a new vehicle this spring anyway and decided to move our purchase up by a couple of months. Also with 2 kids (4 yrs and 19 months) we do travel quite a bit to visit the in-laws and take short trips during the summer, the extra room in the minivan will be appreciated. Plus the gas mileage on the SUVs are horrendous. At least i will be able to get over 20 mpg on the highway with a minivan.

    I'm beyond that macho image and the "want" for an SUV. We've had two Explorers (1991 and 1996) that have served us very well. And the funny thing is my wife does hunt and does go off road but she can travel with her father for that. Other then that, we don't do the off -road thing. Snow? I live in the suburbs and I'm not stupid enough to try and drive in 6 inches of snow with any vehicle. Most places cancel school and other functions well before the snow storm ever hits. So a front wheel drive minivan will do just fine for the drivng we do.

    My in laws would prefer we buy American (whatever that means). I started with the Freestar since the local dealership had a special going on this weekend. I'm not aware of any loyalty programs through Ford. Not completely sold on the re-design. They've improved the Freestar in some areas (engine, noise, shifting) but I think they also went cheap on some other things (too much plastic esp. on the doors). I thought the Windstar interior was better overall. We also looked (did not test drive) at the Quest which had better seats and some other items that made the Freestar look overpriced. And this was the base Quest we were looking at. But the proof is in the driving which we will do very shortly.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    Thanks! Have fun shopping,

    Steve, Host
  • Thanks for all of your patience with my complaining about the crummy paint on our Freestar.

    Today, Ford said they would exchange the van due to the number and level of defects in the paint.

    Thanks for your support!
  • Bought a new 99 Odyssey and am looking to replace it after 275,000 almost trouble free miles. Looked at the Sienna, Quest, and Freestar. The Sienna and Quest are obviously all new designs that take dead aim at the Odyssey. They have various strongpoints and shortcomings, but they clearly are trying to replace the Odyssey as the segment leader.

    As for the Freestar, why hasn't Ford been called on the carpet for obviously false and/or deceptive advertising? The Freestar is a regurgitated Windstar. The door panels don't line up because one is old and the other is a carryover. The van is an improvement over the Windstar, but you can only fix up an 20 year old pushrod V-6 so much, same goes for the tranny and rear suspension. They just don't come close to the competition. Once Chrysler puts the folding middle and rear seats in the new 2005 in January, GM finally comes out with their redesign next year, not to mention the 2005 Odyssey redesign, the Freestar will still be an improved vehicle but will badly trail the pack. If you buy one, better plan to keep it for many years, because the resale may be even worse than the Windstar. As Ford ups the rebates to try and sell the new ones, it will depress the resale value even more. Sorry to see an effort like this by Ford. If the "All new F-150" was as lame as the Freestar, heads would roll in Dearborn. Of course when you look at Ford's stock price, why haven't they rolled already? The Freestar certainly won't help the bottom line.

    P.S. I'm 6-1 and the Odyssey has plenty of front seat room. I'm puzzled by the post that says it cramps taller passengers.
  • Ted, I made the comment about the Odyssey punishing tall folks. My wife and I are both 6', maybe longer in the leg department. We went very open eyed to the Honda store, after having 5 Windstars. When we got into the Ody for a test drive, with a tall salesman, we tried to get the driver's seat further back. The sales guy said the seat was all the way back. We both felt that the Ody had less leg room than any of our previous Windstars (96 x 2, 98, 00, 02).

    I agree that the Honda has a better resale value, but what value does comfort have? The Honda lacked some features that we wanted, like driver's door keypad and the roof canopy airbag. Honda was also a bit more restrictive on the configuration. I agree that Ford does not hold the value for bi-annual trend setters, but we kept my wife's 96 Windstar for 82k miles and 8 years, only replacing a catalytic convertor in those miles. By the way, that was under warranty.

    Good luck on your hunt!
  • Trainboy - If you are only 6 feet tall then the Odyssey will provide you with plenty of leg room. It is clear that you didn't have the seat "all the way back".

    I'm a little over six feet tall and quite long of leg and have never had the problem of having too little leg room in my brother-in-law's Odyssey. In fact, I bet I could not reach the pedals if the seat were moved all the way back.
  • Jeff, maybe we had a real dummy for a sales rep. From what you said and another friend of mine who has one, it looks like cockpit failure with the sale rep. When we tried a new Odyssey, we got in and the seat was too close. We asked the sales rep if the seat was all of the way back for max leg room. He played with the seat controls and said the seat was to the rear most position. We were so uncomfortable, we didn't drive the van off the lot.

