What's New for 2009
For 2009, stability control is newly optional on all Milan models, though standard on none. Satellite radio is also standard on all 2009 Milans. Additionally, the stylish Voga package debuts, offering numerous aesthetic refinements inside and out.
With the plethora of midsize family sedans crowding today's marketplace, it's easy to lose sight of less prominent models like the 2009 Mercury Milan. That's unfortunate, because the Milan is pretty good at what it does. It won't wow you with its acceleration or fuel economy, but in most other respects, the Milan is a satisfyingly competent family sedan. And while it's essentially identical to its corporate twin, the Ford Fusion, the Milan's attractive exterior styling sets it apart in this largely lookalike segment.
Predictably, the Milan and Fusion share similar strengths and weaknesses. Like its blue-oval brother, the Milan is based on a stretched version of the outgoing Mazda 6 platform, which enables the midsize Mercury to combine the 6's athleticism with appreciably more passenger room. Unlike many of its competitors, the Milan also offers all-wheel drive on V6-powered models, a significant selling point for shoppers residing in colder climes. And we can no longer criticize Mercury for skimping on stability control -- it's available on every 2009 Milan. The optional Sync multimedia interface, a Ford family exclusive, is another feather in the Milan's cap.
There's only one area where the Milan could really use some improvement, and that's under the hood. Neither the base four-cylinder engine nor the optional V6 make the refined noises we expect to hear in modern family sedans, and they're down on power, too. This would be easier to swallow if there were a payoff in efficiency, but there's not -- the Milan's fuel-economy numbers are middling at best. Otherwise, though, the Milan is quite enjoyable from behind the wheel, featuring above-average handling along with a commendably cushioned ride.
There's no doubt that the 2009 Mercury Milan is a solid all-around midsize sedan. Trouble is, perennial favorites like the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima offer superior four- and six-cylinder engines while matching the Milan in all other respects, save for the Milan's available AWD. However, the Milan is more affordable than those models, and it is fully competitive with similarly priced competitors like the Chevy Malibu, Hyundai Sonata and Saturn Aura. If you don't want to pay top dollar for your next family sedan, the Milan is certainly worth a look.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2009 Mercury Milan midsize sedan is offered in two trim levels: base and Premier. The base Milan features 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, a CD/MP3 player with satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack, cruise control, full power accessories, keyless entry, a six-way power driver seat and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat.
The Milan Premier adds 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, automatic climate control, leather seating, an in-dash CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and heated side mirrors with approach lamps. Some of the Premier's features are optional on the base Milan.
Option highlights include a voice-activated navigation system, an upgraded audio system with a six-CD changer, a sunroof, a rear spoiler, heated front seats, wood-grain interior trim and Microsoft's Sync multimedia integration system. The new Voga (Spanish for "fashion") package adds unique leather upholstery and interior trim pieces as well as exterior chrome accents and exclusive 17-inch wheels.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2009 Mercury Milan's base 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine is rated at 160 horsepower and receives Partial-Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) certification in California and other California-emissions states. It's paired with a standard five-speed manual transmission in the base four-cylinder Milan, while a five-speed automatic is optional on the base model and standard on the Premier.
A 3.0-liter 221-hp V6 is optional on both the base and Premier trims. All V6-equipped Milans receive a six-speed automatic transmission, which is notable for limiting drivers to just two forward-gear gates ("D" and "L"), though many drivers probably won't miss the additional manual control. Four-cylinder Milans are front-wheel drive, while AWD is optional on V6 models.
For a midsize sedan, the Milan posts adequate but unremarkable fuel economy numbers. A 2009 Milan with the 2.3-liter four and a five-speed manual transmission rates 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway, with automatic-equipped 2.3-liter models coming in at 20/28 and 23 mpg combined. The front-wheel-drive V6 is rated at 18 mpg city/26 highway and 21 mpg combined. All-wheel-drive V6 models drop down to 17/25 and 20 mpg combined.
Antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and side-curtain airbags are standard on all 2009 Mercury Milans. A reverse parking sensor is optional.
In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration frontal-impact crash tests, the Mercury Milan earned a top five-star rating for driver and front-passenger protection. In side-impact testing, it earned five stars for front-occupant protection and four stars for rear occupants. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset and side-impact tests, the Milan received "Good" ratings -- the highest possible.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Milan's two-tone cabin seems intended to create an upscale ambiance. Satin metallic trim is standard, and imitation wood-grain trim can be added. Ergonomics are generally sound, though the standard-issue Ford stereo faceplate, replete with identical-looking blocky buttons and a tiny green readout, is seriously outdated. The standard analog clock mounted high in the center stack adds a touch of class, however.
Passengers will enjoy the Milan's ample interior dimensions. Two adults can fit in back without issues and storage space is adequate. Moreover, the Milan's 15.8-cubic-foot trunk, split-folding rear seat and fold-down front passenger seat allow bulky items to be transported inside the car.
Another desirable aspect of the Milan is its optional Sync system, which allows the integration of personal electronic devices into the center stack controls and display. With Sync, drivers and passengers can operate their cell phones, PDAs, USB storage devices, iPods or other MP3 players using voice commands.
Boasting sharp steering and a firm yet compliant suspension, the 2009 Mercury Milan offers one of the best ride/handling balances in the midsize sedan segment. Wind and road noise are hushed even at freeway speeds, and both automatic transmissions offer crisp gearchanges up or down. The V6 in particular could use more hp and refinement, but the Milan is still an unusually rewarding family sedan from the driver seat.