I'm not a minivan fan, but for our family outings it's what we drive. As far as value for the money I think it's hard to beat this Ford. It's comfortable for 2 adults and 5 children ages 2 to 11, but I see the need for something larger as our children get older. We average 19-21 mpg and have had no major mechanical problems in our first 47000 miles. We have had minor cooling system problems, and a nuisance problem with a door indicating it's open when it's actually closed. Both problems where repaired reasonably by a local private shop. All in all I think it'd be tough to beat this vehicle for the money.
We test drove Toyota, Honda, Chrysler, & Dodge minivans when we bought the Ford. The Ford has the most powerful engine. To be honest they all seem pretty gutless but the Ford without question had better acceleration which is important to me.
I think Ford has taken care of my biggest complaint in the new Freestar. Taking the rear seats in & out isn't easy. Also as with most minivans more cargo area would be nice.