    Hey, if the van fits you, great! Next time, we will try another dealer.
  • Trainboy - I just realized that we may be discussing apples and oranges. It appears you were in an Odyssey with power seats. My brother-in-law's has manual seats. There could be a tremendous difference in track length between the two seats. Your complaint about leg room could certainly have merit if the power seat has limited movement.
  • shuedshued Posts: 107
    because you have enough money to replace your van for every 2-3 year (96 x 2, 98, 00, 02). But for most people, they need to keep a van for 10 year. For me, the priority is:
    1): Value/affordable.
    2): Long-term reliabilty.
    3): Performance.
    4): Convenience, comfortable.
    With the similar equipments, Freestar has higher MSRP than Honda, and Toyota's van. We can see what the sale volume world be.
  • Shued, I don't have enough money to replace my van every 2-3 years. One of the '96's was my personal purchase and we kept it for 82k miles and 8 years. The rest were company units that were leased by my employer. I get a new company Windstar/Freestar every 80k-90k miles, which is about every two years. I am not sure if I would call it lucky; my body is in that van about 900 miles spread over 3 days a week.

    I just get to see lots of new vans..

  • TSchrammTSchramm Posts: 106
    I bought a new Odyssey EX in 2001 and paid MSRP, because that's what you needed to do do get one then. I understand that you don't get much off MSRP even now. 7 months later, I changed jobs and got a company Windstar, which made the Odyssey an extra van with a payment I didn't need. I sold it for only $800 less than I paid for it 7 months earlier. Try doing that with the Windstar!

    Yes, The Windstar may MSRP for more than the Odyssey, but noone should pay within $5-7K of MSRP on a Windstar (Freestar). You can get the similarly equipped Freestar for less than the Odyssey or Sienna, but my experince is that you will lose much more in resale and to some extent, quality.

    My 2002 Windstar has 30K miles and has been just fine - routine maintenance only. It's a little noisier and not as refined as the Odyssey was, but interestingly, we have been more comfortable in the Ford than we were in the Honda. My company Freestar SE arrives at the end of December. Looking forward to the flat folding third seat. I've seen it and it looks and operates just great.
  • My other dissapointment with the Freestar is the confusing pricing and model trims. The Odyssey has three basic trim levels and there are no options except for a few overpriced dealer installed items. When Toyota and Nissan came out with their new vans, they also had three trim levels. The entry level and mid level were not surprisingly equipped and priced virtually the same as the Odyssey. The top level models have a few more options and are equipped and priced comparably to the Chrysler luxury model. Again they take direct aim at the competition. You can easily compare price, performance and equipment and make an informed selection. Then there's the Freestar. Five trim levels including a base model that is poorly equipped and has few available options so that almost no one would buy it. The other models are a confusing mix, none equipped similarly or priced similarly to compete with the benchmark competition. Only certain options are available with certain trims which of course makes things more frustrating. To get a Freestar with everything offered on the mid level model Honda, Toyota, or Nissan you end up with a $30,000+ van. Of course they overpriced it and introduced it with a rebate. Then you have to haggle on sticker to finally get back somewhere near competitive pricing. I asked several Ford dealers why the pricing mess. They just shook their heads and said it's a "Ford thing". Very sad.
  • Ted, it may seem confusing for 5 trim levels, but I think there is a method to the madness here. Remember, the Freestar replaces the Windstar, which is a vehicle in many company fleets. My company has leased 4 of them for my use on company business. My current company unit is an '02 LX, which is mid line. I just ordered a new Freestar for my work and it is now the SE which is next to bottom. I am sure we saved money there. My wife's Freestar SEL is definitely nicer than the company sled will be.

    Here is something that might work for you. Try ignoring the trim level and pick the options, one-by-one. Put the options in the order that they are important. Then look at the option matrix and see what unit meets the majority of your needs and then add on. For us, it was 4.2 liter engine, power sliding side doors, and safety canopy. Since we have 3 kids, we needed bucket seats in the second row, for easy 3rd row access. That pointed us the the SEL. We didn't want leather, so we stayed away from the Limited.

    If you want your trim options narrowed and you are looking at the higher end, try Mercury Monterey. I looked at one today and out of the box, it is nicer than Freestar.

