What's New for 2007
All 2007 Ford Freestars come standard with stability control, brake assist and a third-row bench that can flip around to provide tailgate seating.
The minivan segment is one of the most competitive for automakers. Consumers have very specific requirements for convenience features, upscale amenities and even driving performance, and it takes the right combination of these elements, plus top safety ratings and an appealing price tag, to be a leader in this class. A leadership role has always eluded the Ford Freestar, which debuted for the 2004 model year as a lightly refreshed replacement for Ford's Windstar minivan. Although the 2007 Ford Freestar scores well on the safety front, it fails to meet the class standards in most other areas, from acceleration and handling to cabin design and materials quality.
The problems begin as soon as you get behind the wheel, as the Freestar's old-tech V6 engines provide disappointing acceleration and fuel economy at highway speeds while making a racket that grates on occupants' nerves. Ride quality and steering feel aren't bad, but mushy suspension tuning gives the van an ungainly feel when rounding corners. Loading passengers into Ford's minivan reveals further issues. For starters, there's so little legroom in the second row that even toddlers can't help but kick the back of your seat. Removing those second-row chairs is also much harder than it should be. The third-row seat folds flat into the floor, but it's a single-piece bench rather than a split-folding design, which gives you less flexibility when carrying a mix of passengers and cargo. There are also a number of upscale features found in other minivans that the Freestar simply doesn't offer, among these a navigation system, a rearview backup camera and a high-end audio system. To top it off, we've found that build quality is below average, with misaligned panels readily visible to the naked eye.
On the whole, the 2007 Ford Freestar is ill-equipped to compete in today's minivan segment. Class leaders like the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna surpass it in all areas, as do less elite vans like the Kia Sedona, Hyundai Entourage, Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country. If you're shopping for a minivan this year, there are plenty of better choices than the Freestar.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Ford Freestar minivan seats seven and is available in three trim levels -- SE, SEL and Limited. (There's also a cargo version with no rear seats that's aimed at contractors.) Base SE models start you out with 16-inch steel wheels, privacy glass, full power accessories, air-conditioning, a two-passenger second-row bench seat, a CD player, cruise control and keyless entry. Step up to the SEL and you get alloy wheels, tri-zone air-conditioning (with separate rear controls), a power driver seat, second-row captain's chairs, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an overhead console with a compass and temperature display. The high-line Freestar Limited includes chrome wheels, heated mirrors with puddle lamps, power sliding doors, leather upholstery, a leather/wood steering wheel, automatic climate control, an upgraded sound system with rear-seat audio controls, a trip computer and an analog clock.
Options include items like 17-inch wheels, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a power liftgate and, on the Limited only, heated front seats. Oddly, a sunroof is not available on the Freestar.
Powertrains and Performance
Two engines are available. Base SE models come with a 3.9-liter V6 that produces 193 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. Standard on the Freestar SEL and Limited is a 4.2-liter V6 that makes just 201 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models. The Freestar's fuel economy ratings are below average: The SE model has an 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway EPA rating, while the SEL and Limited come in at just 17/23.
Four-wheel antilock disc brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist are standard on all Freestars, as is a stability control system and a tire-pressure monitor. Side curtain airbags that span all three rows of seating are optional on all trim levels, but front seat-mounted side airbags are not available. Any Freestar can be equipped with self-sealing tires, reverse parking sensors or power-adjustable pedals; on Limited models, the pedals have a memory feature. The Ford Freestar earned five stars (the best possible) for its performance in NHTSA frontal impact tests. For side-impact safety ratings, the van received four stars for front-occupant protection and five stars for rear passengers. The IIHS gave the Freestar a "Good" rating (the highest on a scale of four) for its performance in the 40-mph frontal-offset crash test. In IIHS side-impact testing, the van rates "Acceptable" (the second-highest score) when equipped with the side curtain airbags and "Poor" (the lowest) without them.
Interior Design and Special Features
Ford designers have equipped the Freestar with a shapely dash and steering wheel, and attractive materials. Good as the materials look, they feel cheap to the touch and are, on the whole, below average for the minivan class. Legroom in the second row can be tight for adults and children alike, and the seats themselves are hard to remove when you need to make way for cargo. The third-row seat folds flat, but only as a single piece (rather than offering a 60/40 split as on most competitors). On the plus side, it flips over to form a tailgate bench -- a nice convenience at the stadium parking lot. Maximum cargo capacity is 135.7 cubic feet, lower than most vans in this class.
The 2007 Ford Freestar meets the minimum requirements of most minivan buyers: It provides adequate power and a comfortable ride. Either V6 engine offers enough power for easy around-town travel, but their vigor fades quickly during highway passing maneuvers. Neither one scores well in the refinement department, as they're noisier than most other V6s in this segment. Although the steering feels solid, the Freestar's overly soft suspension tuning results in clumsy handling around corners. The van's turning circle is also fairly wide at an even 40 feet.