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Ford Freestar/Mercury Monterey
Last post on Nov 28, 2012 at 9:41 AM
You are in the Ford Freestar
What is this discussion about?
Ford Freestar, Mercury Monterey, Van
#54 of 918 Owner's manual by ANT
Aug 01, 2003 (1:24 pm)
Thanks for the link. I've downloaded the .pdf file (about 15 minutes on my 56K modem). I'm enjoying so much of reading information about the upcoming Freestar.
There is a lot to like about the new Freestar over the current Windstar. However, there are many things I don't like, many things which I hoped so much to see an upgrade in the new Freestar, and many things which are even better on the Windstar. And let me explain a few of them.
What I like about the new Freestar:
Many new storage bins all over the vehicle, dual map pockets on each front door; on dashboard top; bottle holders, and more. Overhead console w/compass & outside temperature, as most other minivans have (in the Windstar it's on the message center, viewable for the driver only). Puddle lamps (if equipped). Revised engine, transmission, suspension & steering will give better feel, ride & handling, and reduce the noise (NVH). Steering-wheel audio controls. When Cruise is engaged an icon will appear like most other cars. And of course, the disappearing 3rd row seat, and good overall quality. And bigger 4-wheel disc brakes w/panic assist available. DVD entertainment system instead of the VHS system.
What I will miss from my Windstar:
The new Freestars dashboard really sucks IMHO. I hate everything, from gauges to controls of the climate & audio systems to the steering wheel & the steering-wheel-mounted controls. Although I guess those controls will be illuminated, a good thing over the Windstar, Ford changed the first time the cruise controls from the way it used to be for years, on the 2 sides of the steering wheel. Now it will have 3 tiny controls on 1 side only. The Windstar's gauges, in my opinion, was just beautiful, as I wrote somewhere else in Town hall. Large bright typefaces, evenly and clean designed speedo-tacho meter, and the high-beam icon in center of these 2. In the Freestar this icon is placed in the middle of the tachometer. So many icons all over in no order. This is not neat. Only one LCD for both, message center & odometer, while the Windstar has 2 extra on both sides of the gauges, so nice.
Also we will miss the separate controls of the rear quarter windows which is located on the drivers door in the Windstar, Instead it will have a single switch to control both rear windows simultaneously (as in GM minivans, which brought a lot of criticism in the auto media).
I also hate the analog clock, which should make a car 'luxury'... especially while they have no numbers on it, just dots instead of numbers. So if you want to know the time at-a-glance, you have no choice. It will take you at-lease 2-3 seconds to realize the time. Since this is offered only on the Limited model (and on Mercury Monterey), I guess if I'll go with Freestar I will not take the Limited.
Things which I hoped to see a change, but unfortunately will not change:
Overhead lamps in the front seats is placed behind the first-row seats in the Windstar, so it's hard to turn them on or off, especially while driving. No other minivan has this stupid design, nor Ford themselves have this design on their other vehicles. I was sure they will change it in the Freestar, but nope... they will not.
Better & bigger controls for the audio systems. In 'consumer guide' it says Windstar Audio controls are too busy. In consumer reports (at the Town car report, few months ago) also says that the audio controls (close to the one in the Windstar) is not smart designed, and has too many similar flat buttons.
Still no storage drawer under the front passenger seat; No wiper de-icer (now on Chrysler/Dodge, Kia, Toyota minivans, although I think Chrysler stopped to make them on '03 models); No DVD navigation system; Simple sound system w/6 speakers, while most other offers 8-9-10 speaker systems w/subwoofer. No driver's side outside auto dimming mirror. No rear-seat panel armrests, as Toyota, Honda, Chrysler/Dodge; Power seats are still 6-way, not 8-way, as most other have. Front passenger seat can't fold flat as the new Sienna; And of course we will not get power roll-down sliding door windows; AWD; Split rear folding seat; 2nd row seats folds down (new Nissan Quest), and just 201 hp with the updated 4.2L engine, and just a 4-speed transmission, not a 5-speed as Honda, Toyota, Kia, Mazda. No independent rear suspension. +++
I hope Ford is reading this. I'm not the best writer (English is NOT my primary language), but they will get the idea. It's a long post, but contains a lot of information. As you all know, a new minivan from Ford is due in 2006 or 2007, built on the Mazda6 platform. I hope 'til then, when Honda & GM and perhaps Chrysler will be out with a new minivan, Ford will combine all features together and build a wonderful minivan.
#55 of 918 engines
Aug 01, 2003 (2:49 pm)
Is the new Freestar 3.9 and 4.2 engines just bored or stroked versions of the 3.8 ?
