By on June 11, 2007

front.jpgMilan is the fashion capital of Italy. Step off the tourist trail and it’s a combination of industrial parks and urban sprawl with only slightly more charm than Trenton, New Jersey. Still, you have got to give Ford’s beleaguered near-luxury division credit for naming their hecho-en-Mexico Fusion derivative after the home of Alfa Romeo, rather than resorting to the alphanumerics afflicting Lincoln’s take on the same model. But the question remains: is Mercury’s glammed-up Fusion a credible fashionista or an industrial waste?     

The Milan's grill is the most striking difference between Mercury’s mid-market sedan and the car upon which it's based. While Ford decorated their front wheel-driver’s front room with Venetian blinds, Mercury opted for verticals. Less obviously, the Milan’s lower front fascia is more pronounced, the bright work less blingy, the wheels statelier and the rear lights look less… like an aftermarket afterthought.

Subtle as they are, the changes work. The Milan projects greater maturity and wealth than its FoMoCo donormobile. And compared to the redesigned Toyota Camry, whose front-end looks like a saggy-nosed boxer after years of cartilage pulverizing abuse, the Milan is elegantly beautiful.

Color has a Jekyll and Hyde effect on Milan’s mien. The more vibrant hues– Redfire Red, Ebony Black and Dark Blue Pearl– establish a welcome contrast to the crystalline headlight cluster and chrome accents, projecting the requisite eau de upmarket. Conversely, the bland non-color tones– Charcoal Beige, Dune Pearl, Light Tundra, Satellite Silver, Silver Frost or Tungsten Silver— create a pale and pasty pallet of pernicious pabulum.

interior2.jpgThe Milan’s interior is proof positive that Ford knows how to design and assemble a comfortable, graceful and ergonomic interior. OK, the panel gaps around the dash top cubby can be seen from outer space. And most of the luxury stuff that should be basic– automatic climate control, heated seats, leather wrapped steering wheel with secondary controls, etc.– is optional (bumping the Milan's price towards the Lincoln Fusion homonym). But there are some genuinely nice touches.

For example, the Milan’s center-mounted analog clock is so-not-plastic and the wood is. And kudos to Ford Mercury for the clever center storage bin that combines an MP3 jack, Nintendo-friendly power point and change holder. 

The Milan’s elegant monochromatic gauges could use a touch of red, as in REDLINE. While it’s not a concern when driving a Milan equipped with a five-speed automatic, pistonheads opting for stick shift (available on the four cylinder engine) must rely on their ears to avoid triggering the engine’s self-preservation software.

06mercurymilan_12.jpgAs with the Fusion, the Milan comes in a choice of a 2.3-liter in-line four or a 3.0-liter Duratec V6. The four-cylinder mill produces a class appropriate power (160hp @ 6250rpm) and economy (23/31mpg). It revs effortlessly and remains suitably hushed at cruising speed.

Unfortunately, the manual transmission’s 3.31:1 first gear ratio is a little too much for an engine whose 150ft.-lbs. peak torque doesn’t arrive until 4250rpm. (Translation: unless you rev the engine and dump the clutch north of 3000rpm, you ain't going nowhere fast.)

The V6 Milan delivers an altogether different driving experience. Mated to a six-speed slushbox, the silken six-cylinder engine puts Toyota’s, Nissan’s and Honda’s mills to shame, redefining smooth, effortless, frugal and dependable power for the entire mid-size market.

Just kidding.

Don’t get me wrong: the Duratec is a fine engine. But discriminating buyers will notice that the Milan’s 221hp six banger quickly runs out of puff, especially compared to Honda Accord (244hp) Toyota Camry (268hp) and Nissan Altima (270hp). The Milan's mill is also a pretty thrashy unit, with a decidedly downmarket sonic signature.

While the Milan’s mechanical anemia should eliminate torque steer, it doesn’t. Under hard acceleration, the sedan's front end rises like a powerboat as the forward donuts scrabble for purchase. For less adrenal (read: older) buyers, it’s no biggie. These comfort-oriented customers will be well satisfied with the Milan’s sophisticated short and long arm (SLA) front and multi-link rear suspenders. So equipped, the magic carpet Milan surmounts highway irregularities with near-Camry refinement. 

