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2004 Ford Freestar Van

4dr S

Starting at | Starting at 17 MPG City - 23 MPG Highway

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  • $23,915 original MSRP
Printable Version

2004 Ford Freestar Van

Printable Version

2004 Ford Freestar Van


2004 Ford Freestar

Source: New Car Test Drive

Base Price (MSRP) - $23,775
As Tested (MSRP) - $36,485


Freestar is the new name for Ford's minivan. It previously was the Windstar, but Ford marketers claim the minivan was so radically changed that it warranted a new name. However, the Freestar is really a Windstar, albeit a much improved one.

The improvements move the Ford Freestar closer to par with its prime competitors, the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, but do not leapfrog it ahead of them.

Ford also renamed the Freestar to fit into its new naming structure. Ford's car-like vehicles start with the letter F: Focus, the upcoming Freestyle crossover vehicle and the Futura sedan. Sport-utilities will start with an E: Explorer, Expedition, Escape.

On the road, the new Ford Freestar is smooth and quiet. It glides over rough pavement, it offers responsive handling and the availability of a big V6. The Freestar's best feature is its interior ambience, an elegant cabin trimmed in high-quality materials. A clever third row that disappears into the floor, a cargo well behind the third row to contain groceries, and lots of interior storage add convenience.


Model Lineup

Ford has revamped its minivan line to five models: the base Freestar S; the mid-level SE and SES, expected to be the most popular; and the up-level SEL and Limited, which are designed to compete with the luxury Chrysler Town & Country.

The Freestar S ($23,775), likely to represent only about 10 percent of all Freestar sales, comes standard with a new 3.9-liter V6 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, 16-inch wheels and tires, air conditioning, power windows, locks and mirrors, remote keyless entry, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution and a third-row seat that folds into the floor or turns backward to form a tailgate bench seat. The entry-level price for Freestar is $705 more than a comparable 2003 Windstar.

The SE ($26,245) adds: remote keyless entry system; cruise control; roof rack; privacy glass; and an AM/FM stereo with CD player. The SE is nearly equivalent to the 2003 Windstar LX but is priced $70 less.

The Freestar SES ($28,065) includes all the SE equipment plus air conditioning with tri-zone temperature control, driving lamps, power driver's seat, five-spoke aluminum sport wheels, and a unique grille, bumpers and trim treatment. Freestar SES is nearly equivalent to the 2003 Windstar LX Deluxe but is priced $195 more.

The Freestar SEL ($29,310) includes many SES features plus a 4.2-liter V6 engine, first- and second-row bucket seats, keyless entry keypad, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with built-in audio controls, cornering lamps, an overhead console with a compass and outside temperature display and an AM/FM stereo with cassette, CD player and rear seat audio controls. The Freestar SEL is priced $80 higher than a 2003 Windstar SE.

The top-of-the-line Limited ($32,945) includes all SEL equipment plus power sliding rear passenger doors, electronic automatic climate control, power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, unique interior trim, including leather seating surfaces, two-tone exterior treatment and power heated signal mirrors with puddle lamps. The Freestar Limited is priced $1,880 less than a 2003 Windstar Limited.

Prices listed do not include incentives that were included as soon as the vehicles were launched. Initially, Ford was offering customers the choice of $1,000 in cash or financing rates as low as 2.9 percent for 60 months. Those incentives could fluctuate through the year, however.

Available individual options include: a DVD rear-seat entertainment system with wireless headphones ($1,395); and a six-disc CD changer ($150). Options for late-2004 models include a power liftgate and a Class II towing package ($335) that will boost the towing capacity from 2,000 pounds to 3,500 pounds. A Memory Package is available that includes adjustable pedals and a memory system for the driver's seat, pedals and exterior mirrors.

Safety features include dual front airbags and standard anti-lock brakes on all versions of the Freestar. Ford's optional Safety Canopy ($695) curtain airbag system runs the length of the minivan on both sides and includes sensors that monitor a rollover. If a rollover is detected, the air bags deploy from the headliner and stay inflated for up to six seconds and can protect the heads of occupants in all three rows. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags for the front passengers complement the Safety Canopy.

While the Freestar has not yet been crash tested by the federal government, Ford anticipates it to perform well as did the Windstar. The Windstar had two top five-star ratings for front passengers and two four-star ratings for rear passengers.

Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) come standard on all Freestars. Other active safety features available include Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control ($395), Panic Brake Assist, and a Reverse Sensing System that detects objects behind the vehicle when backing up. Self-sealing tires ($280) and turn-signal indicators on the outside mirrors are also available.

Freestar only comes in front-wheel drive; it is not available with all-wheel drive. Also, no navigation system is available nor is a flip-up table between the front seats, like on the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, offered.



The Ford Freestar barely looks any different from the Windstar. It is based on the Windstar and, in fact, the only exterior parts that are new are the hood, grille and headlamps, front fenders and rear liftgate.

The Freestar sticks with a traditional, mainstream minivan styling formula, which generally has been more popular than radically different ones, at least until this summer's introduction of the dramatically designed Nissan Quest.

One distinguishing feature of the Freestar is an odd one. The front side windows lower below the inside portion of the door trim so when the window is fully down, the sill protrudes up. Designers say it was done to create an armrest of a comfortable height.

A power liftgate will be offered on the Freestar late in the model year.


2004 Ford Freestar
2004 Ford Freestar

Interior Features

The Freestar's interior is trimmed in high-quality materials. It looks elegant, with a delicate watch-like clock in the center dashboard as its focal point. The Freestar is a beneficiary of the increased spending Ford Motor Co. has been putting into interiors. The Freestar interior represents a dramatic upgrade over the Windstar interior.

The Freestar seats seven passengers: two in front, two in the second row and three in the third row. The second row comes standard with a bench seat. Captain's chairs, standard on the SEL and Limited, slide horizontally on rails. They also fold and tumble forward like those on the Ford Explorer and Expedition for easy access to the third row or extra cargo space.

While the Windstar had a bulky removable third-row seat, the Freestar has a third-row seat that folds into a well behind the seat, creating a flat floor like that in the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, and Nissan Quest. Ford's fold-flat seat may well be best in class in terms of operation. By pulling straps numbered in sequence with numbers 1, 2 and 3 clearly noted, the seat drops easily into the wheel.

Another plus is that Ford designed third-row head restraints that push deeper into the seat so they don't require removal to fold the seat, as other minivans do. The third-row seat can be dropped backwards to create seating for tailgate parties.

With the third-row seat in place for passengers, the well behind it has about 25 cubic feet of cargo space, an extremely handy spot for groceries. No more melons rolling about. The cargo volume expands to 135 cubic feet when the third-row seat is folded and second-row seats are removed (possible but clumsy for one person).

The downside of Ford's third-row seat, however, is its short height compared with the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. As a result, even people with relatively normal length legs will feel like their knees sit too high. The seats works fine for small children.

Seat comfort throughout the Freestar, as was the case with the Windstar, is not exceptional. The second-row captain's chairs seems too narrow. The driver's seat also seems designed for a slim person.

Storage space is abundant throughout the Freestar. It includes bins in the rear sliding doors for books and toys. Front doors have double map pockets, one above the other. On the dash is a covered storage compartment for small items like cell phones. The drivers' seat on the Limited model has a kangaroo pouch at the front of the cushion.

The Freestar has numerous cupholders, including front door holders for 20-ounce bottles. Some of the beverage holders, particularly those in the far back are awkwardly positioned, however. Well positioned and well built are sturdy cupholders that fold down from the sides of the second-row captain's chairs. If kicked, as they likely will be, they snap back into storage against the seats.


Driving Impressions

Beneath the Ford Freestar's mildly revised skin is the same front-wheel-drive architecture used for the Windstar. But many improvements have been made.

Two engines are available. The standard 3.9-liter V6 generates 193 horsepower and 245 lbs.-ft. of torque. Optional is a 4.2-liter V6 that delivers 201 horsepower and 263 lbs.-ft of torque. Neither engine matches the horsepower of the new Nissan Quest, rated at 240 horsepower, nor the redesigned Toyota Sienna at 230 horsepower. Torque is competitive, however. (Torque is that force that propels you from intersections and up steep grades, so torque is important.) Freestar's 4.2-liter V6 is the largest displacement for a minivan and is likely the best choice for highway cruising, passing on freeways and towing.

