2007 Mercury Milan Base 2.3 from North America
Nice car except for the weak motor
Nothing at all.
The relatively low performance grade has nothing to do with the handling of this car, which is simply superb for a base family sedan. I love throwing this car hard into a freeway off-ramp.
The engine however, is another story. The 2.3L engine (a Mazda design) is very noisy and gutless. Not helping things is the extremely tall overdrive/lockup gearing, in which the engine is barely turning 2600rpm at 75mph. This causes way too frequent shifts in and out of 5th, and lockup on moderate highway grades, which in turn causes blasts of buzzing from the aforementioned noisy powerplant.
The stock radio (non-audiophile, 6 speaker) is quite good for a cheap system. Bass is punchy without being boomy.
The driving position height takes a bit getting used to... it feels like you are very high in the air unless you put the seat at its lowest position. Even then, it is still pretty high.
Gas mileage is great. On long trips I have gotten 32mpg cruising between 65-75mph. Around 24-25 in city/short trips.
Car feels very solid construction wise --- no rattles, unlike the Subarus and Nissans I've had.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th June, 2008
Funny you say the 2.3 Milan is gutless. I've floored my 2006 Milan Premier I-4 auto on the highway and a 2005 Accord EX-L 2.4 auto and there is not much difference in power or cruising ability. BTW, both are rated at 160hp and have 5spd automatic transmissions, that's not all that much to move a sedan briskly.
Yes, the Accord is peppier around town and has a much quieter engine under acceleration, both engines aren't audible at a steady cruise. Keep in mind that this is a naturally aspirated four cylinder lugging about 3300lbs around, it simply is not going to have the torque of a V6 or turbo 4. Just remind yourself that you're getting 5+ more MPG than the 3.0 Duratec V6/6spd auto version of the Milan, your wallet will thank you later. Happy Milan motoring all!
Original poster here. I can say without a doubt it was one of the more gutless cars I've had on the highway. And it's not like I drive 300hp V-8s or anything... the most powerful car I've ever owned was a 227hp WRX, and that was BY FAR the most powerful car I've ever owned.
Bear in mind I went from a Vulcan powered 95 Taurus to this car, and the Vulcan felt more responsive than the Milan unless you planted the Milan's throttle, which made the engine in the Milan rather unpleasant sounding. The Taurus weighs around the same (I had the base Milan, so figure 3200 not 3300+ like the loaded Premier), is down about 20hp and about the same peak torque. Nor is low-end torque a strength of the Vulcan 3.0 like it is the Essex 3.8 (optional engine that year).
Now, I've traded the Milan in for a 4 speed auto 2009 Focus, and it feels peppier in just about every situation.
But the only real big issue I had with the Milan's drivetrain was the aforementioned lack of 4th gear hold, or O/D lockout switch. Due to the lack of power at normal cruising speeds (65-70), it would annoy the hell out of me shifting out of 5th going up moderate grades.
Perhaps there was something wrong with mine; but I never had a CEL or any recommendations from the dealer for service.