Ford Freestyle What Would You Change?

otis12otis12 Member Posts: 171
edited March 2014 in Ford
I'm ready to buy a Freestyle as soon as the new 3.5 V-6 and 6-speed tranny replaces current the 3.0/CVT combo. Hopefully, this happens in the middle of the '07 model year. When it does, I am ready to buy. I love the cargo versatility, especially the fold-down front passenger seat and overall interior. Other than the engine/tranny, there is nothing that I would change. Never thought I'd buy a domestic model again but the Freestyle has changed my mind.


  • passat_2002passat_2002 Member Posts: 468
    Anything is possible these days... but the general consensus is that the 3.5/6-spd. combo won't appear in the Freebie until the '08 model year. The good news is that the '08 model year Freestyle may be out as early as February/March of next year. Let's hope Ford and it's dealers actually feel like telling the public about it this time.
  • otis12otis12 Member Posts: 171
    I agree that better ad support is another change that Ford should make. I just looked thru the Sunday auto section of my newspaper -- 26 pages of display ads for new cars and not one Ford dealer features the Freestyle in its ad! Unbelievable. Crossover vehicles are a hot segment right now as people look for utility with better gas mileage and not word one from Ford dealers about the Freestyle!!! UNBELIEVABLE.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Member Posts: 468
    My dealer sells Mazda CX-7s and they are parked near the Freestyle. Soon the Edge will arrive. The Freestyles will be glued to the lot. We like our FWD a lot, but are a bit concerned about the death of the CVT at Ford and future service. Also, in an area which does not need AWD, every Freestyle on the lot is AWD and quite expensive loaded up with everything, and not selling. Ford and the dealer are both stupid.
  • saabturboidsaabturboid Member Posts: 178
    The Freestyle is a fantastic vehicle which suits our family's needs just about perfectly but there is always room for improvement. My preference would be to engineer the vehicle for optimum fuel economy. Ford has gone somewhat this direction with the CVT (I wish they weren't dropping it), but they could go further. The venerable 3.0 Duratec V6 isn't the most thrifty engine in the world.

    Ford could drop a four-cylinder turbo motor and increase the fuel economy without sacrificing power. This is the direction Mazda has gone with the CX-7. Ford could also install a turbo diesel from one of their European offerings. In either case, this vehicle with a fuel efficient power plant and CVT transmission (or my preference a manual transmission) could get in the mid 30's to even near 40 mpg on the highway. This would blow away any other vehicle on the road from a utility/fuel economy standpoint.... but alas Ford is dropping the CVT. Let's hope they get the rest of it right. No more fuel hungry gas V-6es!

    - Chad
  • freealfasfreealfas Member Posts: 652
    I'm thinking when I saw 33mpg at sane(65-70) highway speeds on a run back from a north burb of Chicago as backing up our decision to got with our '05. Other than wishing I did more highway miles on the car to help it's mpg numbers it has been the perfect family hauler.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Member Posts: 468
    A four cylinder turbo often gets poorer mileage than a good v-6, makes more noise, and may be subject to more wear. Ford is dropping the CVT because it is too expensive, less usable with new powertrains unlike the new GM/Ford 6-speed. Also, the Chicago plant which produces the 500, Montego, Freestyle is on the list of plants that will shut down for periods during the last quarter of 2006. A clear indication of sales and inventory problems with those vehicles.
  • saabturboidsaabturboid Member Posts: 178
    bruneau1 states: "A four cylinder turbo often gets poorer mileage than a good v-6, makes more noise, and may be subject to more wear."

    I disagree. I have been driving 4-cyl turbos for years and they are a fantastic combination of power and economy. My turbo fours have all been Saabs, but then again Europe has often lead the US in the economy/power realm. When Americans want more power they tend to throw more cylinders at the problem which adds weight and decreases economy. Even with displacement on demand' you are still hauling around 30% extra engine weight.

    Your comment about longevity is way off the mark. I personally have over 170,000 trouble free miles on my turbo 4-cyl '97 Saab. I know others who have 2 or 3 hundred thousand miles on theirs. Longevity is based on the quality of the engine and proper maintenance, not the number of cylinders.

    The amount of noise an engine makes varies from engine to engine and is not determined by the number of cylinders. In fact, the argument can be made that the more cylinders there are the more noise is made. Ultimately the amount of noise is determined by the design of the exhaust system.