06mercurymilan_31.jpgOn the fun-to-drive side of things, the Milan carves corners with Accordian poise and precision. I'm not saying the mid-sized Merc begs to be whipped. But when your inner hooligan tempts your soul, the Milan has enough spring in its step to keep everyone heading in the right direction.  

At the end of my test drive, I asked my handler why anyone would buy a Mercury Milan over a Ford Fusion. “Why eat with a plastic fork when you can dine with a silver spoon?” I reckon that depends on what and where you’re eating. And even if we accept the analogy, the Milan is, at best, a silver plated plastic fork.

Anyway, the bottom line: for around $600 over the Fusion SE, you can buy a few optional trim choices and a slightly nicer looking ride. And that’s about it. I don't know about you, but that doesn’t sound very glamorous to me. 

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50 Comments on “Mercury Milan Review...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    If you want a V6 sedan and you are comparing the Milan to the Camry and Accord – and you don’t want torque steer, get the AWD version. It is still cheaper than the others.

    You are right to ask why you should buy a Milan over the Fusion. Even Ford’s sales training for the Milan says its the same car, then lists the subtle differences. Aside from the styling differences, the options are packaged differently, resulting in different pricing (ABS is standard vs optional on the Fusion).

    Strangely, customers don’t cross shop the 2 cars, clearly preferring one over the other. I even had one lady tell me the Milan was heavier and more substantial than the Fusion.

  • avatar
    JJ

    …new Ford Mondeo…

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    “new Ford Mondeo” i wish

    If only it was a Mondeo – it will keep aftermarket suppliers in business i guess. if only there was a 2 litre turbo 4wd (manual)

  • avatar
    shaker

    The Milan looks a bit “chunkier” (more substantial) than the Fusion, and loses the annoying silver “bling” surrounding the taillights. Just the right touches to appeal to the “more mature” buyer. Mercury is not marketing this vehicle very well; I’ve seen few around, yet it’s the “Cats” best effort in a long time…

  • avatar
    Sid Vicious

    Mark my words – the history books will show that the last thing that Ford Motor ever got truly “right” was choosing Jill Wagner as the Mercury chick.

    FoMoCo’s badge engineering is soooooooo tiring. Stop the insanity.

    Intersting to note that the only really positive points in this review are the pieces parts that Mazda supplied (engineered.)

  • avatar

    Sid Vicious:

    Funny you should mention that. As you can see from above, Ford doesn’t offer a wealth of PR photos for this model. So we toyed with the idea of putting a shot of Jill in the review.

    Unfortunately, Ford PR doesn’t have any good Jill with Mercury shots either– which tells you even more about their promotional instincts.

    Anyway, someone at Ford should have said to Peter Horbury “I want a Mercury that’s as sexy as Jill Wagner.” I mean, when the babe upstages the car, Houston, you’ve got a problem.

    Oh, and about the Milan…

    It’s a terrific little platform, but I think Mr. Lieberman nailed it: the stripper Fusion is the best of the hecho-en-Mexico triplets.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I looked at a Nissan Altima Coupe the other day; it has (IIRC) 80% “Domestic” content (both engines USA, CVT tranny; Japan), and is built in Tennesee; the Fusion/Milan 20% “Domestic” content, and is built in Mexico… Stop the insanity, indeed!

  • avatar

    The paragraph before the “just kidding” totally suckered me. I’m like, “How could he possibly be writing this?”

    Ford needs to get the new 3.5 into this car. AWD is already available to cure the torque steer issue.

    For price comparisons and reliability information:

    http://www.truedelta.com/models/Milan.php

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Interesting article from Warren Brown at WaPo (believe reg. required, use bugmenot) about how Mercury’s marketing to women appears to have worked. Quote:

    It apparently makes perfect sense for Ford to hold on to its Mercury Division, the elimination of which I have advocated for several years.