    Good luck,
  • shuedshued Posts: 107
    I pick up SEL trim + 18D + 66P + 17D, which, I think is the most closed to the equipment with Oddy EX or Toyota Sienna LE with #7 package. The MSRP of Freestar is $31295 and Invoice is $28331. Man, at current, Oddy EX can get $25500, and 04 Sienna LE with #7 can get $26000. Without above 3000 incentives, do you think there have private customers will buy Freestar? Free Star!!!
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    That is one thing that confused me about the Freestar as well (amongst other things). It's generally more expensive then the competition and the option packages have no rhyme or reason. IF you were to compare a Nissan Quest to the Frestar feature for feature, you end up with a Freestar based at $30+. And you cannot get the 2n row captain chairs on the lower 2 levels.

    I hope Ford has a lot of money for the rebates on this vehicle.
  • shuedshued Posts: 107
    do go to rental company only, I think. Then, at next year, for value-based buyers, it only need $14000 for one-year rental return van. I believe, compared with new Base and SE trim Freestar, Dodge Grand caravan SE have much better value now. (You can get SE for $19,000 and Sport for $20,000). This also explain why it is so quiet on this topic. The only adv. of Freestar is its big torque at row end RPM. I don't think that Ford can sell more than 120,000 Freestar in 2004. At Sept. of 2004, Chrysler will have hiding third seats on its van.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Wow, they should have accelerated that plan by a year. I know the Chrysler vans are hurting without the fold flat seats. I didn't think of it as a big deal until I started minivan shopping. The fold flat seat really adds flexibilty to the vehicle. Much different looking at the Freestar, Quest and even MPV compared to the GC and T&C.

    Ford should have went to a simpler pricing plan. Put more bang for the buck in the individual models and offer fewer options. Much simpler for the consumer and dealer. Plus I bet it would make assembly at the factory much easier and lead to better reliability and fit and finish. And they need to get rid of that car expert as their spokesman. I'm not sure how convincing he is.
  • Fred, if you want a simple plan, look at Mercury Monterey pricing. There are 3 levels, which equate to cloth seats, leather seats or perforated leather seats. The two top lines have front and rear sensing (Freestar lacks front) and all of the air bags. The only options I see are the smoker's option, roof crossbars, traction control and self sealing tires. Everything else is top end.

    To make a comparison, if you let the Freestar models range from 1 to 5, (5 being best), the Mercury Monterey ranges from 4 - 5 1/2. Mercury's lowest line (Convenience) is about the same as Freestar SE. Monterey Luxury is the same as high end Freestar SEL and Mercury Premium is a bit over Freestar Limited, (no front sensing on the Freestar).

    If you have read my previous posts regarding Freestar and the problems we had with our SEL and the crummmy paint, we got the letter from Ford authorizing the exchange of the van. We have done a bunch of looking and we have found that the Monterey is a better package for us. We are trying to make the "hostage swap" soon.

    Good luck,
  • Glad to hear I'm not the only one confused and dissapointed by the Freestar pricing. Chrysler dealers are saying the 2005 van will have fold flat center and back seats and will be out as an early intro in January. Supposedly one of the two plants has been shut for retooling since October. They won't provide any info to the dealers so that they continue to sell the 2004 models. Assuming they meet this schedule, competition will really get stiff and you'll see pricing pressure on everyone. Already Honda dealers are actually talking price instead of just putting your name on the list. By March you'll see some some huge rebates from GM and I would expect the Freestar rebates to be at least $3500.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    RE Chrysler: I've seen conflicting reports. One by Allpar that states the 2004 willhave a short run and not be available after january 2004. You can't even order one now. The other report says there will be significant changes made to the Chrysler minivans as far as fold flat seat and engine modifications but not until August/September 2004.

    I think the Freestar rebates will reach $3500 before March. Nothing ground breaking with this vehicle and they will have a tough time convincing people that this is not just an upgraded Windstar.

    trainboy: Spending a minimum of $30k on a minivan with 2 young children is not an option which is why I thought the Freestar would be the best choice of the two. Pretty much we have one main requirements: 2nd row bucket seats. Everything else is negotiable.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Something I posted in Monterey Board that might help some here....

    The Freestar is positioned as the price leader, and will usually have various trim levels, to satisfy the majority of consumer's. The very base level one will serve businesses that maybe do NOT need fleet variety, but for personal business owner's that just need the plain basics. Then the Limited addresses those who want everything. For those who wants everything, with a touch of luxury, have the Monterey.

