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2006 Ford Freestar Van

4dr SE

Starting at | Starting at 18 MPG City - 24 MPG Highway

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  • $23,655 original MSRP
Printable Version

2006 Ford Freestar Van

Printable Version

2006 Ford Freestar Van

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2006 Ford Freestar

Source: New Car Test Drive




Overview
The Ford Freestar is a capable minivan that performs well and offers all the latest safety features. Packages and pricing have been simplified for 2006 models, and prices have been lowered.

The Freestar is a solid performer, but it isn't the sharpest saw in the shed. It's now in its third year since being redesigned and is outclassed by newer entries. However, the J.D. Power and Associates research firm has rated Freestar's overall quality and mechanical quality better than most. It's better than any previous Ford minivan, so if you liked the Windstar, you'll love the Freestar.

Freestar is well-equipped to do minivan things. It can haul seven passengers and has a deep well behind the third row that's perfect for securely stowing a week's worth of groceries. Fold the third-row seat into the floor, and the Freestar holds four passengers and offers a big, flat cargo area behind the seats. Also, the third row can flip around to function as a tailgate seat, a neat trick for parking lot parties. A power rear liftgate and dual power sliding doors are available. Tow ratings of up to 3,500 pounds are possible, enough to handle personal watercraft, motorcycles, or other trailer toys.

On the highway, the Freestar is smooth and quiet. It glides over rough pavement. It's easy to drive, with responsive handling and a big, powerful V6 engine. It doesn't feel as refined as the best and newest of the minivans, however.

Freestar's strongest suit is safety: Freestar earned five stars in the government's (NHTSA's) frontal impact crash testing, and is a "Best Pick" for frontal offset crashes by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Freestar received a five-star rating from NHTSA in driver and passenger front impact as well as passenger side impact. It received a four-star rating in driver side impact and roll-over resistance.

Dual-stage driver and front-passenger air bags come standard and are designed to deploy at full or partial power depending on the severity of the crash. Ford's optional Safety Canopy can help protect against head injuries in a rollover or side impact; Ford's system is designed to offer protection to passengers sitting on the outboard sides of all three rows. Freestar's seat belts use pretensioners and energy-management retractors to improve their effectiveness and reduce the chance of belt-related injuries.

To help drivers avoid crashing in the first place, the Freestar comes standard with anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution. A tire-pressure monitor is standard and self-sealing tires are available. The optional AdvanceTrac electronic stability control helps drivers maintain control when swerving to avoid something or when entering a slippery corner too fast.


Model Lineup
Freestar is offered in three trim levels: the value-oriented SE, the mid-level SEL, and the top-of-the-line Limited. All models are front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is not available. All Freestars come with dual sliding side doors with child-proof locks.

Freestar SE ($23,655) comes standard with a 3.9-liter V6 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, cruise control, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD stereo, power windows, locks and mirrors, tire pressure monitor, remote keyless entry, anti-lock (ABS) four-wheel disc brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), privacy glass, roof rack longitudinal rails, and 225/60 all-season tires on 16-inch steel wheels. A cleverly designed third-row bench seat folds flat into the floor or flips backward to form a tailgate bench seat.

Freestar SEL ($26,615) boosts performance with a 4.2-liter V6 engine. SEL also gets six-way power driver's seat, fold-and-tumble second-row captain's chairs, tri-zone (right, left, and rear) auxiliary climate control, automatic headlights, an illuminated entry keypad on the driver's door, illuminated visors, and leather-wrapped steering wheel with built-in audio controls. Exterior upgrades include 16-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels, cornering lamps. The SEL grille is chrome, and the bumpers are body color. The SE and SEL can be upgraded with a premium appearance package.

The Limited ($29,575) adds leather upholstery for the front seats, dual power sliding doors, automatic climate control, power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, power heated mirrors with turn signals and puddle lamps, message center, analog clock, and contrasting-color bumpers for a two-tone effect.

