What's New for 2007
There are no changes to the 2007 Mercury Monterey minivan, though drivetrain warranty coverage increases to five years/60,000 miles.
Luxury-themed minivans have become popular among consumers with a bit more money to spend on family transportation. Although most still buy these vehicles for their sliding-door convenience and high seating capacity, many buyers now equip their vans with such features as navigation systems, rearview cameras and power liftgates. In an effort to reach out to this type of minivan shopper, Mercury introduced its upscale Monterey for the 2004 model year.
Unlike the smaller Mercury Villager minivan sold from 1993-2002, the 2007 Mercury Monterey is not related in any way to the Nissan Quest. Instead, it's a ritzier twin of the Ford Freestar. Aside from the fact that the Monterey has different styling, a few more optional amenities and only comes with a 4.2-liter V6, the two vans are identical. Alas, these shared genetics do not really work in the Monterey's favor. The Freestar platform is quite aged, and not only does this take away from the Monterey's handling capabilities, it results in an interior that feels less spacious than competitors' cabins. The Mercury's optional two-tone leather seats with built-in heating and cooling elements may divert your attention from this shortcoming for awhile, but scrutinize your surroundings and you'll notice other problems like low-grade materials, inconsistent build quality and a third-row seat that folds only as a single piece (rather than offering the flexibility of a 60/40 split). Plus, many of the key luxury minivan features simply aren't available on the Monterey, among these a nav system, a backup camera, Bluetooth connectivity, rear sunshades, even a sunroof.
Unfortunately, the situation doesn't get much better out on the road. The V6 feels strained during highway merging and passing attempts, and it returns the lowest gas mileage of any six-cylinder in this class. Ride quality is comfortable, at least, and with the Monterey's standard array of airbags and favorable crash test scores, families will be well protected in the event of a collision. However, competitors like the Honda Odyssey, Hyundai Entourage, Toyota Sienna and Nissan Quest are just as safe, while offering superior acceleration, handling capabilities and overall refinement. Accordingly, we'd advise giving them strong consideration before spending your money on the Mercury Monterey.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The seven-passenger 2007 Mercury Monterey minivan comes in one size and one trim level: Luxury. Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, dual power-sliding side doors, privacy glass, dual-zone manual air-conditioning (with a separate rear fan unit and controls), an in-dash CD changer, a power driver seat with memory, a wood/leather steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, full power accessories and an external temperature display.
On the options list, you'll find both regular leather seats and two-tone leather seats with heating and cooling elements for the driver and front passenger. Other items to consider include automatic climate control, a power liftgate, a rear DVD entertainment system, a power front-passenger seat and 17-inch wheels. You can also get a two-passenger second-row bench instead of the standard captain's chairs as a no-cost option. Additionally, this is one of only a few minivans to offer mobility preparation as a factory option; select this package and your Monterey will come with heavy-duty springs and no second-row seat to accommodate an aftermarket wheelchair-lift installation.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2007 Mercury Monterey has just one available engine, a 4.2-liter V6 that delivers 201 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. A standard four-speed automatic transmission directs power to the front wheels. EPA fuel estimates are 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, below average for the minivan segment.
Four-wheel antilock disc brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution are standard on all Monterey minivans. Also standard are front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags that span all three rows of seating, power-adjustable pedals, a tire-pressure monitor and parking sensors on both the front and rear bumpers -- a rarity in this class. The AdvanceTrac stability control system (which incorporates a panic brake assist feature) and self-sealing tires are optional.
The Monterey earned a perfect five stars in NHTSA frontal-impact crash tests; in side-impact tests, it received four stars for front-occupant protection and five stars for the rear. In 40-mph frontal-offset crash testing conducted by the IIHS, the Mercury minivan picked up a "Good" rating (the highest on a scale of four). The IIHS rates it "Acceptable" (second highest) for side-impact safety.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, the 2007 Mercury Monterey has a clean dash design and a shapely steering wheel; equipped with the two-tone leather upholstery, it's an attractive ensemble. Unfortunately, the quality of the materials leaves something to be desired. More problematic for families is the shortage of legroom in the second row -- even toddlers can't avoid kicking the backs of the front seats. The Monterey has the requisite fold-flat third-row seat, but it folds only as a single piece (instead of offering a more useful 60/40-split as in most other minivans). The second-row seats are removable, but the operation is harder to perform than it should be. Maximum cargo capacity is 134 cubic feet, low for a van this size.
On the road, the Monterey performs adequately. The big V6 offers ample power around town, but it tires quickly during merging and passing maneuvers on the highway. In addition, power delivery is noisy and unrefined compared to other six-cylinders in this class. The van's soft suspension provides a comfortable ride, but allows too much body roll around corners. Steering feel isn't bad, but with a 40-foot turning circle, Mercury's minivan isn't terribly nimble in tight spaces.