2008 Milan New Car Test Drive
The Mercury Milan is a good choice among a superb selection of midsize sedans. Designed to compete with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the Milan is based on the superb Mazda 6 platform. It is smaller than the Sable, and is Mercury's entry-level car. It shares much in common with the new Ford Fusion.
This is one of the most stylish, contemporary Mercury sedans since the first one showed up in 1939, and it just looks right. While it's not as adventurous in design as the 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser with its cantilevered roof and power rear window, it is good looking and modern.
The Milan accommodates five adults, with more interior room by most measures than some very expensive cars. The interior is inviting and comfortable, the materials are very good, and the detailing is better than average. We like the contrast stitching in the seats, and the fold-down rear seats add an extra measure of space and utility. Most important, it's easy to operate and use.
It's available with four-cylinder and V6 engines. Both engines are adequate but are not as powerful as engines offered by several competitors. The V6 gets an EPA-rated 26 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.
Ride quality is smooth, even on the roughest of big-city streets, making the Milan a good choice for Detroit, New York and other places with imperfect infrastructures. The Milan is very stable at high speeds and the brakes are very good. Order the optional all-wheel drive and you get excellent handling and stability on slippery surfaces, such as rain, snow and ice, further enhancing safety.
For 2008, the Milan gets new features and options. A tire-pressure monitor and keyless entry keypad are now standard, while rear obstacle detection becomes an option. Mercury's Sync communications and entertainment system and ambient lighting are offered for the first time, and the available navigation system adds voice activation.
The 2008 Mercury Milan comes in two trim levels, base and Premier, each offered with a four-cylinder or a V6. Front-wheel drive is standard; V6 models are offered with all-wheel drive. The base powertrain is a 2.3-liter, 160-horsepower four-cylinder with a five-speed manual transmission. A five-speed automatic is optional ($1045) and it adds aluminum wheels as well. The V6 is a 221-hp 3.0-liter that is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Milan four-cylinder ($18,725) and V6 ($21,975) models come standard with air conditioning, six-speaker audio system with AM/FM/CD/MP3 player and auxiliary input jack, analog clock, overhead console with sunglasses holder, power locks, power windows, heated power outside mirrors, antitheft system, six-way power driver's seat with manual lumbar adjustment, four-way manually adjustable front passenger seat that folds flat, 60/40 split folding rear seat, cruise control, tilt and telescoping steering wheel with secondary audio controls, remote keyless entry, keyless entry keypad, and P205/60R16 tires on steel wheels. The V6 is also offered with all-wheel drive ($23,825).
Options for base models start with a Moon and Tune Package ($795) with a power moonroof, AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD player and Sirius satellite radio. Sirius ($195) and the AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD player ($195) are available separately. A rear spoiler ($295) is offered. Ambient lighting ($295), which illuminates the front cupholders and front and rear footwells with a choice of seven different colors, is available late in the model year. An Appearance Package ($545) is offered for V6 models. It includes blue Alcantara seat and door trim inserts, blue interior stitching, fog lamps, rear spoiler, and P225/50R17 tires on aluminum wheels with painted pockets.
The four-cylinder Premier ($20,420) and V6 Premier ($23,295) add leather upholstery, automatic headlights, automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, leather-wrapped steering wheel, premium audio with six-disc CD player, fog lights, the Sync entertainment and communications system (late in the model year), fog lights, and P225/50R17 tires on aluminum wheels. The V6 Premier is available with all-wheel drive ($25,145).
Options for Premier above those of base models include a DVD-based navigation system ($1895) that adds voice activation for 2008; the Moon and Tune Elite Package ($895) that has a power moonroof, Sirius satellite radio and an eight-speaker Audiophile AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer; heated seats ($295); and the Audiophile stereo ($425) by itself. Late-2008 models offer an Amenities Package ($595) with rear park assist, universal garage door opener and ambient lighting.
Safety equipment on all models includes dual-stage front airbags; seat-mounted, torso-protecting front side airbags; side curtain airbags for head protection in both rows; tire-pressure monitor; LATCH child-seat anchors; rear-door child-safety locks; and antilock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake force distribution. Traction control is standard on V6 models. Rear obstacle detection is optional ($295).