    Some complain about a 4cyl not being as smooth as a 6. This may be true, but modern balance shaft 4-cyl engines are very smooth. The only place a high displacement engine is really necessary is when doing heavy towing, and how many of us tow over 5,000lbs every day?

    Some Americans are catching on and I predict the 244hp turbo 4-cyl Mazda CX-7 will be a hit.

    - Chad
  • rwolsonnrwolsonn Member Posts: 4
    I too am waiting for the next freestyle. I thought about trading my Explorer for the current Freestyle, but news stating Ford's terminating CVT production suggests I wait. I thought about the Edge or Mazda CX-7, but I transport kayaks and love sun roofs. Note, you can't get factory roof racks with a sun roof on the Edge; bummer!
  • otis12otis12 Member Posts: 171
    I want to see the forward folding front passenger seat have a hard back surface, like several GM products have. The current soft-sided surface rips easily if carrying some elongated objects. As to the CX-7, style is always a matter of personal taste. I prefer the more upright lines of the Freestyle and hope it retains its current shape. The CX-7 sacrifices interior room and cargo versatility for a lower center of gravity and better handing. As to style, it's a matter of personal choice. I also prefer the 3.5 V6, which uses regular gas, to a turbo 4 that likely would require premium.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Member Posts: 468
    A four cylinder turbo gets more of a workout than the average V-6 and it usually operating at higher rpms which also means more potential wear, unless one drives really slow. Also, most turbos require premium fuel which i consider an irresponsible requirement in today's market.
  • stmssstmss Member Posts: 206
    Sorry - I need to jump in.

    I have 143,000 km on my 5cyl volvo turbo. My 01 4cyl Saab had 100,000 when I sold it - although, not considered high mileage but no problems - both run on regular gas. Both these engines are quieter than the Freestyle when into the throttle (maybe its the packaging)

    I don't know much about the longevity of volvo turbos but the Saab 4 cyl lifespan is legendary.

    Part of the argument for turbos is the max torque is 1000-2500 rpm range - where you need it. So you rarely need to go high rpm.

    I just did 1600km summer trip with the volvo wagon - 5 people, 5 bikes, cargo carrier through the mountains - 100 to 120 kph never over 3000 rpm. It was fun watching all those 6cyl SUVs try to pass you on the hills (with passing lanes) and you end up back overtaking them as they can't sustain the speed up the steep hills.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Member Posts: 877
    Put some Volkswagen engines in a Freestyle and there could be something special. Volk's turbo diesel 4-cylinder or their VR6 15-degree V-angle 6-cylinder would be great in a Freestyle. Keep the CVT, or, if not, put a Volks 6-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (automatic) in there for greatness. The 3.0L Ford V6 is actually not bad, and quite efficient.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Member Posts: 877
    Run, do not walk, to your Ford dealer for a new Freestyle with the CVT while you can get it. Thats a great, smoothe tranny. Very efficient with gas, teamed up to the low-internal-friction aluminum V6. (I am not associated with a Ford dealer, just an engineer who knows Ford has a great thing.) However, past posts on this site have a point that low-displacement engines may be slightly better, as Volkswagen has a 1.4L (less than half the Freestyle's engine) with BOTH a supercharger and turbocharger that is about as efficient as a diesel, so that super/turbo combo might be the future.
  • curtisc63curtisc63 Member Posts: 10
    I love my Freestyle. It does everything I need it to do, almost. Things I would have liked to have seen:

    1. Wider back hatch so you could transport a sheet of drywall or plywood. THe interior space is wide enough but the hatch is not.

    2. The back hatch glass being able to open independently of the hatch, like the Escape.

    3. Better visibility. Is it me or does there seem to be big plastic pieces everywhere I need to see? My Windstar was great for visibility. I have had the Freestyle for about 14 months and am still not sure what is around or behind me when backing up or changing lanes - regardless of how I position my seat and mirrors. After dinging my neighbors car backing out of my driveway, I widh I had gotten the back up warning...I guess I will get used to it.

    That is it. It is an admirable replacement to my 96 Windstar that I had zero problems with. I was leary of the CVT but have grown to understand it and use it effectively for both power and mileage. This is a great undiscovered car that Ford should do everyting in its power to promote, IMO.

  • coldcrankercoldcranker Member Posts: 877
    "...replacement to my 96 Windstar.."

