Full 2007 Ford Freestyle Review
What's New for 2007
Trim levels and option packages are realigned on the 2007 Ford Freestyle, as Ford deletes the base SE trim. Effective with the September 2006 production run, all Freestyles come standard with front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, an alarm system and heated mirrors. Additionally, all Limited models now have 18-inch wheels. Ford has also increased drivetrain warranty coverage to five years/60,000 miles.
A crossover in the truest sense of the word, the 2007 Ford Freestyle effectively blends the seating capacity and flexibility of a minivan; the efficiency and maneuverability of a station wagon; and the all-weather capability of an SUV. Ultimately, the wagon identity takes precedence on the Freestyle, but it's one of only a few wagons on the market with a forward-facing third-row seat that's large and comfortable enough to use day in and day out. Six-passenger seating is standard, but if you order a bench seat in the second row, you've got a seven-passenger vehicle that can carry a half-dozen bags of groceries while in full carpool mode.
As practical as it sounds, the Freestyle has never sold in the numbers Ford had hoped for since its introduction for the 2005 model year. There's a very simple reason for this: The Freestyle is underpowered. Charged with the task of propelling a 4000-pound wagon, the standard 203-horsepower Duratec V6 delivers acceptable acceleration around town but struggles at highway speeds. The more passengers and luggage you pack in, the slower the Freestyle feels, which takes some of the fun out of road trips.
It's unfortunate, because the Freestyle wagon is well qualified for family duty in most other areas. It shares a platform with Volvo's XC90, and this results in a smooth ride and nimble handling. A low step-in height makes it easy for preschoolers to climb in and out, and the hinged rear doors open wide enough for easy car seat installation. The controls are logically arranged and simple to use, and you can fold both the second- and third-row seats flat into the floor without studying the owner's manual. A rear-seat DVD entertainment system is available, and with a cupholder count of 14, no one will go thirsty. Were it not for its weak V6, the 2007 Ford Freestyle would be one of our top recommendations to parents who don't want to drive a minivan. But as it is, this wagon is merely one candidate to consider among the many six-, seven- and eight-seaters in this price range.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Ford Freestyle is a large wagon with three rows of seating. It's available in SEL and Limited trim levels. Standard second-row captain chairs provide six-passenger seating capacity, but either trim can be equipped with a 60/40-split second-row bench seat that increases capacity to seven.
The SEL comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, two-tone exterior paint, privacy glass, air-conditioning, a six-way power driver seat, an in-dash CD changer, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, full power accessories, cruise control, a trip computer and heated mirrors. If you go for the Freestyle Limited, you'll get 18-inch wheels, a monochromatic paint job, leather upholstery in the first and second rows, wood grain interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, power adjustments for both front seats (along with memory for the driver), front-seat heaters, an upgraded sound system, a second-row console, 50/50-split capability for the third-row bench and a cargo net.
Options include a navigation system, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, rear-seat climate controls and a moonroof. Sirius satellite radio is also available, but only if you skip the rear DVD player.
Powertrains and Performance
Available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD), the Freestyle is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 capable of 203 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard and offers all the convenience of a conventional automatic along with infinitely variable gear ratios for better fuel economy. Front-drive Freestyles earn a 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway EPA rating, while AWD models drop to 19/24.
Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard, as is traction control. Stability control is not available. The 2007 Ford Freestyle has your family covered on the passive safety front, as both front seat-mounted side-impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags (with a rollover sensor) are standard. Reverse parking sensors and adjustable pedals are optional on all Freestyles; the pedals include a memory feature on Limited models. The Freestyle earned a perfect five stars in all frontal- and side-impact crash tests conducted by the NHTSA. In IIHS frontal offset testing, the Freestyle got a rating of "Good," the highest possible.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Freestyle's cabin is simple and functional with lots of convenient storage. The second and third rows offer enough legroom to seat both adults and children comfortably. The standard second-row captain's chairs can be adjusted fore and aft to provide more legroom for third-row passengers, while the optional 60/40 bench seat is nonadjustable. Materials quality is hit-or-miss. The Limited's leather upholstery looks and feels good to the touch, but the cloth upholstery in SEL models is unimpressive, as are some of the interior plastics. A deep 17.6-cubic-foot cargo well provides a good deal of space for groceries, even when all three rows of seating are in use. When you need more room, both the second- and third-row seats fold flat into the floor, providing up to 85 cubic feet of cargo capacity.
Acceleration is adequate around town, but the V6 quickly runs out of steam during highway passing maneuvers, especially when the Freestyle is loaded up with passengers and gear. Power delivery is noisy and unrefined, which can grate on occupants' nerves. Ride dynamics, on the other hand, are impressive, as the Freestyle's fully independent suspension delivers a smooth, refined ride quality and responsive handling around corners.