Aug 01, 2003 (4:51 pm)
Yes, basically, they are the same Essex engine as the 3.8L.
Aug 01, 2003 (5:47 pm)
I agree about the clock on the dashboard, but it's mainly there as a focal point, decorate touch, more than functional. There's much attention being paid to the interior materials, fit and finish, and overall quality. And you will notice a balanced look in the way the items are arranged on the dashboard. Which is where the clock came in.
It's funny you mention the Instrument panel icons. I was mentioning that to a friend of mine, considering that her vehicle has some icons spread through-out the speedometer/tachometer as well (Saturn L300). What's worse, in her vehicle they stand out, because the lighted cut-outs are very visible at any time. You would think with all that corners on the IP's, they would have sectioned them specifically in a few sections, or have a row of them towards the bottom of the IP (remember older Volvo's). But there's reasons for this arrangement, and one of them has to do with studies of visual awareness and such.
The Taurus' IP is also being modified quite a bit as well for 2004, and loses some of those "icon corners" as well But this is an item that isn't a "make or break" deal for me. NOW RED intrumentation WOULD be, for me a, deal breaker.
There's only so much that was re-engineered for the Freestar, it's benefit is that it's Taurus based, and is using exsisting current Ford items/techonology, etc. Although being overhauled, the main aspects of the vehicle has stayed intact. So development/research money is saved in that case, and spent elsewhere (improved materials, structure, engines). This will buy time till the Mazda6 based minivan debuts in 3 years. Which will feature much of what the competition currently has. Unfortunatly this is a case where Ford is a bit late to the party (remember the 4th driver's rear passenger door-late to the party as well), now it's with the foldable 3rd row seats.
But it's a much more improved vehicle overall, and attention to reliability, quality, NVH was worked on.
#58 of 918 Does anyone know the pricing for new freestar
Aug 05, 2003 (8:32 pm)
Does anyone know the pricing for the new freestar? We are looking for a new minivan with the the third row side curtain airbags. From the media ford link , it seems like we will have to get a bunch of options in order to have the side airbags... does anyone know where I could find a price for the new freestar with those options? Thanks!!!
Aug 05, 2003 (11:03 pm)
Pricing has not yet been released. When so, I'll post a link to it.
#60 of 918 If you want pricing, ....
Aug 06, 2003 (9:36 pm)
Hannah, you can get pricing if you can bluff you way into the "commercial" or leasing part of your Ford dealer. I work for GE and they have a buying agreement for employees, does your employer have the same thing (ask your HR person)? My dealer said he could give me a price now and gave me all of the ordering stuff, just no color brochures.
You can also look at it this way, it won't be less expensive than 2003, but would probably not be more than 10%-15% +/- over 2003 with the same stuff.
#61 of 918 Reliability, Quality, etc.
Aug 10, 2003 (1:57 am)
Ford announced that the new Freestar will be the most quality minivan from Ford (?). Here is a copy of their words:
"In the past few years, Ford has steadily improved the quality and refinement of its minivans through changes in design and manufacturing - and a fanatical attention to detail. Quality has already been improved by more than 20 percent, according to independent analysis, over previous model Ford minivans. For 2004, Ford has taken quality and refinement to a higher level with the all-new Freestar."
What do you think? Has quality really been improved? Looking at this site I'm surprised that many people are satisfied with their Windstar's:
The Aerostar had a long lasting powertrain. We have in our business 3 Aerostars, '93 & '95 models. 2 are in the 190K range, and most things are fine (one of them has no A/C), and another one, has 209,000 miles! and still runs great, with ice-cold A/C. If the new Freestar will be the best Ford minivan, it should at least last this long
The above link is for year 2003 models. but the year 2002 models, although not that good, is also much better than expected:
I hope Ford learned a lesson, and will build good quality vehicles once for all!
Aug 10, 2003 (12:35 pm)
Well, I had the Aerostar from hell, I guess. After having the heads removed and re-milled, and about everything on the car leaking oil, my wife gratefully totalled it, and I was delighted. It was an 87.
#63 of 918 Aerostar?
Aug 10, 2003 (8:18 pm)
Well, I also owned a '92 Aerostar which was very bad, but refused to dye even it had a lot of mileage and abuse. In Consumer Reports is rates the Aerostar for average reliability, and I think the same for satisfaction.
Well, Windstar was the worst for both, reliability and satisfaction, both earned a fully black circle, which means very bad. But in 2003 Windstars, they reported just a 1/2 circle black for satisfaction, which is slightly better.
So I hope that the new Freestar should have AT LEAST average reliability & satisfaction.