    Although it is terribly difficult for me to admit this — so convinced was I of the rightness of my position — it makes even more sense for Mercury to target women in its product development and marketing strategies.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/10/AR2007051000949.html

  • avatar
    chainyanker

    I’m expecting the phrase ‘badge engineering’ to be used a few hundred more times here in the comments but the fact is the people buying this car don’t even know what that phrase means and wouldn’t care if they did. My wife and I shopped the trio (before finding a real nice Mazda 3) and she had no idea they were the same basic car until I told her.

    And say what you want about the Duratec, that bulletproof engine is a big reason these cars are topping the reliability charts and ford was wise to use that proven motor. Of course, that’s not to say they shouldn’t be planning on something more refined for the next update.

  • avatar

    I recently rented the Lincoln MKZ version of this car; it was presentable, reasonably quiet and had all of the ‘old guy’ touches which Ford attaches to Lincolns in their continuing effort to keep the median buyer age above 60. Sadly, compared to the ‘droopy-nosed’ Camry, it comes up short in all but exterior appearance. If someone cross-shops with an Accord, the MKZ (who found this name???) doesn’t look like a good choice.

    We should give Mazda credit for the greatest number of cloned Mazda6 cars, however. And at least it has handling prowess over the Camcord.

  • avatar
    Seth

    Why they didnt make this car more wider is beyond me.. All it takes is couple more inches to the width and voila they can double their sales.. Nowadays cars are made to fit a maximum of two adults both in front and back. Throw in a car seat and you have a serious problem. Granted, one doesnt use the extra width all the time but when you need it, you’d be glad you made the right choice.

  • avatar
    partsisparts

    I have an 06 Fusion SEL V6 with 26k on it. All I can say is it is a great car. Handles like it is on rails and has plenty of power. Also it has never been in the shop for anything other than regular maintenance. This car and it’s siblings deserves a look from the Detroit Haters. It is as good if not better than it’s competition.

  • avatar
    whitenose

    The V6 delivers an altogether different driving experience. Mated to a six-speed slushbox, the Milan’s six-cylinder engine puts Toyota’s, Nissan’s and Honda’s silken mills to shame, redefining smooth, effortless, frugal and dependable power for the entire mid-size market.

    You realize when you write this sort of thing, they can grab just this section of the quote and place it in advertising without context? For this reason, it’s probably best to avoid the ‘It’s wonderful. Not.’ construction in reviews.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    shaker:
    “I looked at a Nissan Altima Coupe the other day; it has (IIRC) 80% “Domestic” content (both engines USA, CVT tranny; Japan), and is built in Tennesee; the Fusion/Milan 20% “Domestic” content, and is built in Mexico… Stop the insanity, indeed”

    Can’t quite go with you on insanity—but you bring up a fair point and one that I have wrestled with.

    Based on my horrible experience with German brands (BMW & VW)I have returned to domestics(I never had problems with my prior domestics)and will probably buy / lease a 4 door and make my Mustang GT a weekend car.

    For the reasons you listed…made in Mexico + 20% domestic content…I could not consider either of the 3 (Fusion/Milan/MKZ)as a new car purchase…would probably go to the Aura….very good car…truer domestic

    But as a 2 year old used car (especially the AWD MKZ due to longer Lincoln warranty) either of the three would be a compelling value choice.

  • avatar
    Scott28

    Just to correct the information about domestic content – the window sticker on the Milan says 50%.

  • avatar
    26theone

    “Bottom line: for a little extra coin (around $600) over the Fusion SE, you buy a few optional trim choices and a nicer looking ride. And that’s about it. That doesn’t sound very glamorous to me.”

    Factor in the abysmal depreciation and it will be more than a $600 upcharge over the Ford.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Scott28:
    I was looking at a 4cyl Fusion with an automatic (I beleive) early last year on a Ford lot- I was amazed at the 80/20 “non-domestic” content. I remember that the “content sticker” of the Focus, was 80/20 Domestic… suppliers may have changed in the interim.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Mr. Farago you stole my thunder.

