2006 Freestyle New Car Test Drive
The Ford Freestyle is what has become known as a crossover vehicle. More than a station wagon, but not quite a sport utility, the Freestyle is a successful example of a crossover. The Freestyle combines space-conscious and people-friendly packaging with a modern powertrain that delivers performance and efficiency.
Three rows of seats yield six-passenger, or even seven-passenger capacity. Its 3.0-liter V6 delivers good performance, while its continuously variable transmission eases engine load and smoothes the drive. All-wheel drive is available for owners who want all-weather capability. The other models use front-wheel drive.
Critics have said that the Freestyle is simply the station wagon version of the new Ford Five Hundred sedan. Technically, they're right. Yet many have found the Freestyle inexplicably offers a better driving experience than the Five Hundred, and it's certainly more practical.
The Freestyle is well worth a look for shoppers tired of the everyday vehicle, yet also tired of climbing up into and jumping down out of today's SUVs, and willing to explore something new and slightly different.
The Freestyle was launched as a 2005 model so there are relatively few changes for '06. An optional navigation system is now available for the Limited model.
The 2006 Ford Freestyle comes in three trim levels, SE, SEL and Limited. Each is available with all-wheel drive. All have the same 3.0-liter V6 engine rated at 203 horsepower. All are equipped with a continuously variable transmission, or CVT.
The SE ($25,105) and SE AWD ($26,955) come with features not normally expected in a base model. These include a six-way power driver's seat, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and traction control, all on top of the usual air conditioning; power windows, outside mirrors and central locking; and AM/FM/CD stereo.
SE options include: a Safety and Security package with front seat side airbags and full-coverage side air curtains plus anti-theft alarm and exterior convenience lighting ($795); a Convenience package with automatic headlamps and dual-zone automatic climate control with outside temperature display ($295); an auxiliary rear-seat climate control ($650); a middle-seat floor console ($95); and no-charge substitution of a three-passenger middle bench seat in place of the standard bucket seats that seat two.
The SEL ($26,505) and SEL AWD ($28,355) includes a six-disc in-dash CD changer with MP3 capability; auto headlamps; heated and folding outside mirrors; electrochromic rearview mirror; leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel with audio controls; programmable, three-frequency remote garage door opener; the exterior convenience lighting; extra sound insulation; fog lamps; and sundry exterior trim enhancements, including bright aluminum wheels in lieu of the SE's painted wheels.
Options for the SEL: leather seating ($895); a Comfort package with eight-way driver and four-way passenger power seats and dual-zone automatic climate control and outside temperature display ($495); a DVD-based entertainment system, including two wireless headphones and wireless remote ($995); power moonroof ($895); reverse sensing system ($295); and a split-fold third row seat ($115). Some of the SE options are available, including the Safety and Security package ($695).
The Limited ($28,530) and Limited AWD ($30,580) add an upgraded sound system with subwoofer, memory settings for driver's seat and outside mirrors, heated front seats, two-way adjustable second row seats, woodgrain dash trim, cargo net and, on the AWD model, 18-inch bright aluminum wheels.
Options other than those available on the SE and SEL are a programmable, three-frequency remote opener system ($115) and adjustable pedals with memory ($195).