2009 57 New Car Test Drive
The 2006 Mercury Milan is a new midsize sedan, and it's the best car Mercury has had for many years. Designed to compete with the Toyota Camry and other midsize family cars, the Milan is based on the superb Mazda 6 platform. It's smaller than the Montego and will be Mercury's entry-level car from now on. It shares much in common with the new Ford Fusion.
This Mercury has that 'just right' look about it, and it's about time. It's one of the most stylish, contemporary Mercury sedans since the first one showed up in 1939. Perhaps it's not as adventurous in design as the 1957 Turnpike Cruiser with its cantilevered roof and power rear window.
But the new Milan is able to swallow and nestle at least four normal Americans inside, with more room here and there on the spec sheet than some very expensive cars. The interior is inviting and comfortable, the materials are very good, it's easy to use, and the detailing is better than average. We liked the contrast stitching in the seats. Fold-down rear seats add an extra measure of space and utility.
The Milan is available with four-cylinder and V6 engines. The V6 gets an EPA-rated 29 mpg on the highway and comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, a rarity in this class, that gives both better acceleration and better fuel economy than a five-speed automatic. The Mercury Montego is a big sedan with a roomy, luxurious cabin, premium features and trim, and a smooth, comfortable ride. While technically a midsize car, it's on the large side of that scale and boasts a a high seating position and lots of legroom for both front and rear passengers.
The Montego is powered by a 203-hp V6. Front-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel drive is available for improved traction and handling in adverse conditions. The Montego was carefully engineered to protect occupants in the event of an accident. Safety engineers from Volvo worked directly on the Montego, drawing on the Swedish automaker's 50 years of advanced safety engineering.
The Montego offers one of the roomiest interiors in its class. Inspired by the ubiquitous sport utility vehicle, the Montego gives the driver a relatively high seating position and, consequently, excellent outward vision.
Its all-aluminum V6 engine features drive-by-wire electronic throttle control and is complemented by a six-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly and always seems to choose the right gear for the driving situation. The all-wheel-drive models come with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that's smooth and responsive and enhances fuel efficiency.
The steering and suspension are European in feel, offering quick response and minimal lean in corners. The brakes are excellent, responding quickly when the pedal is pressed and slowing the car quickly when necessary. Anti-lock brakes are standard on all Montegos, and all-speed traction control is standard on all but the base, front-drive model, where it's a no-cost option.
Montego excels in passive safety as well. Its basic structure was designed by Volvo, a company that built its reputation on safety before safety was fashionable. Add to that Ford Motor Company's Personal Safety System, which means that the inflation rate for the dual-stage front airbags is managed by a crash severity sensor and a weight sensor for the front-seat passenger. Side-impact and canopy-style airbags are optional. Thus equipped, Montego has earned top five-star ratings in frontal and side-impact crash testing by the federal government, and was named a best pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for frontal crash performance. The Mercury Monterey is essentially a Ford Freestar with a higher level of equipment and some Mercury styling cues. The Monterey offers luxury touches such as a dual climate control system, wood-and-leather steering wheel with built-in cruise and audio controls, and power adjustable pedals.
Safety is its strong suit, with both active handling safeguards and comprehensive passive passenger protection. Its third-row seat folds flat into the floor, offering lots of cargo space for a family of four, and it can carry up to seven.
On the road, the Monterey is smooth and quiet with responsive steering and handling. Parking is made easier by its front and rear park-assist system. The Monterey comes with a big 4.2-liter V6 that packs a lot of torque, giving it good performance. It's rated to pull trailers of up to 3,500 pounds when equipped with the optional Class II towing package.
The Monterey stands out with its three-row Safety Canopy airbag system designed to offer head protection for passengers in all three rows, an occupant-sensing front-passenger airbag, and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. The optional AdvanceTrac stability control with traction control and panic Brake Assist can help the driver maintain control. Also available are a tire-pressure monitoring system and self-sealing tires. With a reinforced structure to absorb offset frontal impacts, Monterey earned the highest possible score (five stars) in government frontal crash tests. The Monterey comes recommended by the insurance industry for its offset-frontal crash performance.
The 2006 Mercury Milan comes in two versions, a basic four-cylinder package and a loaded V6 Premier model. Options packages, however, make it possible to have almost any combination you want. For instance, you can order a four-cylinder automatic Premier.