    Unless you offer a picture of the car without the babe, I don’t think anyone will know what the car looks like. (Hopefully Ms. Wagner will still keep her job, otherwise I wouldn’t watch the commercials at all.)

    I am afraid that looks alone are not the problem with Mercuries, its the fact that they are Fords, and thats too much baggage for anything other than a big SUV to carry.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    I’ve see a few of these around here – i think they are strikingly good looking, and less expensive that you would think. I do think its worth a little more money to gain a bit of exclusivity – these are not gonna be all over the place. I have also heard (in TTAC) that the 4 banger and the manual shifter in the ford badge product at least, is a real fun ride. Good for Ford ..er.. Mercury… whatever…

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    If the Milan had the MKZ’s level of interior uniqueness, it would be a fantastic example of badge engineering done right. The car is already a good step up from a Fusion from the outside.

    Make the Milan less of a Fusion and then kill off the MKZ. Add A/C seats, 3.5L V6, etc to the options list so people have a good reason to not want a Fusion/Camry/Accord.

    Lincoln doesn’t need a dressed up Mazda 6 sedan, but Mercury certainly does.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I sat in the Fusion, Milan and the MKZ at the New York auto show in April. And, I have to admit, I came away pretty impressed. There is great virtue in all three models, although the value is clearly with the Ford and Mercury.

    Maybe I’m getting old, but I actually like the the Milan’s appearance over the Fusion (but not so old that I don’t still truly enjoy looking at Jill Wagner). It’s probably the first Mercury since the 1967 Cougar that I actually like better than its Ford-branded equivalent.

    But I’d really love a two-door. And, please, bring on the 3.5-liter V6 for the Fusion and Milan. Then Ford can bump the MKZ up to 300-hp.

  • avatar
    radimus

    Why they didnt make this car more wider is beyond me.. All it takes is couple more inches to the width and voila they can double their sales.. Nowadays cars are made to fit a maximum of two adults both in front and back. Throw in a car seat and you have a serious problem. Granted, one doesnt use the extra width all the time but when you need it, you’d be glad you made the right choice.

    Seth, that’s what the Crown Vic with the Premium Sport Handling package is for.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Landcrusher:
    “I am afraid that looks alone are not the problem with Mercuries, its the fact that they are Fords, and thats too much baggage for anything other than a big SUV to carry”

    A bit of a overstatement—new launches including the Mustang, Fusion trio, Edge etc have done quite well sales wise with the Ford badge—500 / Freestyle have not.

    What all have done, however,is launch with good quality (something recent launches Toyota cannot claim)—which–if kept up for an extended period will help the Ford brand re-build.

  • avatar
    pdub

    It looks great and handles well, but the 4 cylinder revs high when pushed and as a result is noisy. It leaves me feeling as a driving enthusiast like I need a 6 cylinder, but I personally would rather not spend the extra cash and also take the loss in gas mileage. 160 hp is the class standard, but Nissan’s 175hp rated Altima and Subaru’s similarly rated Legacy don’t have to redline when boarding the highway. Ford should consider a hp boost to the 4 cylinder when they upgrade the 3.0L to the 3.5L just to give it an extra edge over Camcord and bring it in line with Altima.

    The only other complaints I have are limited rear visibility and too close proximity of my head to the C-pillar when sitting in the back seat. One gets used to the rear visibility (the design would otherwise resemble a mid-90s Camry) but if you’re sitting in back a stout bump will send your noggin into the plastic.

    I don’t have any problem with the Milan being assembled in Mexico. It is one of the best cars Ford has ever made. Reliability has been outstanding. If it didn’t come with such a stigma, the cost-savings and high quality would justify building Ford’s entire product line south of the border.

    BTW, I concur with assessments made that Mercurys appeal to females more than Fords. That has been definitely been the case at the Ford and Lincoln-Mercury dealerships where I work.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Maybe after Ford sells Jaq and Land Rover they can spend some money on Mercury and Lincoln. Although I must say the Jaguar CXF is a great looking concept car.

  • avatar
    chamar

    none the less, the CD3 trio from Ford is definte evidence that they still wish to sell cars to the North American Consumer.

    Btw, it’d be nice if someone can help me find the sales #s for Fusion and Camcord, because up here in Toronto/Mississauga region the # of fusions have exploded, in my street alone there are 3 Fusions and couple Ford Edge.

    If anything Fusion must be up there with Camcord sales in my area.

  • avatar
    Tomb Z

    … when your inner hooligan tempts your soul…

    May I suggest ‘inner hoonigan’?

    Or would that be too much?

    Very nice review.

  • avatar

    I don’t understand Ford. They can’t share hidden items such as seat tracks, hood prop rods or window motors, but they’ll grab the radio straight out of a $12k Focus and put it in this car? Madness.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Usually you can buy a Mercury, cheaper than an identically equiped Ford, because the dealers are less interested in them, they only care about Lincolns.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Just one request from a long-time reader and poster…now that even the smiling “each car is perfect” fossils on MotorWeek use the word “bling” at least 3 times an episode, can we finally retire that word? Just a request.

    Also, there was a jogging of the memory when I saw Johnny’s name – what ever happened that anyone can tell us, regarding Edmunds vs TTAC?

    I strongly believe that if Ford doesn’t give up on this like they have given up on cars in the past, this could be the car that turns it around. It is the right size for most buyers, it has the right economy (and would make for a decent hybrid), it can be a global car so Ford can chuck some of the older-tech engines for newer spec ones, and the styling is (in these eyes) a lot better than the current Camry. (I still like the simplicity of the 07 Accord style, the “we finally shrunk the butt” style of the new Altima, and I’ve always like the exterior of the Mazda6. With a few minor tweaks to the chunky grille and taillights, we have a winner in the Fusion and Milan.)

  • avatar
    jurisb

    mercury still hasn`t got a single its own model. how can one call it a brand, if it doesn`t have cars? your sales drop? why shouldn`t they if you don`t have your own cars. milan should be compared to it`s parent- mazda 6. because actually, let`s open eyes , it`s a pure japanese car- japanese gearboxes, japanese and german engines, japanese chassis. platform, japanese, german electronics. the question is how little domestic content you have to leave inside the car to sell it as american mercury? don`t you guys see, at first its platform, then engines, gearboxes, next- sheetmetal will be purely japanese. why should you buy a japanese mazda 6 in an american mercury sauce ( with all the quality issues associated), if you can buy a pure japanese mazda 6. because this is american? it`s an illusion of american. fake wood venner is better? the american patient is survivng only on japanese donors. like american industry in whole.

  • avatar
    danms6

    jurisb:

    Point well received, and I agree with you for the most part. However, it’s not set up exactly the same as the Mazda6. The ride is softer and less sporty due to a little extra weight. Overall, I believe some people are willing to trade some handling for a little more comfort yet not be doomed to driving an appliance.

  • avatar

    The 6 speed automatic transmission in these vehicles pose problems for drivers, the driver can only choose between “D” and “L”. this results in constant upshifts and downshifts that are a hazzard as well as being annoying, also the Ford V6 uses a lot of Gasoline and with todays high prices for same, not a good deal for any owner!

  • avatar
    umterp85

    jurisb: “why should you buy a japanese mazda 6 in an american mercury sauce ( with all the quality issues associated), if you can buy a pure japanese mazda 6″

    Interesting question you pose…the “japanese mazda 6″ is actually built in Flat Rock Mich…while the mazda 6 with “american mercury sauce” is built in Mexico…go figure.

    BTW…I am assuming you mean exceptional quality in the Mercury Milan when you say “with all the quality issues associated”…the Milan beats the Accord, Camry and for that matter any other mid-size car in quality as shown by JD Powers, Consumer Reports, and others.

  • avatar
    partsisparts

    Gentle Ted:
    Have you driven these cars?? I get 25mpg with my V6 Fusion combined driving. The transmission does not act like you described at all. The car drives very well, much better than the japanese competition.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Umterp,

    Perhaps a bit of an overstatement, but not much of one given the market share and profits of yesteryear. They lost customers one at a time over many, many years.

    Besides it was a good pun. It seems Fords sell better the higher their capacity :)

  • avatar
    GS650G

    How about a TTAC review of the car babes that ad these vehicles complete with star ratings. Start with Jill and work you way over to the eye candy in the Subaru Imprezza.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    MKZ — Mortal Combat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • avatar
    zacarious

    Nice review but you forgot two critical pieces of info … 1st: Your failure to mention the Mercury Girl (Jill Wagner http://www.myspace.com/jillwagner) at least once is criminal, any article about the brand or any of its vehicles should contain at least one throwaway line about the Mercury Girl, you just have to. 2nd: You failed to mention that SEAT (VW’s Spanish arm) is looking for thier rear lights back. Everytime I see the back of a Milan, i think Seat, which is a good thing … right? maybe not but it is Euro

  • avatar
    rtz

    Had a Fusion as a rental a while back. Was it an ’06 or ’07 model I just don’t recall even though at the time, I personally searched it out on the sticker on the side of the door.

    The foam that covers the dash is the same type of foam my old Nerf footballs were made out of. The various hard plastic has the same texture and tactile feel as the igloo ice chest out in the garage. The carpet is the same stuff used on speaker boxes used for sub woofers. The seats were the hardest seats I’ve ever sat on. I couldn’t drive that car for long amounts of time. Those seats hurt my lower back. The god damned road noise coming in from the tires about made me deaf! The bass/treble settings sounded awful! I adjusted for I don’t know how long and never could get anything to sound at least halfway decent. Hey Ford(all), just put off the shelf standard DIN head units in all your vehicles and forget all this nonsense you insist on. Someone buys a brand new car and heads straight to Best Buy or Circuit City in an attempt to get a decent radio in their brand new vehicle. You know all those 50 something different model head units from Sony/JVC/Kenwood/Alpine/Clarion? What if everyone of those was available as an option in every vehicle made? What radio you want? We’ve got them all. Same goes for speakers.

    And you know what? This car rode like complete ass. Stiff and rode like a god damned chuck wagon. You don’t even need springs. Just bolt the control arms directly to the sub frame. You put these stiff springs in this so it would “handle”? Well why was I sliding sideways on the onramp and elsewhere? I was under steering everywhere I went. I nearly couldn’t get anywhere cause I was slip sliding around so much. Go straight goddamnit I shouted! (no, I want to go sideways says heavy, rough riding, no handling Ford Fusion). 2 models. How many million times do I have to ask for it. Spring a model to handle “best in class”. Put luxury suspension in the other model so it rides like it’s on air. I never want to feel a single crack, bump, or expansion joint in the rode. Never. Also, make an “extra sound deadening option”. $50? ~$100? $10? I don’t know, but I almost went deaf from the road noise coming off those tires and I had the windows up!

    I opened the hood and took one look at that transverse V6 packed in there and said “I’d never buy this car for this reason alone”. I’d hate to have to ever work on that motor. I can’t stand cramped/packed engine compartments. Have fun changing the water pump or timing belt or ever working on the back half of that V6. Head gaskets anyone?

    So I took that vehicle out on an endurance run to see what it was made of. Find some water(so I don’t(hopefully) break anything. Find some on some “slippery when wet” type asphalt. The type where the stones in it have been polished from every time it has ever rained or snowed and every car and truck that ever accelerated away from that stop sign had wheel spin as a result. Pull up, put the shifter down into low or first or whatever they were calling it, pull up the parking brake for maximum fun, floor it. God damn light lights up in gauge cluster and a loud annoying beep starts sounding off alerting me that my “parking brake is engaged”. Reminds me of the time my brother in laws TDI Beetle had an intake leak and would whistle when the boost level got high. I told him to mash on the brakes and floor it to exacerbate the “problem” to help locate the mystery sound before we knew it was a split rubber intake elbow. What’s VW do when you try and do that? The drive by wire gas pedal setup kills the acceleration so you can’t accelerate and brake at the same time! OK, engage the parking brake while we are driving and floor it in a higher gear to really lug the motor down. It whistled real good.

    So back to the Fusion. Yeah, it lit them up pretty good. It was satisfying enough(I had to do it a few more times, warning bell and all).

    True slush box automatic though. That torque converter was just slip sliding all the power away. Floor one of these cars from the take off or even when on the highway. Floor it and notice/feel/sense/detect(imagine?), the torque converter just slipping. Pure slip and no go. I could be accelerating forward at a faster rate but no, lets have the converter power through the fluid instead.

    So what’d I do with this car during the short time I had it? I lit the tires up a few times with the help of the parking brake and some water. Plenty of full throttle acceleration. Pushed the handling to the limits. I’d like to think I even exceeded them a few times too.

    Oh yeah. The best moment. I forgot to look while I was under the hood, but does this car have anti lock brakes? I wanted to test them out. There is a street that is downhill and the asphalt is all slick and bumpy from all the trucks and of course there is a stop sign at the bottom of the hill(isn’t there always?). So I run it up to 60 or so, wait till the last minute and jam on the brakes. What a nice squeal I got from all the tires as I’m sliding real nice and real far too. You should have seen all the smoke from the tires. I sure saw it and smelt it(smelt pretty decent). It was great. I circled around as I wanted to do it again(and again). Second attempt. It couldn’t and wouldn’t. Brake fade? Brakes too hot? I don’t know, but I could never get it to lock up all the tires again like I did that time. I think the bumpy road is what confused/tripped up/bypassed the anti-lock brakes(if it even had any).

    Would I buy this car? Hell no. If I won the lotto, I’d buy a Prius just for running errands. Why? Cause it’s so hassle free. Jump in, forget about keys, those are old fashion. Just leave them in your pocket. No futzing about with an ignition switch, no start up procedure. Just nail that ON button, blip the joystick to either d or r and floor it. CVT screaming at maximum performance. I want to turbocharge a Prius and I want to smoke the hell out of a CVT cause it needs to be done. ~500 hp Prius. Floor it and the car isn’t moving, but the transmission sure is getting driven like it never has. Worth it? You bet. Power stalling a Prius? It’s got to be done. That car needs a proper burnout to be performed with it. I might just have to go to the Toyota dealer and rent one for ~$40 a day…

    Fast forward this video up to 1:14

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=JqKDV9gHWTg

    Now that would be fun to lay into while going down the street…

    I bet it moves pretty good. Imagine accelerating on the highway onramp with those turbos screaming away at full tilt. What a sight(and a feeling!).

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    “rtz:
    June 12th, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    The foam that covers the dash is the same type of foam my old Nerf footballs were made out of. The various hard plastic has the same texture and tactile feel as the igloo ice chest out in the garage. The carpet is the same stuff used on speaker boxes used for sub woofers. The seats were the hardest seats I’ve ever sat on. I couldn’t drive that car for long amounts of time. Those seats hurt my lower back. The god damned road noise coming in from the tires about made me deaf! The bass/treble settings sounded awful! I adjusted for I don’t know how long and never could get anything to sound at least halfway decent. Hey Ford(all), just put off the shelf standard DIN head units in all your vehicles and forget all this nonsense you insist on. Someone buys a brand new car and heads straight to Best Buy or Circuit City in an attempt to get a decent radio in their brand new vehicle. You know all those 50 something different model head units from Sony/JVC/Kenwood/Alpine/Clarion? What if everyone of those was available as an option in every vehicle made? What radio you want? We’ve got them all. Same goes for speakers.”

    Okay, I can’t account for intangibles like seat comfort and audio quality, because our bodies and sensibilities are all different. I also want to make it clear that I am not picking on rtz in particular here. But…

    I am sick and tired of hearing the overwhelming majority of auto reviewers and/or Web posters talk about the nasty, hard plastic and crappy switchgear in the auto interiors of just about every domestic car – while at the same time waxing poetic about the heavenly wonderfulness of the interiors in most foreign cars – VW, Toyota, Honda, et al.

