2006 Monterey New Car Test Drive
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 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).