    My '05 Freestyle SE FWD replaced a '95 Windstar. I miss the open cargo area when the seats were removed in the Windstar. However, the Freestyle gets better gas mileage and is almost as big. The Windstar was much maligned, but it was very practical and comfortable. The CVT in the Freestyle always knows where the best RPM is, unlike other automatic trannies that can only approximate it.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Member Posts: 468
    I would make 225/65/17 tires standard, get rid of the glare in the windshield from the top of the dash, put a contrasting more decorative material on the door rocker panels, make the dash displays brighter, get rid of the hood prop, provide a full power passenger seat, and of course, put in the 3.5. Unfortunately, none of this will happen since the Freestyle will probably be gone after 2008.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Member Posts: 877
    Replying to the previous post: Mercury may get the Freestyle in '08, changing it slightly.
  • mschmalmschmal Member Posts: 1,757
    Don't be surprised to see the Freestyle move up market when the "Fairlane" people mover comes out. Possibly as a Mercury although that plan was reportedly shelved.

    The "Fairlane" may also come out in a seperate Lincoln version.

  • coldcrankercoldcranker Member Posts: 877
    Actually, now I remember ANT14 in the Ford Edge forum saying the Freestyle is coming back in '08. It looks promising. If you do a search on ANT14 in all Ford Edge forums, then you'll hear from an insider at Ford.
  • deaconbluzdeaconbluz Member Posts: 3
    I had a Taurus wagon with the 3 liter engine and a 4 speed tranny and it was not lacking. With the Freestyle I would decrease the noise levels like they have have on the 08 Escape and add better brakes.I know they are already adding the 3.5 liter engine which will be great if it doesn't hurt mpg.
    While we're at it they could also decrease the noise a little in the Cro.wn vic and give it the mustang engine with the six speed tranny from the Five Hundred and you would have a great rear wheel drive car
    And how about building the mercury messenger as a luxury model based on the mustang platform with the 3.5 liter engine. Then you would have the 4 liter v-6 and V8 mustangs with the 3.5 liter V-6 Mercury messenger that could be a refined version of the mustang.
  • otis12otis12 Member Posts: 171
    So any word if Ford is gonna revise anything on the '08 Freestyle? Or are the rumors true that the Freestyle will be discontinued at the end of the '07 model year?
  • otis12otis12 Member Posts: 171
    Just read today's Detroit Auto Show coverage on several web sites. Saw the redesigned for '08 Ford Focus and 500. But no Freestyle! Maybe it is the end for the Freestyle after this year?
  • tom_holsingertom_holsinger Member Posts: 58
    I'd ditch the Freestyle if I was calling the shots at Ford. They desperately have to reduce their line, A LOT, and low-selling vehicles like the Freestyle are the ones to cut. It would require too large an investment to restore the Freestyle's market credibility relative to the potential return.

    There just isn't enough of a market for big safe family vehicles with lots of cargo capacity. Family sizes do not justify it simply for demographic reasons.
  • passat_2002passat_2002 Member Posts: 468
    If the MY2009 Explorer goes "car-based" as it is supposed to.. it gets harder and harder to see a future for the Freebie. The planned Fairlane would further squeeze things. Perhaps it will live on as a Mercury.
  • stmssstmss Member Posts: 206
    Meanwhile, competitors are all racing to the market with their own similar crossovers ;)
  • tom_holsingertom_holsinger Member Posts: 58
    How much leg room do those similar crossovers' third-row seats have, and how much cargo room with the rear seat folded down?

    I did a side-by-side comparison in December 2005 on those two points between a dealer's demo Freestyle and my next-door neighbor's brand new Toyota Highlander, which the Freestyle won. Those were critical issues for me with three children in college.

    How many families have three or more children these days?

    While the Highlander was a better vehicle overall as well as being more comfortable, the Freestyle was acceptable on every point save leg-room and cargo volume where it was clearly far superior. And much less expensive.

    So I bought a new 2006 Freestyle instead of a new 2006 Highlander.

    What is the potential market here, in terms of potential return on investment, and how much will Ford have to invest in the Freestyle to successfully compete in that market?

    It comes down to three-children families and Ford having to down-size dramatically to survive. The Freestyle is a good vehicle and I wish it would survive.

    A whole lot of Ford lines must be terminated in the next three years for Ford's family ownership to retain control.
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    Right now GM is coming out with 3 crossovers like the Freestyle, Mazda has the CX-9, and there are a couple of other manufacturers that are coming out with crossovers just like the Freestyle, so I don't think now is the time to ditch the Freestyle. If anything, now is the time to advertise it and ride the wave of the other crossovers.
  • passat_2002passat_2002 Member Posts: 468
    Advertise it? Now that's a novel idea. Gosh. I wonder if anybody at Ford Motor Company ever considered trying that? Nahhh... Gotta protect Explorer sales.
  • stmssstmss Member Posts: 206
    I have a Freestyle for the same reasons. I believe Ford is ahead of the curve on this package and concept and not behind it like in the past. I am certainly no auto marketing expert but I see these type of vehicles replacing the mini van.