    I spent a lot of time at the NYC auto show sitting in a whole lot of cars – 2007 and 2008 cars – checking out these kinds of things in particular. And, do you know what? The emperor wears no clothes. There’s plenty of nasty, hard plastic in VWs, Toyotas, Hondas, Nissans and the like. Has anyone here checked out the switchgear in the new VW Rabbit? I urge you to do so – because it’s no better than what you’ll find in a Chevy Cobalt.

    Please don’t misunderstand: I am not a “defend the domestics at any and all stakes” type of guy. And the products coming out of GM, Ford and Chrysler are far from perfect. And I have owned plenty of foreign cars. But let’s be honest with ourselves and each other. Let’s not compare the interiors of 15-20K domestics with those of 30K-plus Acuras, Audis, BMWs, Infinitis and Lexi. And let’s observe the quality of the foreign competition as it is now – not five years ago. It appears there’s plenty of cost-cutting going around on every continent.

    If we’re going to critique domestic cars, fine. But let’s remove our rose-colored glasses and have an honest discussion. If any of us prefers Toyotas, Hondas, VWs, etc… fantastic. But let’s not assume superiority where it no longer exists.

    One aside: The interior of the Mustang is pretty cheap for a car at that price point – by anybody standards. :)

    That’s my rant. Thanks for indulging me.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    To Steve Biro: Excellent overall write-up and could not agree more.

    On your last point…and as a current 2005 Mustang owner—I agree that there are some points of the interior that are too plasticky and cheap (dash in particular). That said—the Interior Upgrade Package spruces up the cabin quite a bit over the ultra cheap base model. Also, the gauges are retro cool (particularly with the My Color), the 500 watt stereo is above average, and the seats are very comfortable. Net, the overall interior design works well—hopefully they address some of the materials in the ‘09 update.

    But really, do you really obsess about the Mustang interior with such a terrific exterior design and 300 horses rumbling under the hood ? I certainly hope not.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I certainly do not! :) The overall package presented by the Mustang GT is a compelling proposition and a good value.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    You have to hand it to Ford. They built a nice family car. As with most cars on the market, it’s overpriced, but a good buyer should be able to talk it down a certain degree. It’s a 4/V6 that is competitive, if not better than the Camry, Accord, and its Chevrolet rivals.

    This review was an enjoyable read.

  • avatar
    kjc117

    I don’t understand Ford brand management. The Mercury brand should have options only specific to Mercury like a engine or drive train not chrome and plastic bits. Mercury is supposed to be their upmarket brand correct?

    The all wheel drive system should only be a Milan option not the Ford thing.
    Or the just go buy the original, the Mazada 6.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Kjc117,

    This is the problem of running a multiple brand automobile corporation. Car enthusiasts such as ourselves are always searching for the automobile in its “pure” form – the sound of a Ferrari, the neutral handling of a Porsche, the raw and unmitigated power of the 426 Hemi. . .

    The mainstream family sedans are not cars designed for the enthusiast. Research studies show that there is a significant market base that will purchase a Mercury but not a Ford, identical mechanics notwithstanding. It boggles my mind, but Ford would be foolish to ignore this.

  • avatar
    Mark Twain

    Why no mention of the J.D.Power 2007 Initial Quality Study awards – 1st place – for the both the Milan and the MKZ in their respective segments?

  • avatar

    We didn’t want to steal your thunder!

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    “I don’t understand Ford brand management. The Mercury brand should have options only specific to Mercury like a engine or drive train not chrome and plastic bits. Mercury is supposed to be their upmarket brand correct? ”

    Huh? Mercedes, BMW, Toyota and VW share engine options among an array of models and brands. The Fusion and Milan clearly share many components and interior pieces, but there are significant sheetmetal differences and features (like LED tail-lamps) that make the Milan appropriately upmarket compared to the Fusion. I think it’s a sharp looking ride, whereas I’m not impressed with the yawn styling of the Fusion.


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