By KBB.com Editors
While the Freestyle may have gotten off to a slow start, current events have placed Ford's newest family hauler squarely on center stage. Sharp upswings in both the cost of fuel and interest rates have pushed the full-sized Sport Utility Vehicle off many families' shopping lists, yet their needs to haul loads of kids and cargo are still of paramount importance. The Freestyle, with its Volvo-derived platform, seven-passenger seating, strong safety rating and fuel-efficient V6, is the perfect solution. It's easy to drive, easy to park, more stylish than a minivan and available with such features as a rear-seat DVD entertainment center and Audiophile sound system. Entry-level models are nicely-equipped and priced within reach of most budgets, while buyers with a bit more cash flow will have a long list of features from which to choose.
If your principle concern is outward visibility, the Freestyle's higher seats not only make it easy to enter, but also help open up the view of the road. The availability of an all-wheel drive version gives shoppers who often drive on wet or slippery surfaces an additional dose of confidence.
If you're looking for a true SUV with serious off-road driving capabilities, you will be disappointed by the Freestyle; its capabilities are best suited for the highway and around town.
Front side-impact airbags and Safety Canopy head-curtain airbags are added to the standard equipment list, though not until later in the 2007 model run. The Limited trim now wears 18-inch wheels and tires and two new exterior colors are added to the Freestyle's pallet.
Driving Impressions Occupants enjoy a comfortable highway ride from the Freestyle's relatively taut suspension, though the ride becomes less pleasant on bumpier roads. Deeper potholes will definitely be noticed. Entry and exit...is exceptionally easythe tall seats are sheer pleasure for less-agile occupants and the view ahead is virtually unimpaired. Operation of the continuously variable transmission is flawless. Acceleration is more than adequate, and the Freestyle is ready to pass or merge without hesitation. It's an easy vehicle to drive, feeling very car-like and with only a little noise intruding into the cabin.
Continuously Variable Transmission Coupled with All-Wheel Drive
Early Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT) drew criticism for their performance, but the Freestyle unit impressed us. The all-wheel drive system is so transparent that you won't know it's there, but it stands ready to help whenever you encounter a slick surface.
Reverse Sensing System
Helpful rather than intrusive, Ford's optional parking assistance system emits mild-toned beeps when you get too close to the vehicle behind. Even lifelong city drivers, accustomed to parallel parking every day, are likely to welcome this supplementary guidance.
Six passengers have plenty of elbow room inside the Freestyle, even when all three rows of seats are in use. The upright seating position is similar to what's found in a full-fledged SUV, but the low step-in height is more akin to a minivan. Seats fold flat in the rear rows, though not all the way into the floor. The front passenger seat can also be folded flat. Second-row leg space is bountiful, but getting into the third row takes maneuvering skills. The Freestyle can seat seven with the optional second-row bench, which replaces the standard bucket seats.Exterior
Designed specifically to capture the SUV attributes of cargo space and ride height, the Freestyle offers a squared-off exterior. In a bow to a more "grown-up" car-buying public, the Freestyle exhibits a high, upright profile, which translates to plenty of headroom. Some people will appreciate the clean, simple lines of the exterior profile, especially because it delivers interior roominess, but others may find it a bit plain. With its flared wheel arches and high beltline, the Freestyle is almost SUV-like in appearance.
The Freestyle SEL includes Ford's continuously variable transmission (CVT), 17-inch aluminum wheels, keyless entry, alarm, front air conditioning, power mirrors, six-way power driver's seat, tilt steering column, anti-lock brakes (ABS), a leather-wrapped steering wheel with auxiliary radio controls and an AM/FM/CD audio system. Stepping up to the Limited edition brings dual-zone automatic climate control, 18-inch wheels, fog lamps, body-colored cladding and side mirrors, leather upholstery with heated front seats, a power passenger seat, second-row fore/aft adjustable seating, Audiophile sound system with subwoofer and a six-disc CD changer.
Since the Freestyle's standard-equipment list is abundant, the selection of options is relatively modest. Both rear park assist and a power moonroof are available for both the SEL and Limited, leather upholstery may be installed in the SEL model and the Limited can have power-adjustable pedals with a memory feature.. A split-folding three-passenger seat for the second row expands capacity to seven occupants. High-tech options include a backseat DVD entertainment system and GPS navigation. A major option for both SEL and Limited models is a head-curtain airbag system, which covers all three rows of seating.
Though its numbers don't look impressive on paper, the Freestyle actually performs quite well. Its CVT transmission makes the most of the engine's low-end torque, providing the quick starts needed for passing or crossing busy intersections. On the other hand, Ford's 3.0-liter V6 is far from quiet, especially at full throttle. Unlike with a V8-powered SUV, you will feel a big difference in performance when driving the Freestyle fully loaded with gear and passengersa disadvantage of the somewhat smaller V6 engine.
203 horsepower @ 5750 rpm
207 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 (FWD), 19/24 (AWD)
By Oke on Monday, February 09, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "extremely dependable, handles well, excellent ride"
Cons: "Interior materials are the worst!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This has been an excellent car - 175,000 miles, never had a single problem. Most dependable car I have ever had, including imports. The only strike has always been the poor quality of the upholstery and carpets. If a drop of water touches the seat, it leaves a horrendous stain. Let a water bottle sweat on the seat - huge stain. For an expensive well-made car, Ford really put a poor interior in it. That has been my only complaint."
7 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By jim on Thursday, February 05, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 125,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "nice to drive in all weathe conditions"
Cons: "has cup holders through out front to rear exellent"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I find the ford freestyle a great car for family use its nav, seat comfort, and audio, movie package are a major + for long road trips"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By applejack on Monday, December 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 116,800overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have used this car like a truck.It has never failed me.Love the room.Love the ride. I just wanted a new car so now I will sell this one."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Al on Sunday, December 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Has many extra options other than nav."
Cons: "There are no cons with this vehicle. Owned 6 yrs."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We bought this vehicle in 2008 when our 4 door no longer held all of our grandchildren. Now, this great 7 passenger does not hold all of our grandchildren (7!) and counting. We added remote start as soon as we brought it home due to cold weather in the mid west."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By Sad Owner on Thursday, December 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 185,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"After 50k miles this vehicle drives like a truck. Even with regular scheduled maintenance it required extra replacing and fixing of some sort. When the transmission went out, it was a great chore to find a mechanic trained to replace it. I have nothing good to say because now the engine is kaput. We decided to stick to Honda's and Toyota's for future reliability."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By BillSrPhillyPa on Saturday, November 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 220,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "roomy,comfy,good on gas"
Cons: "not cheap to repair"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"My Freestyle has 220000 miles and is my everyday driver,It is roomy and very comfortable, I love it I put on 22" rims and tires and it seems to have a better ride, The only problem im having is I have to let it warm up before I drive it, if not the check transmission light comes on. but after it warms up (about 10 minutes) it is fine."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful