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2005 Ford Freestyle Wagon Crossover

4dr Wgn Limited AWD

Starting at | Starting at 19 MPG City - 24 MPG Highway

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  • $30,440 original MSRP
Printable Version

2005 Ford Freestyle Wagon Crossover

Printable Version

2005 Ford Freestyle Wagon Crossover

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2005 Ford Freestyle

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

Station wagons were once mainstream suburbia. So were minivans. In time, it seems, everything cycles out of favor. And if history is prologue, this fate will ultimately befall sport-utility vehicles. But people still need to haul themselves, their families and friends and their stuff around. And even the roomiest sedan with a multi-golf bag-sized trunk can't do it all.

Into this breech slides the latest iteration of the do-everything vehicle, the so-called crossover. Not quite a wagon, not quite a minivan, not quite an SUV, not quite anything that's come before, the crossover tries to combine the best features from all of these. Some succeed better than others, and into this class falls the all-new 2005 Ford Freestyle.

In the Freestyle, Ford has combined space-conscious and people-friendly packaging and a new-tech powertrain offering performance and efficiency. Three rows of seats yield either six or seven adult passenger capacity, and a unique-for-the-class, continuously variable transmission eases engine load and smoothes the drive. All-wheel drive is available for owners who want all-weather capability.

Critics may say the Freestyle is simply the station wagon version of the new Ford Five Hundred sedan. And in many ways, they're right. Yet many have found the Freestyle inexplicably offers a better driving experience than the Five Hundred, and it's certainly more practical.

The Freestyle is well worth a look for shoppers tired of the everyday vehicle, yet also tired of climbing up into and jumping down out of today's SUVs, and willing to explore something new and slightly different.

Model Lineup

Ford Freestyle comes in three trim levels, SE, SEL and Limited. All have the same 3.0-liter V6 engine rated at 203 horsepower. All are equipped with a Continuously Variable Transmission, or CVT.

The SE ($24,945) comes with features not normally expected in a base model. These include a six-way power driver's seat, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and traction control, all on top of the usual air conditioning; power windows, outside mirrors and central locking; and AM/FM/CD stereo.

All-wheel drive ($1,700) is optional on the SE. Other options: a Safety and Security package with front seat side airbags and full-coverage side air curtains plus anti-theft alarm and exterior convenience lighting ($795); a Convenience package with automatic headlamps, dual-zone automatic climate control with outside temperature display ($295): an auxiliary rear-seat climate control ($595): a middle-seat floor console ($95); and no-charge substitution of a three-passenger middle bench seat in place of the standard bucket seats that seat two.

The SEL ($26,345) adds a six-disc in-dash CD changer with MP3 capability; auto headlamps; heated and folding outside mirrors; electrochromic rearview mirror; leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel with audio controls; programmable, three-frequency remote garage door opener; the exterior convenience lighting; extra sound insulation; fog lamps; and sundry exterior trim enhancements, including bright aluminum wheels in lieu of the SE's painted wheels. Options for the SEL: leather seating ($795); a Comfort package with eight-way driver and four-way passenger power seats and dual-zone automatic climate control and outside temperature display ($495); a DVD-based entertainment system, including two wireless headphones and wireless remote ($995); power moonroof ($895); reverse sensing system ($250); and a split-fold third row seat ($115). Some of the SE options are available, including the Safety and Security package ($695).

The Limited ($28,545) includes many of the SEL's options plus an upgraded sound system with subwoofer, memory settings for driver's seat and outside mirrors, heated front seats, two-way adjustable second row seats, woodgrain dash trim, cargo net and 18-inch bright aluminum wheels. Options besides those available on the SE and SEL are a programmable, three-frequency remote opener system ($115) and adjustable pedals with memory ($175).

Walkaround

The Freestyle presented Ford's designers with a challenge: how to make something that looked like neither a station wagon nor a minivan but promised the best of both. To a large extent, they succeeded, but, and no surprise, not without some compromise.

Built on the same platform and incorporating much of the mechanicals of the new Ford Five Hundred, the Freestyle nevertheless looks more like the Ford Escape compact SUV than the car. From all angles, there are more of the Escape's styling cues than any of the car's cues, from the unadorned and somewhat upright front end to the fender blisters, tall side glass and hefty C-pillar to the liftgate and heavily bumpered tail end. Thus, there's virtually nothing to make a shopper think "station wagon," at least not initially.

Parked next to the Five Hundred, however, similarities abound. The wheelbase is identical. (Wheelbase is the distance between the front and rear wheels.) Lengthwise, the Freestyle is actually an inch shorter than the Five Hundred. Only in height is there a marked difference, where the Freestyle is about five inches taller, more than an inch of which is a result of the Freestyle's added ground clearance. Is it, then, merely a tall station wagon?

