2005 Monterey New Car Test Drive
The Mercury Monterey offers safety and convenience. 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. Most models come trimmed in leather. The Monterey is competitively priced, and is essentially a Ford Freestar, only a little more upscale, with a higher level of standard equipment and more options, including heated-and-cooled seats.
The Monterey comes standard 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 a new Class II towing package. 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.
Safety features abound, though some are optional. The Monterey stands out with its three-row Safety Canopy airbag system, designed to offer head protection for passengers in all three rows, and an occupant-sensing front-passenger airbag. The Monterey also offers four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and AdvanceTrac stability control with traction control and panic brake assist, all of which can help the driver maintain control. There's a tire-pressure monitoring system and self-sealing tires. Monterey earned the highest possible score (five stars) in government frontal crash tests, and has been cited by the insurance industry for its offset-frontal crash performance.
The 2005 Monterey comes in three trim levels. All are front-wheel drive, equipped with a big 4.2-liter V6 engine, a four-speed automatic transmission, and anti-lock brakes (ABS).
Convenience ($29,010) comes standard with dual-zone air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, a six-way lumbar adjustment for the driver's seat, Securilock anti-theft system, overhead and front floor consoles with storage, a third-row seat that folds flat into the floor, and a park assist system that works going forward as well as in reverse. Safety Canopy curtain and side-impact air bags ($695) are optional.
The mid-level Luxury ($32,610) includes all of the above and adds: first and second-row leather seats, with buckets in the second row as well as first; leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; power-adjustable pedals with memory; perimeter anti-theft system; power heated mirrors; dual-zone automatic climate control; third-row reading lamps; roof rails; and power sliding doors. The Safety Canopy and side-impact airbags come standard on Luxury and Premier.
The top-of-the line Premier ($34,910) includes everything on the Convenience and Luxury models plus: heated and cooled seats first-row seats; front-passenger lumbar adjustment; first- and second-row perforated suede seat inserts; power liftgate; and unique split-spoke design bright machined aluminum wheels.
AdvanceTrac electronic stability control with Brake Assist ($395) is available as an option for Luxury and Premier. Other options include self-sealing tires ($195) and a DVD rear-seat entertainment system ($1,395).