    As stated be someone earlier, you pick the equipment that suits you best, and compare them in the various price levels. You have versatility with options, something that isn't too often found on other brands. Honda for example, on their sedans... Have LX-V6, and EX-V6, if you want a sunroof, you must jump onto EX, BUT it has leather which some people might not like (like myself), so I've always found their method a bit annoying.

    This is mainly kept to reduce complexity upon the build, overall lowering costs overall. And majority of the time people will upgrade to the higher trim, to receive something they really want. It's typical human aspirations to do so. Ford will have much more leverage in their packages, and from 10 years ago levels, I would say it's much more simplified now, than it was back then.

    You can work this to your advantage. Awhile back I accompanied a friend on buying an Explorer. I gave the guy the list of what he wanted, in the color he wanted, and the price I wanted, and didn't give in. Seeing the computer in front of my face, they went thru the inventory lists of every such Explorer in the tri-county area. IN other words, IT DID NOT exsist with the options needed. SO the salesperson knowing that when I bring someone is, it's because they are VERY serious...

    So he got the closest match my list and the only difference was it had Side Airbags (that my friend did NOT care for one way or another), and yet gave it to us at the price I initially wrote down. So in other words, they thru in Side Airbags and still got the rock bottom price I was looking for.

    TIP: The only time THIS idea might backfire, is on certain incentives which have a.... " * Applies to vehicles found only on the dealer's lot" Therefore, you must pick something WITHIN that lot to qualify for certain incentives. But in my friends case, that wasn't the case.
  • Hey Fred, I understand the cost stuff. I have 3 kids in car seats. I am not sure what your need is for buckets in the second row. My '02 Windstar and our old '96 Windstar had bench seats. Car seats work fine. I put 2 seats in the back and one in the front.

    In checking the Ford website, you can add buckets to the SE model which is next to lowest cost if it is that necessary. This last weekend, the rebates were $2500 in Calif on the Freestar, which could get you out in the upper mid $20's, provided you didn't go on an option binge. If you don't need the safety canopy airbag, then look for an '03 Windstar and save even more.

    Good luck,
  • Hey Ant - Wander down to a Ford Dealer and ask them to order a Freestar with the same base equipment as a Honda Odyssey EX, Nissan SE, Toyota Sienna LE or Grand Caravan EX. Those are the most popular trim levels with the equipment most people want. Then take at look at the sticker price. If this is Ford's idea of simplifying things and being competitive then I'm sure glad I never tried to order one 10 years ago.
  • mrl11777mrl11777 Posts: 154
    why would one consider a new Freestar/Monterey/Caravan?etc? The detriot vans get absolutely whacked in depreciation, so one can pick up a low-mileage used one for many thousand$ less, and still with a factory warranty to boot.
    I just purchased an '02 Chry Town & Country Limited -- loaded with everything but AWD, with 15K on the odo, and paid $20k and change to a dealer. Found the original bill of sale from the first owner taped inside the manual -- he paid $36k.
    The perceived quality gap between the Americans and the Japanese brands works in the favor of one looking for used. I shopped the Sienna, and dealers were getting $25k for ones with much less equipment than in the T&C I ended up buying.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    The other interesting twist is that most dealers make more profit off the used car sales - check out the third letter:

    Letters to the Editors

    Steve, Host
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    But that's my point, those Odyssey's, Sienna's, etc. Do not have exactly the items I may want. I have a friend who just went minivan shopping (she ended up getting an SUV, figure that one out) and I test drove all those vehicles, as well as configured the packages for my friends needs.

    By far, the Sienna had THE WORST packages. Mostly costing over $3000K to get an item or 2, that wasn't available in a simpler model. OR requiring you to upgrade to a certain package, to be able to select. THEN try to find that in a dealership, and good luck. When all was said and done, it came out to $33K, oh and with hardly any discount. The only "discount" was that the guy is a friend of mine, and can work magic.

    The Oddysey is much more simpler, but my friend wanted some toys of the EX NOT available on the LX, but dislikes items that they push on you, on the EX. Hence, they want to upsell you.

    I believe the Freestar was a situation where she was able to get a midline model, add 3 common options, and that was about it. Now if you compare it to the Windstar of 7 years ago, I can tell you it's simpler now. I remember back then you didn't have all these trim levels, I believe it started out with 2, then grew as the years passed.