    If Ford had not produced this vehicle, I would not be driving a Ford. I have no interest in their truck alternatives (or their competitor truck alternatives). I have three kids who have mostly grown up in a Volvo wagon and sedans and felt I needed something a bit bigger. If Volvo made a bigger wagon I probably would be driving that.

    I think Ford needs to give the Freestyle some more time and exposure and maybe some fine tuning. I think they can sell this car to wider range of customers than just those with 3 or more kids.

    If Ford needs to terminate some lines, they need to decide who their customer is and focus on that. If canning the Freestyle is the result of this, I will be looking elsewhere when my lease expires. Maybe another Ford owned manufacturer (ie Volvo) maybe not.
  • snowombatsnowombat Member Posts: 3
    I just got my 2007 AWD Limited 3 months ago. I love it, but if I could recommend changes:
    -Make the hood/nose a bid shorter
    -Remove the glare in the windshield
    -Make the second row seats recline more
    -Make the climate control system a bit simpler to use
    -Put an engine a bit more powerful
    -Put a motorized device to open and close the rear hatch
    -Improve the noise insulation/reduction
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    I'd like to see the bench be able to slide forward a couple of inches. Even though the 3rd row legroom isn't bad, if the 2nd row slid forward a little that would make it even more roomy, plus the 2nd row legroom is huge, so losing a couple of inches there for the sake of the 3rd row passengers would be worth it.

    Also, I think they could have configured the 3rd row to make it a couple of inches wider to make it a possible to put three kids back there. Right now it's more than wide enough for 2 adults, but if there was a way to have a center seatbelt that could be tucked away when not needed that would be nice too.
  • thomas23thomas23 Member Posts: 5
    I am currently driving a 2001 Impala with 149,900 miles, great car but starting to show its age and I am just waiting for more power in the Freestyle. I have a 19 month old with another on the way and I want cargo space and from all of my research the Freestyle has the best combo. We test drove one for my wife but she didn't like it so we bought her a used Landcruiser for the cargo space. I was very disappointed with the appearance of the fold third row seats during the test. They don't appear to fold flat like other cars and I don't understand why that is. With all of that, I am hoping that Ford will come out with the 3.5 liter option. If they do that, I am probably buying one. If not, I will probably go the mini-van route, Odyssey or Sienna.
  • thomas23thomas23 Member Posts: 5
    How about a 3rd row forward facing bench seat? That would address the flat cargo area problem and allow for 3 kids with seatbelts back there.
  • mschmalmschmal Member Posts: 1,757
    I think you had an incompatent sales person. All the third rows in Freestyles on my lot fold flat. The second row fold flat also and the top half of the center console in the second row flips so that it is level with the seat backs.

  • carstenbcarstenb Member Posts: 37
    ...that's not flat enough?


    and it's so easy to fold them, even my 8 year old can do it ;) many Ford sales people really don't know much about the Freestyle and seem to be not interested to sell them. 30 minutes on the internet and you know all you need to know...

    i really don't think that the Freestyle needs more power. i am usually riding a motorcylce with plenty of power but never missed power in the Freestyle if you use it for what it is intended to be used. the smooth CVT may make it feel a bit underpowered but it easily can keep up with the rest of the traffic.

  • stmssstmss Member Posts: 206
    Maybe the sales person was showing another configuration. One where the 3rd row backrest can be folded down (but not into the floor) allowing storage both in the floor well and on the top of the folded down seat. The other configuration is the full flat fold into the floor.

    Anyway the seat configuration is quite versatile and the fold down passenger allows some long items to be carried.
  • thomas23thomas23 Member Posts: 5
    Yes, that looks much flatter than I remember from back in 2005. It appears to have tons of cargo capacity, more than any other car that I am interested in. Thanks
  • mmccloskeymmccloskey Member Posts: 168
    The 2008 Freestyle would have the 2nd row windows tinted to match the rear windows. I know you can have them done at a local aftermarket shop, but I would prefer OEM tint which is not subject to scratching. Also, a remote open/close rear hatch, tilt & telescoping steering wheel (Edge has this) and nicer interior materials. Too bad the 2008 FS won't have the CVT - it is so smooth under all driving situations. It will be hard to move to a vehicle with a conventional tranny unless it is as seamlessly smooth as the CVT in the FS.

