The Car Connection Ford Freestyle Overview
The Ford Freestyle is a crossover wagon that was sold between the 2005 and 2007 model years. A companion to the Five Hundred sedan, both vehicles and also the Mercury Montego sedan, were some of the first products Ford derived from its then-partner company Volvo. All were spun off from the architecture under the Volvo S80 and XC90--Volvo's "P2" architecture, which became known as "D3" in its Ford iteration.
With chunky, somewhat awkward styling enforced by the Volvo underpinnings, the Freestyle wasn't a lovely creature, and it had an interior that seemed overly simplified and too inexpensive for its $25,000 price point. Performance was another failing: it sported a six-cylinder engine that barely put out 200 horsepower in its first year on sale, and coupled that meager power to a continuously variable transmission. Ford said its CVT had the same multi-link belt that Audi uses in its CVTs, where it also was used with a high-torque V-6 engine. All the puffery couldn't disguise sluggish CVT responses and thin V-6 torque: Ford promised it would dash to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds, and would reach a top speed of just 110 mph.However, the Freestyle did function acceptably as an all-weather wagon, thanks to an available all-wheel-drive system shared with the Volvo XC90, which used an electro-hydraulic limited-slip coupling that could shift most of the engine's output to the rear wheels in slippery driving conditions.
Space and comfort were better propositions with the Freestyle. Capable of carrying as many as seven passengers, the Freestyle had theater seating in its rear two rows of seats, and expansive leg room. The rear two rows of seats also could fold flat for better cargo space. By the numbers, the Freestyle sported a 112.9-inch wheelbase, with an overall length of 199.8 inches, making it a direct competitor for the contemporary Chrysler Pacifica. In Ford's estimation, the Freestyle had a much more usable third-row seat than the Pacifica, while delivering more cargo area when the third-row seat is in use.
Changes were few over the Freestyle's short life. Side airbags became an option in 2006, and so did a navigation system. Side and curtain airbags became standard in the 2007 model year. Options eventually included features like dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable pedals, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.
For the 2008 model year, the Freestyle was renamed the Taurus X, as Ford also renamed the companion Five Hundred sedan under the heritage Taurus moniker. The Taurus X itself was cancelled after just two years as Ford prepared a new Explorer based on the same architecture.