The base Milan ($18,995) comes with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine and a choice of five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include air conditioning, a premium audio system with AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, an analog clock, an overhead console with sunglasses holder, a covered flip-up storage bin on top of the dash, six-way power driver's seat with manual lumbar, 16-inch wheels, speed control, tilt and telescoping steering wheel with secondary controls, and remote keyless entry.
An optional Safety and Security package offers side-impact air bags (for torso protection), side curtain airbags (for head protection), anti-lock brakes (ABS), and a perimeter anti-theft system. Other options include a power moonroof and an AM/FM/CD6/MP3 Audiophile system with eight speakers.
The Milan Premier ($21,995) comes with a 221-horsepower 3.0-liter V6, a six-speed automatic, anti-lock brakes, and 17-inch machined aluminum wheels as standard equipment. Leather seating surfaces and the premium six-disc CD changer with MP3 and six speakers come standard.
The Comfort package includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel with secondary audio, speed and climate controls, automatic electronic climate control, auto headlamps, fog lamps, puddle lamps, and an auto dimming interior rearview mirror with compass. Options include traction assist ($95), heated seats ($295), power moonroof ($795), the Audiophile system with eight speakers ($420). The 2006 Mercury Montego is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 engine with 24 valves. Two trim levels are available, Luxury and Premier.
Front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) are available for both trim levels. A six-speed automatic transmission comes on front-drive models. A continuously variable automatic transmission, or CVT is used on the all-wheel-drive models; AWD models also get a suspension upgrade that includes self-leveling rear shock absorbers.
Luxury FWD ($24,430) and AWD ($26,280) come with dual-zone electronic climate control, six-way power driver's seat, a fold-flat front passenger seat, split-fold rear seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror, two 12-volt power points, AM/FM stereo with single CD player; leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel with remote audio controls and cruise control, remote keyless entry, folding heated power exterior mirrors, power windows and door locks, passive anti-theft system, 17-inch seven-spoke wheels, automatic high-intensity discharge headlamps, LED tail lamps, and fog lamps. All-speed traction control is standard with AWD and optional (at no cost) with FWD. Cloth upholstery is standard; leather is optional ($895). Power-adjustable pedals are available on late-2006 models.
Premier FWD ($26,880) and AWD ($28,730) feature leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power passenger seat, a memory function for the power seats, mirrors and adjustable pedals, a leather-wrapped shift knob, overhead console with Homelink, wood grain interior appliques, remote perimeter lighting, a 6CD changer and subwoofer, a trunk cargo net, and 18-inch 15-spoke alloy wheels. Traction control is standard with both FWD and AWD. A new navigation system is available for 2006 Premier models.
Options include a power glass sunroof ($895); rear park assist ($250); a rear-seat DVD entertainment system (new for 2006), and a Safety Package combining side-impact and side-curtain air bags with a rollover sensor ($595). We strongly recommend the curtain air bags as they can help reduce the chance of head injuries to your passengers. The 2006 Mercury Monterey comes in only one trim level, the well-equipped Luxury edition, previously the designation for the mid-level version of the Monterey. The manufacturer's suggested retail price for the 2006 Monterey Luxury ($28,930) is reduced from the 2005 price.
It comes with front-wheel drive, the 4.2-liter V6 engine, a four-speed automatic transmission, and anti-lock brakes (ABS).
Interior equipment includes first- and second-row captain's chair seats, and a cloth-trimmed third-row seat that folds flat into the floor or tilts back to form a convenient tail-gate spectator seat. Cloth upholstery is standard. Also standard: dual-zone air conditioning, tilt leather and wood-trimmed steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, a six-way adjustable driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, power-adjustable pedals with memory, power sliding doors, third-row reading lamps and roof rails. Securilock anti-theft system, overhead and front floor consoles with storage, and a park assist system that works going forward as well as in reverse are also standard.
Safety features that come standard include an occupant-sensing front passenger air bag, Safety Canopy curtain and side-impact air bags, perimeter anti-theft system, and heated power-adjustable side mirrors with built-in turn/warning signals. AdvanceTrac electronic stability control with Brake Assist and Traction Control ($730) is optional. Self-sealing tires ($195) are also available.
Options include leather seats ($890), heated and cooled front seats with suede-insert leather seating surface ($1485), a DVD rear-seat entertainment system ($1,385), and a power liftgate ($400). Also available: a class II towing package ($335), rear spolier ($290), and 17-inch bright machined nine-spoke aluminum wheels ($245).