Options include a DVD rear-seat entertainment system with wireless headphones ($1,395), and a six-disc CD changer ($255), as well as 17-inch alloy wheels ($245), self-sealing tires ($280), trailer-towing package ($335), power liftgate ($400), rear spoiler ($290). A Memory Package ($425) stores settings for the mirrors, driver's seat, and pedals. A navigation system is not available on the Freestar.

The AdvanceTrac package ($335) combines panic Brake Assist, traction control, and Ford's AdvanceTrac stability control. The package is available with a reverse-sensing system ($730). Ford's optional Safety Canopy ($695) side-curtain airbag system runs the length of the minivan on both sides and includes sensors that monitor for a rollover. If a rollover is detected, the air bags deploy from the headliner and stay inflated for up to six seconds to protect the heads of occupants in all three rows. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags for the front passengers complement the Safety Canopy. We suggest getting both the AdvanceTrac and the Safety Canopy, but keep in mind that air bags work effectively only if all passengers are belted in and children are properly secured. So order all the stuff mentioned in this paragraph and buckle up.

       

Walkaround
The Ford Freestar is based on the old Windstar, and looks it. The only obvious differences are the hood, grille, headlamps, front fenders, and rear liftgate, which pick up styling cues from the Ford trucks and SUVs.

Freestar sticks with traditional, mainstream minivan styling. Freestar does have one odd, distinguishing feature, however: The front side windows drop below the inside portion of the door trim which, say the Freestar's designers, remains at a comfortable arm-rest height. The optional rear spoiler looks sporty.

 

Interior Features
The Ford Freestar seats seven passengers: two in front, two in the second row and three in the third row. Standard seating in the second row is a bench. Captain's chairs are also available, and they 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 for extra cargo space.

The third-row seat folds into a well in the floor behind it, creating a flat load platform. Ford's fold-flat third-row seat may be the best in terms of ease of operation. Pull the clearly numbered straps in sequence, and the seat drops easily into the well. Ford designed the third-row head restraints to retract into the seat, so you don't have to pull them out before you fold the seat, as you do on many minivans. The third-row bench seat can also be dropped backward to create seating for tailgate parties.

With the third-row seat in place for passengers, there's more than 25 cubic feet of storage space; the well behind the seat provides a good spot for groceries or sports equipment. Freestar's cargo volume expands to 130 cubic feet when the third-row seat is folded and the second-row seats are removed (possible, but clumsy, for one person). The downside of Ford's third row, however, is its short seat height compared with its counterparts in the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. As a result, adults will feel like their knees are too high. It works best for small children.

In fact, seat comfort throughout the Freestar is not exceptional. The driver's seat seems to have been designed exclusively for the fashionably slim. (If you are fashionably slim, you may like that.) And the rake adjustment on the six-way power driver's seat is manual, less convenient than power. Likewise, the second-row captain's chairs feel narrow.

Overall, the interior is elegant, with a delicate watch-like clock in the center dashboard as its focal point. Ford spent more money on the Freestar interior, and it's a dramatic upgrade over the Windstar.

Audio and climate controls are easy to reach. The black plastic controls could be prettier, but work well enough. The manual heating and air conditioning controls are rudimentary, but easy to operate. The available electronic climate control isn't aesthetically pleasing, but works well and is our preference. The system controls three zones, driver, passenger, and rear. Rear air conditioning is useful for cooling kids and pets on hot days, a very valuable feature.

Storage space is abundant. Bins in the sliding doors offer a place for books and toys. Front doors have double map pockets, one above the other. A covered storage compartment provides space for small items like cell phones. The driver's 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. Sturdy cupholders that fold down from the sides of the second-row captain's chairs are convenient and well-built. If kicked, as they likely will be, they snap back into their storage position against the seats. However, the beverage holders in the far-back are awkwardly positioned.

 

Driving Impressions
Two engines are available in the Freestar. The 3.9-liter V6 that comes standard on the SE generates 193 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque and gets an EPA-rated 18/23 mpg City/highway. The 4.2-liter V6 that comes with the SEL and Limited delivers 201 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque, yet surrenders only 1 mpg to the smaller engine. Freestar's larger 4.2-liter V6 is the largest in any minivan, and is likely the better choice for highway cruising, passing on freeways, and light towing.

