We thought this thing would be dead by now; what with the Edge, Fairlane, and next-generation Explorer all occupying CUV Parking Only spaces in Ford's garage. Nay, the Freestyle soldiers on for 2008, emboldened by a new face, set to debut at the Chicago Auto Show. The cosmetic surgery is in line with Ford's revisions to the Freestyle's platform-mate, the Five Hundred. Overall, the look doesn't even progress beyond conservative, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some of the innocuousness of the original Freestyle has been eradicated by more jowly fenders and the new corporate grille. We like it, it's more Ford-y, less bland. Power is rumored to be provided by the new 3.5-liter V6, with the joint-venture 6 speed transaxle taking the ratio shuffling. The original Freestyle was a nice vehicle that Ford only halfheartedly promoted. The 3.0 and CVT were more than adequate for everyday driving and the chassis and interior space were miles ahead of truck-based "family cars." We're expecting to see interior updates as well, be it materials, fit and finish, packaging, or all of the above. With more snort and a more conventional transmission, not to mention the squaring-up of the nose, we hope Ford gets behind the Freestyle. Sure, now we sound like dorks, but it really is a good family car, even if it is a station wagon in denial.

[Source: LLN]