Last post on Nov 05, 2013 at 4:27 PM
You are in the Ford Freestar
What is this discussion about?
Ford Freestar, Mercury Monterey, Van
#1 of 922 Upcoming 04 Ford Freestar
Apr 28, 2003 (6:29 am)
Am I the first one to open this discussion?...
So what do you say? Will the new Freestar be competitive or not? With no AWD offered, and just a 200 hp engine (or 201 upgraded) and 4-speed tranny, will it be a winner? Please post your opinion.
Apr 28, 2003 (11:09 am)
My wife and I need to replace her 96 Windstar. We drove the '04 Sienna, it was nice, but the trim seemed cheesey. We are both 6 feet tall and we didn't get the Odyssey of the lot due to poor front leg room.
We will wait for the Freestar. We want the side curtain airbag and folding 3 row seat. The current 3.8/200hp is adequate for California freeways. The rest is old hat, but we know what to expect. I have had an '00, '02 and '03 Windstar as a company van and they are fine for our use.
#3 of 922 Sure why not...
May 03, 2003 (3:52 am)
AWD version of the Chrysler minivans, really dont make up that much of it's overall sales, I believe it's 10-15% overall. Ford believes such customers would rather buy an SUV for AWD, rather than the Freestar. Plus the platform which the Freestar rides on, wasnt originally engineered to handle AWD, so having to retrofit it at this stage of the game (new P2 platform next generation) would cost quite a bit of money.
Look for an increased version of the current 3.8L, which will be the 3.9L V6 making 200HP and probably around 240-245TQ. There WILL be an optional 4.2L (a bored out version of the 3.9L) making 201HP and 265TQ, most torque in it's class. This latter engine will be the sole standard engine for the Mercury twin, the Monterrey.
So far, Ford has stated it has concentrated on NVH and interior materials, so look for a very classy interior. Same designer J.Mays, is credited for the interior quality and design, which he was responsible for VW's interiors, which are deemed one of the finest in the industry.
Also, power liftgate, tumble and dissapear 3rd row seating, safety airbag canopy system protecting the sides in events of a rollover, will debut. Talk about safety overkill !!
So far from the pics Ford have shown, the interior is quite elegant, while the exterior seems a bit more refined and elegant overall. If you want to avoid the Freestar version, Mercury's clone will look equally elegant and most of the higher end options would be standard on the Mercury version.
Overall I do think it'll do well, even though there's increased competition from the new Sienna and Quest.
#4 of 922 Right, but...
May 05, 2003 (9:00 pm)
Do you really think that 201 HP engine will beat the competitors which offer 230-240 hp? Do you think that the additional 20 lb-ft of torque will beat the extra 40 hp of other models? And it's really big, 4.2L, which is a sign of fuel loving, while the imported models are just 3.3/3.5L, and much more refined?
And just a 4-speed tranny while others have 5-speed?
And others have more room, too. Some, (Odyssey & Quest) offers independent suspension.
So we got to wait and see.
May 06, 2003 (9:46 am)
I'm just giving you the information, and how it has improved from one generation to another. Personally if I would be in the market for a Minivan (which I definatly won't ever be) I would choose the new Sienna. It copied all the best attributes from the Windstar, MPV, Oddysey, etc. and incorporated it in a bigger package. OR if I must stay with the Ford line, I would pick the Freestyle, and have a Cross-over situation to contend with. I wouldn't choose the Freestar/Monterey twins.
Surely, the engine upgrades give it a bit more power. But the vehicle WILL gain a bit of weight from the added improvements. So performance wise it'll be the same.
But this isn't a segment that most buyers will worry about performance. Most drivers will only notice the power, while passing a vehicle at most. So torque would be a priority, over HP. I agree power is important in any vehicle.
Most of consumers that will purchase this vehicle, have 2 brats strapped to the back seat, toys are flying everywhere, they are probably on a cell phone while driving... Do we REALLY want them to have that much power??
Ironically from the survey conducted "Customer clinics", performance was not on the top of the list that minivan owners described/asked for. It was comfort, 2nd place was "toys".
Sidenote: Fuel efficiency speaking. Some of those other engines you mentioned, require Preimium or Midgrade fuel, while the Freestar requires regular. So the EPA numbers might be 1 or 2 off here and there, it'll pretty much equal the same gas bill at the end of the year.
I dont believe EPA numbers much. From my experiences, I've been able to make a Civic drink 18MPG, while making a Mark8 drink 25MPG-28MPG Highway. Now with my LS, I should be lucky even hitting 12MPG CTY, 18MPG HWY. My bestfriend has an Oddysey, and she drives very much like I do. And when she's frustrated, she's been able to get 10-11MPG. So just depends on the persons foot. EPA numbers should be used as an example to compare, but not an exact science.
