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Freestar by Bengt Halvorson
Perfectly practical, adequately sophisticated.
Ford Revamps Mercury On The
Cheap by Bengt Halvorson (11/3/2003)
Bringing in another new interpretation of the old Mercury formula means spending very little. But will ventures like the Monterey succeed?
I remember how I initially discovered that The Wife was going to deliver our first child within the next 24 hours: She started scrubbing baseboards in our home with Spic‘n’Span and a toothbrush. The nesting instinct, as it was later explained to me, consists of a reflexive preoccupation with domestic detail surging up from some deep Darwinian wellspring.
I was reminded of this frenetic episode of pre-natal nest-building by the presenters who recently introduced the 2004 Mercury Monterey to an automotive press corps assembled on the shores of Lake Michigan. “It’s as much a minivan for the growing family,” said John Fitzpatrick, Mercury’s marketing boss, “as it is for the empty-nesters whose children may have gone but whose lifestyles remain active and diverse.”
For the record, I’m a “’tween” according to Mercury’s particular interpretation of nesting chronology; but there is much in this first full-size minivan from Mercury to suggest that its designers have been especially preoccupied with delivering a vehicle that is as domestically comprehensive as possible.
Nascence and essence
A bit of “birds-and-bees,” to start, will identify where the Monterey comes from. In short, it’s Mercury’s version of the new Ford Freestar minivan, which replaces the venerable Ford Windstar, now retired. Many will, of course, remember Mercury’s compact Villager minivan, which quietly departed the scene not long ago. The Monterey is not, strictly speaking, the Villager’s replacement, for the simple reason that its long wheelbase, three rows of seating, and huge cargo bay dwarf those of its predecessor.