Mercury Milan; a quality sedan for those on a budget!
When I bought the vehicle used from a Ford dealer, the driver side manual lumbar support had broken. The dealer fixed it free of charge. This is a very very common thing that Milan and Fusion owners encounter, and to my knowledge, it's the only piece of the interior that is notorious for breaking.
I am an 18 year old car enthusiast and recently purchased a 2006 Mercury Milan Premier from a Ford Dealer. It's a silver frost Milan Premier 2.3L with the five speed automatic transmission, and two tone leather interior with satin aluminum interior trim.
Other vehicles I considered were the Honda Accord, very good car but too expensive, gen I Mazda6, dated and pricey, Jetta, reliability issues, pricey, Mazda3, holds its value too well and a little too small, the Ford Focus' chassis was too old and the car felt cheap. The Honda Civic didn't stand a chance getting out of my driveway in the winter, and it was out of my price range.
I decided on the Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan twins because we had rented a few in the past, and I loved the handling, space, fuel economy, safety, comfort, styling, and college-kid friendly pre-owened value. I got my 2006 Milan Premier for $11,388, which includes tax and dealer fees. No other car on my list came close to this with all of the features in a car I was after.
I am a car enthusiast, so I insisted on having a car with a taut chassis, responsive steering with good weighting and road feel, and smooth, powerful four wheel disc brakes with ABS. The Milan offered all of these things at a great price. However, the car feels much softer with the base 16 inch tires, so be sure to get the up level Premier model with the 14 spoke 17 inch rims if you prefer a sportier feel. If you drive a Corolla, Camry, or a Buick and you love the way it handles, you have no idea what you're missing until you drive something at least as taut as a Milan Premier/Fusion SEL. Anyway, the ride is firm for sharp cornering (50 mph hairpins in a Milan! Who knew, right? -- I only did that once... I'm not crazy) yet it's supple enough to make highway cruising very comfortable.
The leather wrapped steering wheel has excellent road feel and takes considerable effort at both low and high speeds. Not enough effort to be annoying, but more than an Accord or Camry that make the car feel more substantial and sport-oriented (as evidenced by the Mazda6-based CD3 architecture).
The four wheel disc brakes are smooth and powerful as I mentioned before, and the ABS is a little crazy. The ABS is loud with excessive pulsing from the pedal and too much mechanical noise from an otherwise fairly quiet and refined vehicle.
The 2.3L DURATEC Mazda-sourced MZR engine makes a reasonable amount of power, although if you've ever driven a VTEC Accord, you'll notice the Accord is much smoother and quieter. Although when cruising, the engine is hardly audible at all and does not annoy me, even on the interstate highway.
The transmission has very good gearing except for a couple of niggles. First, the drop-off in RPM from first to second is too large and blunts acceleration too much, but it's not anywhere near like a four speed auto. Also, the 5spd is programmed for good mileage and is a little to eager to get into overdrive (5th gear). The only transmission settings are PRNDL and there is not and O/D off button. Kind of a bummer, but looking at the mileage on the trip computer makes up for it. In combined commuting, I average between 29.2-30.3 MPG--an incredible performance for a midsize sedan. The 17.5 gallon fuel tank plus that kind of mileage make for a long range, good for long highway slogs. With a little more city use, the MPG figure is dropping further toward 28 MPG, still very good.
The two tone interior has aged very well and the leather is just as good as models sitting in the showroom right now. I was amazed to find the three year old 42.3k mile car with leather in such good shape. The dash is solid and everything feels new. The analog clock in the center dash looks great with the satin aluminum dash trim. Just don't look at the clock up close or you'll laugh at the ridiculously cheap plastic dials on the clock, which are just penny-pinching silver plastic sticks.
Other than that and the rock hard plastic dash top storage bin, every other surface in the interior is soft and there is leather trim on the center armrest/console as well. I really like the white contrast stitching on the black/tan two tone leather that gives a designer look.
The seats are very comfortable, and although my car does not have seat heaters, we had a rental Fusion (same car, it's the Milan's twin) with seat heaters and they're powerful and heat both the driver and passenger's back and bottom.
Headroom is very good for six footers up front and just OK in the back. There is a lot of headroom in both rows of seating.
There are six cupholders in the vehicle, two in center console behind shifter, one in each front door pocket, and two in the large rear passenger armrest.
The only issue I have with the rear seating is that the head restraints for the rear passengers are fixed in place and are very low, the 2010s have adjustable ones.
I have the mid-level six speaker audio system with six disc CD changer that comes standard in the Premier models, it is not the 420 watt Audiophile sound system. The bass response from the mid level system is very powerful with out being "boomy" and the A-pillar mounted tweeters are pleasant sounding.
The auto climate control is responsive, although too aggressive when the car is first started. The illuminated steering wheel mounted audio, cruise, and climate controls are very handy and I can't believe I lived without them before. This Milan is spoiling me more than any stylish mid-size sedan has a right to!
As for cargo, the trunk has non-intrusive strut hinges (unlike Accord and Camry) and the car has a fairly large trunk. The spring folding 60/40 split rear seats are released from levers in the trunk, very handy. Models newer than mine (i.e. 2007+) also include a fold-flat passenger seat.
Other random facts are LED tail lamps, speed sensitive windshield wipers, speed sensitive volume, Ford personal safety system (Google it), the turn-signal switch is a an odd angle, difficult to back up because of high deck-lid and the rear middle brake light is right in the way when looking the the rearview mirror to glance behind you, the steering wheel tilts and telescopes, dash lights up green with white needles at night, it has security approach lamps/puddle lamps under the exterior mirrors which are great, the hood is still held up by a (not so) good old fashioned rod and not gas struts, and finally your fingers are going to get dirty when you close the trunk.
Overall I love my Mercury Milan and feel that of all of the cars I have exhaustively researched for years, there is no better used car in the $11,000-21,000 price range than the Ford Fusion and its corporate twin the Mercury Milan.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th May, 2009