May 06, 2003 (2:06 pm)
ANT, is 3.8L still blowing head gasket ? I mean why Ford didn't drop it yet with all that new modular engines available ?
May 06, 2003 (7:29 pm)
Nope, the head gasket issue was resolved already, I believe it dealt with the 3.8L built between 94-98 (I forgot the specifics), after that it was rectified. Extended warranties were given out, etc.
The reason Ford had to continue with this engine for the Freestar/Monterey, is mainly because the quantity and output needed, is readily available at the EEP-Essex Engine Plant. All other engine plants that produce the modular engines, are busy enough as it is, than to have Ford ask them to output 300,000 more engine units. So at this time, the proper plants are being upgraded to allow for great engine outputs. A slow phase-in, from one engine to another is what works best, with a graduate re-tool of the factor.
Example: Ford-"Hmm the new 2004 F-150 is too porky to continue using the 4.2L OHV V-6, what are we to do being there's 60,000 units of those engines being made"...."Hey!! lets make it an optional engine on the Freestar, standard on Monterey, and that way we can get rid of those units!!" That was the thinking.
And re-tooling a factory from one engine to another (at least in that engine) takes quite a bit of money. With the other engine families, such as the Duratec's and Modular V8's, their factories respectivly are able to switch from one displacement easily. So if they needed more output of the 5.4L, over the 4.6L, then it's easily done.
Personally (just my thinking here), I WOULD have preffered to see the 4.0L SOHC V-6 from the Explorer have been used. 210HP and 240TQ. is the closest power match available. But it's costlier to produce, and the retro-fit of that unit into a FWD transaxle would have cost more development money.
The 3.0L DOHC Duratec V6 wouldn't be sufficient for the load and weight of this vehicle, which is why the Mazda MPV does better with it.
So till the 3.5L Cyclone V-6 doesnt debut, (still a year and some away), the current Essex engines will continue to be used. But their time is coming up soon....
#8 of 922 Dash Center Stack
May 10, 2003 (3:28 am)
I have had a 95GL, 99SE and presently a 00SEL. One thing my wife noticed from the pictures is the center stack is NOT angled toward the driver which she likes and I must say is a nice way to go. Bur overall it is a good looking interior. 200HP is enough, especially with the tourqe numbers. We are staying away from anything that requires high test. My wife had a Probe GT that required high test and after awhile putting in gas at $1.75 (it did get up to about $2.00 here on the east coast) per gallon got to be real old. At 26 gallons in the star that is a lot of money. Right now gas is about 1.42 at my Costco and even at that price 20 gallons is $30. However, I have been able to get the average MPG up to 21.7 according to the computer. I bought it used and it was a 18 MPG. The person must has had a really heavy foot. But I guess the proof will be in the driving.
#9 of 922 GreyHounds...
May 10, 2003 (7:47 pm)
I also noticed the same as your wife... Center dash will be flat. The current Windstar is a slightly more comfortable, but on the other hand, it's not so comfy for the front passenger.
I personally would prefer the way Toyota & Honda are doing, which is a slanted dash (am I saying it right? English is my second language...) Just look in any of Toyota/Lexus - Honda/Acura model and you will understand. It makes everything much more reachable and gives you easier access to most controls. Neither of the Domestic companies make it this way.
May 10, 2003 (10:58 pm)
Ah yes, I remember I once started a post, pertaining to center canted dashboard consoles, and driver canted center consoles. Needless to say, I'm sure no one read it....
I prefer driver oriented center consoles. I'm the driver, I'm in command. Front passengers play with anything on the dhasboard, I whack them. The information is for ME, not them. Back in the 90's, this was common in many vehicles for that same reason.... The driver is in control. One that I enjoyed the most was from a 98 Mark8 I had. It was one of the most driver canted center consoles I've seen. Probe was up there as well as the Aurora.
In comes late 90's, 2000. Navigation system are becoming more common. Some drivers prefer the passenger to enter all the information, and play with the Navi system, as they driver. Giving them a break. If a driver canted center console were implemented, it would be a bit harder for that passenger to utilize it comfortably.
Hence, you will be seeing many of those center canted type of consoles. Makes it much easier for either front seat occupant to deal with the controls. Now pertaining to the Oddysey and new Sienna consoles, I believe they are slanted a bit TOO upwards. I've already had a chance to play with both of their layout, and found it very uncomfortable. I'm one that rest my fingers at the bottom of the radio, while one finger goes thru all the stations. And having my arm held up there while searching thru all stations, is quite annoying as well as tiring.
J.Mays (former designer for VW/Audi) is designing many of the upcoming Ford interiors in that same way. It's very eelegantly neutral, fine touches thru-out, as well as a very symetrical type of button layout. Much more ergonomically correct. And the actions, and touch of the buttons will be a atep up from what we are currently used to with current Fords.