Comparing the Freestyle with its demi-namesake, the Freestar minivan, the compromises become apparent. In overall length the Freestar is barely two inches longer, but it's nearly four inches taller and its wheelbase stretches almost another eight inches (accommodating those convenient sliding side doors). These added inches endow the Freestar with a maximum 130.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity, versus the Freestyle's 86.5 cubic feet. All of which says it's not a minivan.

Against the Escape, however, the Freestyle measures up quite well. It's almost two feet longer, with a 10-inch longer wheelbase. And the Escape is barely an inch and a half taller. Inside, the Freestyle offers fully 20 cubic feet of additional cargo space. And though less than an inch shorter in wheelbase than the Explorer, the Freestyle is more than an inch longer overall. The Explorer is, like the Freestar, taller, by some four inches, which helps explain why the Freestyle's seating position is 5.5 inches lower than the Explorer's.

With the Freestyle, then, the stylists' compromises seem to have worked. While it's none of the above, it's some of the above, and some of the best of the above, at that.

Interior Features

Fitting three rows of seats in a package the size of the Freestyle required some compromises, but the good outweighs the bad.

The front seats are decently bolstered, with adequate thigh support. The lower back and rear bottom portions didn't support well, though, on a multi-hour, afternoon drive from Milwaukee along primarily rural roads down the western shore of Lake Michigan to Chicago.

Second- and third-row seats tend more toward utilitarian than coddling, with mostly flat seat bottoms and backs, even the second-row buckets. Otherwise, people room is quite respectable, especially with the twin buckets in the second row. With the second-row bench alternative, the center seat bottom and back cushions are above grade and with even less lateral support relative to the outboard seats. Ford says the third-row seat was designed to comfortably accommodate a 6'1" male, but in reality, occupants of that stature will find their legs quite a bit more articulated and their knees closer to their chests than elsewhere in the Freestyle's cabin. Headroom back there is commendable, though, thanks to a roofline that's several inches higher over the rear seats than at the windshield, a styling feat deftly masked by the angular C-pillar and roof rack.

 

The Freestyle offers great versatility with split-folding third-row seats, an available 60/40 second-row bench seat and a fold-flat front passenger seatback; the last allows hauling objects up to 10 feet long, like a surf board or a ladder, depending on the weekend's activities.

Storage is plentiful, including as many as a dozen cup holders, map pockets on all four doors and rear quarter panels, magazine pouches on the back side of the front seatbacks, a deep area behind the third row of seats (which the seats occupy when collapsed, so this is for occasional use), the usual center console and a modest glove box. And there's the ever-popular sunglasses holder incorporated into the overhead console. That overhead unit also houses the "conversation mirror" (a.k.a., the kid spy glass), although this combo feature gets displaced by the optional moonroof. Second- and third-row seats get reading lights.

The dash design is quiet and uncluttered, assembled from few bits and pieces, promising minimal squeaks and rattles as the Freestyle ages. Framed by the steering wheel are large, round, easy-to-scan, white-on-black (the Limited gets black-on-white) tachometer (sans redline, a result of Ford's ever-diligent cost cutting) and speedometer, between which are the fuel and engine water temperature gauges and, on the SEL and Limited, the digital informational display, all beneath a hood shading them from mid-day glare. At the far ends of the dash are two round air conditioning registers, identical to two atop the center stack; sadly, although all four look as if they rotate in their receptacles, they don't, adjusting only side-to-side and up-and-down, and only the two outboard registers close completely. To the left of the steering column are the headlight and dash light controls, and when ordered the rocker switch for the adjustable pedals. The high-beam, turn indicator and windshield/backlight wiper/washer levers sprout from the left and right side of the column, respectively.

At finger-tip level in the center stack is the stereo control head, for the most part ergonomic, except for the tuning function, which requires either enduring an interminable scan/seek process or depressing one or the other end of a smallish bar until the desired station is reached. Beneath this is a delightfully legible and manageable climate control panel, and below that are switches for the emergency hazard flasher and, when ordered, the traction control; a receptacle that can be converted to an ash tray if necessary; and one of three power points (another is in the center console, the lip of which is notched to allow a power cord to pass beneath the latched cover, the other in the c

Driving Impressions

Driving a car with a continuously variable transmission, or CVT, takes some getting used to. There are no shifts, no gear changes, up or down. Instead, the driver steps on the gas, the engine speeds up and the car begins to move. The engine then commonly maintains about the same, seemingly elevated rpm while the car accelerates to the desired speed, at which point the driver eases off the gas to let the engine slow to where the car keeps moving at that speed. Of course, as elevations change and traffic ebbs and flows, the car's speed changes, as does the engine's, but not always consistently or to the same degree, and definitely not as expected with a traditional automatic.

All shiftlessness aside, the goal of a CVT is to allow the engine to spend as much of its operating time as possible in an rpm range that maintains optimum fuel efficiency and generates minimum emissions. Only the smog cops can attest to emissions levels, but as for efficiency as measured by usable power and fuel economy, the Freestyle's package delivers. Compared to the Chrysler Pacifica AWD, roughly comparable in power although slightly less commodious and 500 pounds heavier, the all-wheel drive Freestyle gets up to speed with a smidgen more spirit, say by about a second or so from 0 to 60 mph. In fuel economy, though, the Freestyle easily prevails, by 2 miles per gallon in both city and highway estimates by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the EPA gives the front-wheel-drive Freestyle an estimated 20/27 City/Highway mpg.

Rapid acceleration generates torque steer, a side-to-side tugging of the steering wheel. This occurs not only in the front-wheel-drive Freestyle, which is not uncommon, but also in the all-wheel-drive variation, which is unusual, or at least should be. Passing is necessarily somewhat more relaxed with a CVT, as there's no immediate kickdown to a lower, more aggressive gear.

Some wind noise leaks in around the side windows at freeway speeds, and there's a noticeable susceptibility to cross winds, which is no surprise given the Freestyle's uprightness. Commendably, though, the Freestyle's wide stance gives it reassuring stability around high speed curves and on winding roads. (Freestyle's front track is a fraction of an inch wider than the Freestar's and its rear track more than two inches wider.) Also, there's little of the body lean and occupant head toss associated with SUVs.

Braking is solid, although not entirely linear. The steering returns good on-center feel and turn-in is responsive. A nice touch is the subdued, wood-like, turn indicator click/click sound apparently borrowed from Jaguar. But even with the SEL's added sound insulation, pavement slap from the tires is clearly audible, although at steady-state cruise, powertrain sounds fade to a whisper.

Summary

The new Ford Freestyle is a nice package, with nice looks, a nice powertrain, and a nice starting price, given all that it buys. But the option list is lengthy and full of temptations. Just as the Freestyle's designers did, buyers may face compromises, too.

New Car Test Drive correspondent Tom Lankard filed this report from the Great Lakes area.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$24,945
Model lineup:
Ford Freestyle SE ($24,945); SEL ($26,345); Limited ($28,545)
Engines:
3.0-liter double overhead cam 24-valve V6
Transmissions:
continuously variable transmission
Safety equipment (Standard):
two-stage, dual frontal airbags; three-point seatbelts and adjustable head restraints at all seating positions; child safety seat LATCH anchors; front seat belt use reminder; two-stage collapsible steering column; antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution
Safety equipment (Optional):
front seat-mounted side airbags, full-coverage side curtain airbags; reverse sensing system
Basic warranty:
3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in:
Chicago, Illinois
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Ford Freestyle SEL ($26,345)
Standard equipment:
air conditioning; power windows, heated outside mirrors, central locking and six-way driver's seat; cruise control; AM/FM stereo with 6-disc in-dash CD changer; 6-way power driver's seat with manual lumbar; tilt steering wheel with redundant audio controls; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever; driver-door keypad entry; 1st and 2nd row floor mats; accessory power delay; auto headlamps; electrochromic inside rearview mirror; electronic message/function display; perimeter lighting with puddle lamps; fog lamps; roof rack
Options as tested:
Safety and Security Package ($695) includes front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and anti-theft alarm; leather seating ($795); Comfort Package ($495) includes dual-zone air conditioning, 8-way power driver and 4-way power front passenger (with manual lumbar) seats, outside temperature display; rear seat DVD entertainment system ($995); power moonroof ($895); rear-seat air conditioning ($595); reverse sensing system ($250); all-wheel drive ($1,700)
Destination charge:
650
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$33,415
Layout:
all-wheel drive
Engine:
3.0-liter dohc 24v V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
203 @ 5750
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
207 @ 4500
Transmission:
CVT
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
19/24 mpg.
Wheelbase:
112.9 in.
Length/width/height:
199.8/74.4/64.9 in.
Track, f/r:
64.6/65 in.
Turning circle:
40 ft.
Seating capacity:
7
Head/hip/leg room, f:
39.4/55.2/40.8 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
39.4/56.4/39.8 in.
Head/hip/leg room, r:
38.5/45.9/33.6 in.
Cargo volume:
86.5 cu. ft.
Payload:
N/A
Towing capacity:
2000 lbs.
Suspension F:
independent strut, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension R:
independent, multi-link, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Ground clearance:
6.3 in.
Curb weight:
4112 lbs.
Tires:
P215/60R17
Brakes, f/r:
disc/disc with ABS and EBD in.
Fuel capacity:
19 gal.

Printable Version

2005 Ford Freestyle Wagon Crossover

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

Passenger Restraint

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

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Opt
Fog Lamps Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Std
Intermittent Wipers Std

Accident Prevention

Rear Parking Aid Opt

Security

Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2005 Ford Freestyle Wagon Crossover

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

2005 Ford Freestyle Wagon Crossover

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