front-wheel-drive Windstar has done blown itself out, but only in name. Now, it
is known as Freestar, while it is joined by a Mercury twin, the Monterey. As with
the Ford Explorer/ Mercury Mountaineer SUVs, the Ford is expected to mainstream
families while the Mercury version targets more upscale families.
go along with its new name comes a much-needed exterior freshening for the Freestar.
It's not radically different, but it now looks more in line with the corporate
Ford look. The Mercury version dresses the architecture up a bit with its de rigueur
satin metal trim pieces and Mercury-specific paint and wheel treatments.
are also notable improvements inside. A new dash panel has been revised to incorporate
new controls, instruments, additional storage areas and a measurable dose of quality.
In Monterey, heated and cooled front seats add a dose of Lincoln-style luxury
to an already dressy interior. The second-row buckets seats fold and tumble with
a one-handed pull-handy when lugging groceries or kids.
outgoing Windstar offered a comprehensive safety roster, and the Freestar and
Monterey build upon that with an optional Safety Canopy system that includes side
curtain air bag protection for all three rows of passengers in the event of a
side impact or a rollover. Additionally, the front passenger air bag incorporates
an occupant classification system that sizes up its passenger and deactivates
the air bag if it determines that he or she could be injured if deployed.
revised 3.9-liter V-6 engine in the Windstar-I mean Freestar-produces 200 hp and
an impressive 240 lb-ft of torque. A new 4.2-liter V-6, which is standard on Monterey
and optional on Freestar, makes 201 hp and a class-leading 265 lb-ft of torque.
Low-end response is impressive with both engines while noise levels are admirably
will you wish upon a Freestar or head out to Monterey? Either way, you can't go
wrong with these excellent new vans.