    From what I've read, the revised 2008 FS is to debut at the Chicago Auto Show next month. Changes should be similar to those recently introduced on the 2008 Five Hundred.

    Regards -

    M. J. McCloskey
  • tom_holsingertom_holsinger Member Posts: 58
    The first thing I'd change about the Freestyle would be the manufacturer. Ford doesn't know how to market it, which is why such a good (and particularly a safe) vehicle is dying in the marketplace.
  • mschmalmschmal Member Posts: 1,757


    PS Hold judgment on the new 6 speed until you drive it, It will definitely impress you.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Member Posts: 877
    thomas23, Remember the extra power will rob gas mileage, as already demonstrated in the current Edge with the same engine/tranny that the '08 Freestyle is getting. Personally, I pick better MPG and am satisfied with my Freestyle's 8.5 second 0-60 MPH time, enough acceleration, and I get 23 to 28 MPG in mixed driving. Also, the current Duratec 3.0L V6 is proven in durability.
  • thomas23thomas23 Member Posts: 5
    I would prefer the better gas mileage too. Did I read that correctly, is the CVT being replaced by the 6 speed in 2008?
  • mschmalmschmal Member Posts: 1,757
    Ford blew it on the CVT and that factory is schedule to close.

    Ford failed to get the cost down enough to make the CVT viable.

  • passat_2002passat_2002 Member Posts: 468
    It not a simple as saying that Ford failed to get the cost of making the CVT down. The Euro has simply gone wild against the Dollar in the last couple of years. If I'm not mistaken, the stainless steel belt as well as a few other parts were/are being imported from Deutschland.

    By all accounts.. the new 6-spd is so good that not many will miss the efficiency of the CVT much.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Member Posts: 877
    The CVT will only be sold on '05, '06, and '07 Freestyles and some Ford500s and Montegos. I have an '05 Freestyle with the CVT and love it. That being said, the 6-speed has so many gears that it can find a near-optimal gear ratio, so that's not a bad change. Other things to change in the Freestyle?: Maybe keep refining the noise isolation. Its already as quiet as most other cars, but more of that is better for the future. More bolder styling would help as well, without sacrificing the space-efficient box shape appreciably. And, going with the new 3.5L engine with no choice is not good, since some people want more MPG, not more power. Watch the MPG drop with the new engine, and dependence on foreign oil go up....
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Member Posts: 1,106
    That being said, the 6-speed has so many gears that it can find a near-optimal gear ratio, so that's not a bad change

    Depending on how it's programmed. If it "jumps" from 6 down to 3 when you accelerate, without ever hitting 5 and 4 along the way (or doing so with "gaps" between the shifts), that will feel a LOT different than how the CVT is shifting.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 18,243
    i've been watching the b-j auction and old woody wagons are getting some exposure. how about a woody option for the freestyle? :surprise:
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 91 Mustang GT vert
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Member Posts: 877
    barnstormer, Remember the 6-speed automatic in the current Ford500 beats the CVT in MPG. Thats an Aisin-brand automatic, but the new GM/Ford 6-speed automatic is similar, as it even enables the big, heavy GMC Acadia to get 26 MPG highway with a 275 hp engine. Therefore, a good 6-speed is actually slightly more efficient than our CVT. Smoothness is very close to "great", approaching the CVT in that department, so overall, a change to a 6-speed won't hurt a bit.

    A revolutionary change would be for the Freestyle to change to the drivetrain found in the Chevy Volt from the Detroit Auto show. Then we'd get a 600 mile range out of the Freestyle and 70 MPG!
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Member Posts: 1,106
    I know it's more efficient than the CVT . . however, I'll have to "try it to believe it" to see if it's really as smooth.

    Seems to me that when I smash on the gas in 6th gear, it's gonna hesitate and JUMP down to third . . and won't bother going into 5th then then 4th and then 3rd, which is what I'd think it would take to be as close to the CVT in smoothness as you can get.

    Too bad I can't test drive one at the Houston Auto Show in a week or two. :blush:
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    If you look at the Outlook/Acadia forum or read reports, the 6 speed auto being used by GM (and I believe it was a Ford/GM joint venture) is having problems, so if that's the same transmission coming to the Freestyle, I wouldn't want it.
This discussion has been closed.