The Freestar's torque (the force you need for merging on the freeway or climbing steep grades) is competitive with both engines when compared with the 242 pound-feet of torque from the Toyota Sienna and the Nissan Quest. However neither Ford engine matches the Nissan's 240 horsepower nor the Toyota's 230 horsepower. So the Freestar engine won't be as responsive at higher speeds.

The four-speed automatic transmission that comes in all Freestar models shifts smoothly and quickly.

The Freestar is extremely quiet, incorporating thick front windows, a noise-absorbing dash panel, and sound-blocking construction. Nevertheless, the overhead-valve engine sounds truck-like under hard acceleration, making it seem a little less refined than some of the competition.

The Freestar's ride is smooth, and can handle even poorly-maintained highways. Steering is much more responsive than in the old Windstar. It leans a bit in corners, but handling is predictable. Big four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and EBD are standard, and the brakes are easy to modulate for nice, smooth stops.

 

Summary
The Ford Freestar is a solid minivan available with the latest in safety equipment and engineering. It's big and powerful, much improved over the old Windstar. It doesn't offer all the bells and whistles (like all-wheel drive and navigation) nor does it feel as refined as some of the competition, but it's a solid performer.

NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Michelle Krebs filed the original report, with editor Mitch McCullough reporting from Los Angeles.

 

Model Line Overview

Model lineup: Ford Freestar SE ($23,655); SEL ($26,615); Limited ($29,575)
Engines: 193-hp 3.9-liter ohv V6; 201-hp 4.2-liter ohv V6
Transmissions: 4-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard): dual-stage front airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, tire-pressure monitor
Safety equipment (optional): Safety Canopy side curtain airbags, side-impact airbags, AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, traction control, 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 SEL ($26,615)
Standard equipment: dual-zone air conditioning; six-way power driver's seat, windows, locks and mirrors; second-row fold-and-tumble captain's chairs; fold-in-floor third-row seat; remote keyless entry and keyless entry keypad; cruise control; roof rails; privacy glass; five-spoke aluminum sport wheels; leather-wrapped steering wheel with built-in audio controls; cornering lamps; overhead console with compass and outside temperature display; AM/FM stereo with cassette, CD player and rear seat audio controls; fog lamps; tire-pressure monitoring system; floor mats
Options as tested (MSRP): leather upholstery first and second row, third row vinyl ($890); 6-disc CD changer ($255); Class II Trailer Tow Package II ($335); power liftgate ($400); power sliding doors ($900); power front passenger seat ($305); floor console ($150); Cargo Management System ($125); AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, traction control, panic brake assist, and reverse sensing system ($730); Safety Canopy side air curtain with rollover sensor plus front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags ($695)
Destination charge: 730
Gas guzzler tax:  
Price as tested (MSRP): 32195
Layout: front-wheel drive
Engine: 4.2-liter OHV V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 201 @ 4250
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 263 @ 3650
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 17/23
Wheelbase: 120.8
Length/width/height: 201.0/76.6/68.8
Track, f/r: 64.7/62.8
Turning circle: 40.0
Seating capacity: 7
Head/hip/leg room, f: 38.9/56.5/40.7
Head/hip/leg room, m: 40.1/66.4/38.0
Head/hip/leg room, r: 38.2/48.1/33.8
Trunk volume: 135.7
Payload:  
Towing capacity: 3500
Suspension, f: independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Suspension, r: twist beam with integral anti-roll bar, coil springs, Panhard rod
Ground clearance:  
Curb weight: 4295
Tires: 225/60R16 self sealing
Brakes, f/r: disc/disc w ABS and Brake Assist
Fuel capacity: 26

Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of 2005-08-01 00:00:00.0 .
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, Inc.

Printable Version

2006 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 n/a
Side Impact Crash Test - Rear n/a

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

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std

Accident Prevention

Rear Parking Aid Opt

Security

Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2006 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

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2006 Ford Freestar Van

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