Great anti-minivan family car! No regrets on buying it!
The front calipers started "creaking" when applying the brake. Turned out to be worn seals within the calipers, so each have been changed out.
The heated seats in front both stopped working (common problem with these from what I've read elsewhere in forums).
One of the front half shafts is starting to make noise on sharp turns, but that's to be expected with 150,000 miles realistically.
My wife hates mini-vans more than I do, so we looked at all of the 3rd row SUVs out there. After exhaustive research, we came upon the Freestyle. The reliability of the engine, the 3rd row spaciousness, the versatility, the AWD, the refinement and the price point on these used are their biggest pros.
Love the space and the versatility! Very refined interior for a Ford. Plenty of cubbies and cup holders. One of the only non-minivans that had comfortable 3rd row seating, and with plenty of head and leg room for adults. Both the 3rd and second row all fold flat, as well as the passenger front seat to accommodate hauling.
The gauges and controls are clear and easy enough to use, but my caveat in saying that is that the climate control panel is too low in the center when driving, to safely be adjusting the controls while driving.
I'm 6'2" and my wife is like 5'4", and both of us find the driving positions to be ample and comfortable for short and long trips.
This SUV has more toys than most cars on the road. For being "just a Ford", it sure feels like a lot nicer a car than some would anticipate.
Great gas mileage. We've seen as low as 19 during the winter city driving, and as high as 28 during summer highway driving only, even with all wheel drive.
The ride quality is great. It sails nicely down the highway. Cornering is tight and controlled too. Braking is fine. Acceleration is fine, but different seeing as how it's a CVT. Our 2 older kids get into the back no problem. I removed the center console in the 2nd row to make it easier, but we sometimes flip one of the seats forward too to get them out; just depends on how quick the kids are to beat me to the punch on flipping the seat.
The all wheel drive works seamlessly and excellently. From what the dealers have told me, it's actually the same chassis as the Volvo XC90 and that it's a Volvo rear axle. All I know is that winter driving is a cinch and I feel safe driving my 4 kids around anywhere in it during the winter.
Engine seems like it could be more powerful, BUT it doesn't leave you wanting. Getting up to highway speed on on-ramps or when passing someone isn't a challenge. My biggest qualm comes from the general level of noise coming from the engine compartment. I think this car could've benefited from more sound deadener between the engine and the cabin. The other thing, and it's not a complaint, just an FYI, is driving with a CVT transmission requires some getting used to. My wife and I tended to put our foot into it more when first taking off from a stop in the beginning stages of owning it. You have to learn to go easier on the pedal, not just to save gas, but so that you don't find yourself constantly backing off the gas pedal in a big way on most roads. I think with the CVT you don't get put back in your seat the same way that you're used to in other cars.
Suggestions, ALWAYS avoid the first model year for any new make and model car. That said, the CVT transmissions seemed to have the most problems in the 2005 model. I would go with an AWD model, the handling is fantastic. I'd try to find one with the rear passenger climate controls; there's a lot of open space to heat up and cool down with just front controls. That's our one constant complaint at the height of Summer and Winter here in Wisconsin.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd January, 2014