    For reference sake, we ended up at Mercury, looking into the Monterey, and she fell in love with the Mountaineer instead. Scary part, she WILL drive it as the vehicle is intended for, and so far she's hit 2 shopping karts out of the way, jumped a few concrete medians when traffic backed up, 1 garbage can that had rolled onto the street, crossed a grassy mudd filled turnpike median when traffic backed up, and made her own exit.

    Overall, she's having MUCH more fun with this vehicle, whereas before she saw herself buying a minivan for the "oh but I have kids, so it's expected" excuse.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    That's so true, Steve. A buddy of mine who started selling Hondas a year ago told me he makes $150!!!
    comission off a new Civic. Around $400 for a new Accord. Used? Sky's the limit. He averages around $600 comission on used cars, and made as much as $1000 on a few loaded used SUVs. Shocking when you first think about it, but it makes sense when you consider manufacturing costs and stuff.
  • kgnw1kgnw1 Posts: 94
    From Mark on another board that I can't mention here, "Ford is laying off workers and stopping production of the Freestar for one week. Toyota can't build Sienna's fast enough and Ford is much earlier in their launch and already over capacity. Enough said, here is the story." 021/BNStory/Business/
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Smoke alert...

    Toyota can't build the Sienna fast enough, because it doesn't have the capacity to do so, whereas Ford does.

    Ford isn't laying off worker's for this, when unit allocations get trimmed, they stop the factory (or remove shifts) and called temporary layoff... if worker's do not need to come into work, they are paid 96% of their usual wages (union contract). Unlike what "layoff" is in other business, which might mean a pink slip....

    Unfortunately for Ford, they had promised a 3rd shift for that same auto plant under the last round of union negotiations, and if the need isn't there, they end up paying these worker's for it anyways.

    Another reason I'm not fond of unions.... (rolling eyes)
  • 120 day supply on hand of a "new model"? I'm guessing this is just routine efficient use of resources. New Toyota and Nissan vans have limited availability. Apparently they actually plan their manufacturing capacity based on realistic sales goals and then add to it if the product takes off. They sure could learn a lot from Ford!!
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Ford produced a bunch of pre-released vehicles and (hold batch), to make sure they got the launch correct. Same with the F-150 which was produced months before it was released to iron out any issues. They didn't want a repeat Focus/Escape disaster recalling vehicles soon after release. When you produce quite a bunch of vehicles, then release, your bound to create the issue the report is describing.

    So far it's too early to tell how sales are going, and I don't expect them to be astronomical in any sense either. There will be much less fleet sales involved with this new redesign.

    Let's not forget (as I've followed up in the Aviator forum)... When a media report stated the Aviator was not selling well, and was going to be cancelled because of it...2 months after it's introduction. And later it was dismissed by Ford stating they had no plans to cancel the vehicle, and I've followed up with sales numbers each months to show sales met the initial forecast Ford had predicted.

    Therefore let's give it sometime till the fat lady sings... Then when she does, she might be waving a rebate check next to her white flag. :-)
  • Ant - Mean this in the most complimentary way. Bill Jr. definitely needs PR help and you seem able to put a good light on almost anything, even a disaster like the Freestar. Send them a resume with some of your posts, could be a good career move.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Freestar is a disaster? A bit too soon to declare it a disaster. Much less of a disaster than Honda's recent transmission problems.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    "Ant - Mean this in the most complimentary way. Bill Jr. definitely needs PR help and you seem able to put a good light on almost anything, even a disaster like the Freestar. Send them a resume with some of your posts, could be a good career move. "

    Awwww, thanks. But actually I have some major beef with Ford, BUT it pertains to other issues. In fact, I personally wouldn't do a Freestar, and would choose another vehicle as I've mentioned in other posts.

    But I try to be fair about how I deal with likes/dislikes and I try to present another view/thought (even if deep down inside, I'll agree with the original thought), just so someone sees/understands the situation.

    And sometimes trying to line up the facts, and contribute information that might help other's. Too quickly most are critical to downgrade domestic products because of their personal biasness.

    I myself (as stated earlier) would have prefered this Freestar program to take another venue, different drivetrain/platforms/etc. BUT there's numerous other factor's involved and I'm barely scratching the surface of what I would do.

