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
#675 of 918 I bought a new Minivan last week
Jan 31, 2005 (6:55 pm)
The time had come, as out 1996 Windstar began losing power and I did not want to shell out any more $$ to fix it. As you know from my previous posts, I had been looking at new minivans for 3+ months in preparation for this moment. I had narrowed it down to the Freestar/Monterey, Sienna, and Odyssey.
I previously ruled out GM (no side curtain or side impact air bags) the Quest (poor initial quality in 2004 model and one had to get leather seats to get the front side airbags), DC (no front side air bags available, and power sliding doors needed for side curtains).
I had 3 main requirements: 1) rear AC, 2) bucket seats (not a bench seat) in the 2nd row, and 3) side curtain and front side air bags. This left only Ford, Toyota, and Honda.
The base model CE from Toyota did not offer the air bag options, So the next model up (LE), with an option package had an MSRP 27K ... likely could be had for 25K. Honda's 2005 base model (LX) had all 3 features, and MSRP of 25.5K, likely could be had for 23K. Ford offered the Freestar SES (had to add side curtain and rear bucket seats options) at MSRP of 30.5K. After test driving a left over 2004 Ford (built in Jan 2004) that had 20 miles on it, I was told I could have it for the mid 18's as I walked away. I suspect it could be had for 17.5K. This price includes 7K in rebates (6K + 1K FMC).
We drove the Ford 15 miles. It drove OK and my Wife was interested (though she was hesitant about buying another Ford). The engine was loud and rough (I swear there was a loose part on it in the parking lot). There was a piece of trim loose on the bottom of the steering column. Otherwise the big drawback of the Ford is how low the 3rd row seat sits. It reminds me of a jump seat or rumble seat (in other words, something that was meant to be used twice a year).
Then we were off to the Honda dealer, and we both thought it was a big step up from the Ford, both in terms of power, handling, and styling. At this point we ruled out Toyota ($2K more) but I talked my wife into driving the Mercury (twin of the Ford) next since I had seen ads that the mid trim level Monterey could be had for $20K (MSRP $34K). The base model (MSRP 30K) did not offer the airbags. We drove a Mercury that had leather and power everything and heated seats. But it did not ride and drive as well or as quietly as the base model Honda.
I never tried to get a final price on the Mercury but I told the manager that I was looking at under 20K. I had been to the same dealer 3 months earlier and they still had the same seven 2004 Monterey's on the lot!
We ended up buying the 2005 Honda base model (LX). Sure there is no power doors/seats and no leather, but the rear seat is "full size" and also had 60/40 split Vs no split for the Ford. The engine has 255 HP vs 200 for the Ford, and better gas mileage too. The design of the interior on the Honda is a notch above the Ford. It is clear that Ford designed the Freestar on a budget (old engine, only a partial interior re-design).
Who should buy the Ford? If you have small children (none over the age of 7 when you buy it) then the Ford could be the price leader. There is no reason you can't get a leftover 2004 Ford for $15K or $16K (S or SE model) or 17.5K (SES). But no teenager or adult could ride in the back for more than 15 minutes (knees in the chin). The Freestar line is priced 5K too high (MSRP wise) and even then it is still over priced.
Who should buy the Mercury? I suspect no one. At the higher price, the Toyota and Honda out class it, and Mercury is no longer known for minivans. I predict Mercury will drop the minivan before Ford does, simply due to being a low volume model in an already low volume name plate.
Good luck to all!
#676 of 918 4.2L Pinging
Feb 14, 2005 (3:25 pm)
I have a 2004 Freestar SEL with the 4.2 V-6. The van currently has about 5000 miles on it. Over the past month I've noticed a light to moderate pinging under moderate to heavy acceleration. The temps right now are only in the 20s and 30s and I'm concerned that it will get worse as the temp warms up. I'm currently using 87 octane gas. Has anyone else had any pinging problems with their Freestar?
Feb 21, 2005 (10:59 pm)
"There is no reason you can't get a leftover 2004 Ford for $15K or $16K (S or SE model) or 17.5K (SES). "
Very informative post. Can you enlighten me on how you arrived at these prices. They're lower than invoice-minus-rebates. BTW, can one do better than invoice-minus-rebates on the 05's? I know there's the hold back, but how does the dealership make money if they gave you that?
Feb 22, 2005 (4:00 pm)
I'm glad you asked about the pricing I gave.
The 17.5K for the SES was my estimate of what I could get the SES for that was offered to me at "mid 18's" while I was standing in the parking lot. I did not try to get the best price since I was not planning to buy. The S and SE pricing are estimates of what these lower trim models should sell for (in my opinion) given the SES pricing. In retrospect, the pricing on each 2004 trim model would depend on how many were leftover in your area, and your negotiating strategy.
I have no info on 2005 pricing. I think very few are being built given the glut of 2004s.
In visits to 4 dealers I never saw a 2004 that was built later than March 2004 ... did they shut down the factory for 5 months? And every 2005 I saw was built in Sept 2004.
Feb 23, 2005 (2:01 pm)
We looked at the Freestar a while ago, but didn't notice what year model they were. But the sales person seemed very eager to deal. Price is the most important factor for us now.
#680 of 918 RE: 2004 Pricing
Feb 23, 2005 (4:59 pm)
In our area, 2004s are going for the mid to upper teens. Our 2004 SEL listed for over $31K, but purchased for just over $18K. Some dealers are still advertising 2004s.
We had started looking at 2002-2003 Grand Caravans, but needed the quad seating. When we found one, the dealer wouldn't go below $17K. So, a 2004 Freestar for just over $1K more, seemed like a decent deal. The Freestar is not without it faults, but for the price we can overlook them. Now, if I was buying a 2005, the price difference between the competition isn't that large. In that case, we would probably be driving a Grand Caravan or Odessey.
Feb 23, 2005 (5:34 pm)
Wow, that doesn sound like a terrific deal. Any chance the 2004s will still be around this summer?
#682 of 918 RE: 2004 Pricing
Feb 24, 2005 (4:44 am)
I doubt that there will be many (if any) 2004s left by summer. I would think that the choices would be getting pretty limited by now. If you have to wait, wait until fall and pick up a left over 2005. They should be more heavily discounted then.
#683 of 918 Will they redesign sooner?
Feb 24, 2005 (9:47 pm)
I wonder if Ford will rush themselves to redesign the new minivan, after the big disappointment with the Freestar.
#684 of 918 Their Eyes Are Watching God
Feb 24, 2005 (10:06 pm)
Nope, but the replacement will be a bit "different". More like, the Freestar will hang on a bit, after the "vehicle" that replaces it, debuts. Look for it around 2007-2008.