The automatic transmission shifts smoothly. All Freestars come with a four-speed automatic transmission. Ford claims consumer research showed minivan buyers didn't care whether their automatic is a four-speed or five-speed, which other manufacturers offer, as long as the shifts were smooth.

The Freestar is extremely quiet. It's on par with the new Toyota Sienna. The only exception is that the engine roars a tad too loudly and truck-like under hard acceleration.

The Freestar's ride is smooth. It glided over the rough pavement of Michigan's Interstate 94. Steering is much more responsive than the Windstar.



While the Freestar is much improved from the Windstar, it doesn't feature much innovation above and beyond its competitors. Still it is a solid performer and former Windstar owners will appreciate the improvements.


Model Line Overview

Base Price (MSRP) $23,775
As Tested (MSRP) $36,485

Model lineup: Ford Freestar S ($24,460); SE ($26,245); SES ($28,065); SEL ($28,065); Limited ($32,945)
Engines: 4.2-liter V6
Transmissions: 4-speed automatic
Safety equipment (Standard): dual-stage front airbags, anti-lock brakes, 3-point safety belts for all seven seating positions
Safety equipment (Optional): Safety Canopy side curtain airbag with side airbags, AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, traction control, adjustable pedals, panic brake assist, reverse sensing system
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in: Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Ford Freestar Limited ($36,485)
Standard equipment: 4.2-liter V6 engine; four-speed automatic transmission; automatic climate control; power driver's seat, windows, locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry and keyless entry keypad; four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution; cruise control; roof rack; privacy glass; five-spoke aluminum sport wheels; second-row captain's chairs; leather upholstery and leather-wrapped steering wheel with built-in audio controls; cornering lamps; overhead console with a compass and outside temperature display; AM/FM stereo with cassette, CD player and rear seat audio controls; power sliding rear doors; power heated signal mirrors with puddle lamps
Options as tested: Active Safety Package II ($750) includes AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, traction control, panic brake assist and reverse sensing system; Memory Package ($305) includes adjustable pedals and memory system for driver's seat, pedals and exterior mirrors; DVD rear-seat entertainment with wireless remote ($1,395); Safety Canopy side air curtain with rollover sensor plus front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags ($695); 6-disc CD changer ($150); Value Group III ($240) includes Homelink transmitter for garage doors and perimeter anti-theft system; deluxe roof rack ($95); power front passenger seat ($305); floor console ($150); 17-inch aluminum wheels ($245); heated front seats ($245)
Destination charge: 685
Gas Guzzler Tax: N/A
Layout: front-wheel drive
Engine (Optional): 3.9-liter 12-valve V6; 4.2-liter 12-valve V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 201 @ 4250
Torque(lb.-ft. @ rpm): 263 @ 3650
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 16/22 mpg
Transmission (Optional): 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 120.8 in.
Length/width/height: 201.0/76.6/68.8 in.
Track, f/r: 64.3/62.8 in.
Turning circle: 39.5 ft.
Seating capacity: 7
Head/hip/leg room, f: 38.8/58.7/49.7 in.
Head/hip/leg room, r: 38.1/48.1/32.7 in.
Cargo volume: 134.3 cu. ft.
Payload N/A
Suspension F: independent MacPherson strut with coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension R: semi-independent twist beam, coil springs, shock absorbers, integrated torsion and Panhard rod
Ground Clearance: N/A
Curb weight: 4275 Lbs.
Towing capacity: 2000 Lbs.
Tires: P235/55R17
Brakes, f/r: disc/disc w ABS and Brake Assist
Fuel capacity: 26 gal.

Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of 22/Sep/2003.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-392-FORD - www.fordvehicles.com

Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive

Printable Version

2004 Ford Freestar Van

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade

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Passenger Crash Grade

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Rollover Resistance

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Side Impact Crash Test - Front

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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear

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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Opt
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Opt
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Opt
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std

Accident Prevention

Rear Parking Aid Opt


Alarm Opt
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2004 Ford Freestar Van

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance 3 Years/36,000 Miles

Ford Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Manufacturer's 7 years / 100,000 miles Powertrain Limited Warranty from original in-service date. 12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Limited Warranty. See dealer for details.. See dealer for details. Rental Reimbursement $30/day.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 model years or newer / less than 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 172
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2004 Ford Freestar Van

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