    In fact, if there was a "What would I do with Ford" Thread, It would cover at least 300 pages worth. But in reality, at least for my needs, there's never a 100% perfect fit vehicle out there for myself, or for someone else. And as human beings, we usually aspire for more, and much better.
  • TSchrammTSchramm Posts: 106
    Calling the Freestar a "disaster" is a little hysterical. The reviews I've read seem to report it's just fine, and an improvement over the Windstar - just not a new milestone in the market-saturated minvan game, and Ford probably didn't do as much as it could have to take any new kind of leadership position.

    As an owner at various times of the Nissan Quest, Honda Odyssey and a Windstar, and living next door to someone whose 2004 Sienna blew it's transmisson at 2,500 miles, I think all these vans have their pros and cons.
  • For those of you still not paying attention, anytime an American car manufacturer makes a "competent" "improved" "competitive" run of the mill product, it is a disaster. Ford and GM continue to lose market share and profitability to the competition every time they come out with a Freestar, Ion, Aztec, etc...

    I grew up and still live in a big GM factory town. It saddens me and everyone else to watch the factory turn out obsolete Cavaliers day after day (Current rebate $4000). Until they decide to introduce every new vehicle as the class leader -which they are very capable of doing, things will only get worse.
  • No wonder Freestar sales are slow. Other than the fold flat seats, where is the innovation or "newness?" If Ford wanted to really redo Windstar, why not make more changes to outside design, maybe have 60/40 3rd bench like Toyota (YOU CAN BET HONDA's revised Odyssey in 05 will have it), maybe fold flat buckets like Dodge plans, or pricing better than what is out there. When i compared the vans out there, I saw no reason to buy the Freestar. It was priced similarly to Honda and TOyota and lacked some options Sienna had. Who really cares about that tailgate bench?? Why didn't they just keep the name Windstar and wait to change the name when they really have a new vehicle!
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Having test drove the Freestar, I wouldn't call it a disaster by any means. But I would say it is a disappointment esp. considering the money they are spending in advertising. One thing people didn't mention is how low the 2nd row seats are. I'm 6'4" and my knees were above my belly button when seated. Not very comfortabel for long trips. Plus I was not very impressed with the interior but things like that are subjective. Also the engine choices and gas mileage are a joke. 3.9 L which is really a leftover 3.8 and a 4.2L which is really a leftover from the F-150 closet.

    I have to agree with vulawgrad that there is not much innovation in this vehicle. Sales will pick up once Ford puts he $3k and $4k rebates on this vehicle so it is priced where it belongs, mid $20s as opposed to low $30s. Sort of reminds me of the 1995 Windstar re-design when Ford decided against putting a second sliding door on the driver's side. They would have been the first minivan with this feature. They didn't think people wanted this feature.
  • shuedshued Posts: 107
    That the second row seat is too low. Ford should copy Nissan design for second row flat seats. Even FreeStar has $3K or 4K rebate, it still have no price advantage, compared with similar equipments with Sienna, Oddy, Quest, and Dodge EX, except they try to provide both 3K/4K cash rebate AND zero financing.
  • On a recent posting I asked the following :
      (I'm not calling this a defect(yet) but my message center is not monitoring my oil system. My dealer is aware of this and checking with Ford. It may be simply enabling it. Would anyone out there no what the problem might be)

    Since then the factory suggested they replace the instrument cluster, which the message center is a part of. That was done, to no avail, it didn't correct it.
    To day I hear that what was printed in the owners manual was in error. my answer to that was, That wasn't except able as it was part of my 2000 Windstar and besides, I feel it's the most important function of the monitering center.
    Can I have some input as to my problem
  • shuedshued Posts: 107
    AS I mention before, Freestar is me-too only. See those pictures of 2005 Chrysler's vans. Why Ford never win on minivan market with Chrysler???
  • TSchrammTSchramm Posts: 106
    Saw pictures of the '05 T&C yesterday. Doesn't look all that different than the '04. Also, the engines choice are same as'04. Yawn. 2nd row seats will fold flat. In order to get do that, they will likely need to be thinner and provide less support. If you need to fold the 2nd row seats flat very often, might as well buy a cargo van.
  • Most, if not all, fold flat third row seats are terribly uncomfortable. This is likely a result of the compromises needed to incorporate the fold flat feature. The second row buckets in the Freestar (while a little short) appear to be more substantial and more comfortable than the DC chairs. I could be wrong, of course, being that I haven't sat in the DC vans yet, but that's the way it looks.
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