Overview & Reviews
It has the maneuverability of a wagon, the versatility of a minivan and the all-weather capability of an SUV. In a world in which the crossover moniker is perhaps used a bit too generously, the Ford Freestyle is the real deal: a crossover that gives you all the flexibility you'd expect from a vehicle in this category.
This Ford's resourcefulness comes via a spacious cabin that offers lots of cargo room and seating for up to seven passengers. Buyers are also rewarded with an even ride and capable handling, as well as a decent list of safety features. But the picture isn't flawless. Get the Freestyle on the highway and you'll find its engine lacking in oomph and refinement relative to the competition. Also, some of the materials used in its cabin fail to make the grade, and stability control isn't offered.
Were it not for these reasons, the Ford Freestyle would be one of our top recommendations to parents who don't want to drive a minivan. In fact, there's an updated model -- renamed the Ford Taurus X -- that addresses many of the Freestyle's faults. But in regards to the Freestyle, this large wagon is merely one candidate to consider among the many six-, seven- and eight-seat vehicles.
Most Recent Ford Freestyle
The Ford Freestyle was produced for the 2005-'07 model years. It was a crossover with traces of SUV, wagon and minivan in its gene pool. The wagon gene is most dominant, though, as is evidenced by the vehicle's low-slung profile. Mechanically, it was based on the same platform used for a variety of Volvo products of the same time period, including the S60 sedan and XC90 SUV. With three rows of seating, it was capable of seating six or seven passengers, depending on how you equipped it.
Beneath the Freestyle's hood was a 3.0-liter V6 good for 203 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. All models came with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Buyers could opt for a front-wheel-drive Freestyle for the best fuel economy, but those living in rough weather will be glad to learn that an all-wheel-drive version of the wagon was also available.
Initially, there were three trim levels available: SE, SEL and Limited. The SE came decently equipped and had air-conditioning, a CD player, second-row captain's chairs (resulting in a total passenger capacity of six), a power driver seat and full power accessories as standard. The midgrade SEL added an in-dash CD changer, automatic headlights, heated side mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a trip computer. For the Limited, look for its 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery in the first and second rows, dual-zone automatic climate control, upgraded sound system, power passenger seat and driver-side memory, front-seat heaters and 50/50-split capability for the third-row bench.
Antilock brakes were standard, and side-impact airbags (for the front) and head curtain airbags (for all three rows) were optional. Also optional were power-adjustable pedals, a second-row bench (increasing seating capacity to seven), rear parking sensors and, for 2006 and '07 models, a navigation system. For the Freestyle's final model year, Ford realigned the trim levels and discontinued the SE.
Functionality was the guiding principle behind the Ford Freestyle's cabin. There was abundant storage throughout and enough room in both the second and third rows to seat both adults and children in comfort. Nor was it lacking in terms of cargo space thanks to its boxy shape, low floor and the fold-flat capability of both the second- and third-row seats. In back, there was useful cargo area of nearly 16 cubic feet even when all three rows of seating were occupied. With the third row folded flat, capacity swelled to 48 cubic feet. Dropping both rear rows opened up a cavernous 85 cubic feet.
Materials quality was hit-or-miss in the Ford Freestyle, however. The Limited's leather upholstery looked and felt good to the touch, but the cloth upholstery in SEL models was unimpressive, as were some of the interior plastics.
In editorial reviews at the time, our editors praised the Ford Freestyle for its ride quality. The wagon easily smoothed over rough pavement while also providing respectable handling when driven around corners. However, this Ford took considerable criticism when it came to acceleration. When executing high-speed passing moves on the freeway, the 3.0-liter V6's lack of horsepower and noisy operation were immediately apparent. That comment was also a theme in consumer reviews. Owners praise the Freestyle for its fold-flat seats and mid-20s fuel economy, but often take issue with its noisy acceleration.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 638.00
Good but average - 2006 Ford Freestyle
By CJS - December 12 - 6:00 pm
THE CLOTHE SEATS WILL STAIN EVEN IF YOU SPILL WATER ON THEM! This is the #1 complaint of this car. I read some reviews before I bought it in 2008. Literally tried all types of cleaner for car seats and NONE of them have taken the stains out. Even spilled water left a stain. Since owning it 7 years I've replaced 2 a/c compressors. Normal brake jobs and it will tell you when to change the oil which is a good thing for maintenance. The other problem is some of the plastic hardware (i.e. compartment to hold garage door opener) broke a couple of years ago and now will not stay shut. Some of the lettering on the radio has worn off. The continuous transmission took some getting used too but it will get up and go when you need it. It doesn't have enough "power supplies" for all the gadgets now days. It has been a good car but now that kids are getting older and bigger and two dogs, long trips are unbearable due to size of car.
Approaching 250k - 2005 Ford Freestyle
By Chris - November 23 - 8:03 am
Very impressed with this car. Great versatility and reliability. Very few problems
throttle body - 2005 Ford Freestyle
By Renee Owens - September 14 - 2:05 pm
Ok so we bought this 2005 freestyle had 18 months ran perfect. Monday we are driving down the road lose all power, pull over the car is still running but gas pedal will not work. We turned vehicle off started it back ran perfect until Saturday same thing happened. We coasted into auto zone they put it on diagnostics. Diagnostics said it was tps so later that day same thing happened pulled over turned car off it started back but now engine light won't go off. I took it to ford dealer they are saying it's throttle body. There was a recall but ford won't honor because they are saying it has never been serviced but the warranty on it ran out June 2 So now we have to pay 940 to ford place for throttle body ridiculous but only vehicle we have so it's got to be paid
Extremely Disappointed with Ford - 2005 Ford Freestyle
By Lisa - August 28 - 7:08 pm
own a 2005 limited awd..duratek engine is great, but CVT trans is junk. I first noticed the car started lunging around 80k miles. Progressively got worse. Then the transmission went. MANY transmission specialists told me it's about a $6k job, and they didn't even want to touch it. Even the Ford dealership told me the car wasn't worth the fix. You can't even find a salvaged/rebuilt CVT because they are ALL junk, and if you do, no one will guarantee anything. And after reading everyone else's posts with the exact same problems, it's an absolute abomination that Ford would not do a recall. Ford is well aware of these issues, even launched an investigation, but never made the recall! I still owe about 1k on the beast, and i will probably get a few more months out of it so im gonna drive it into the ground. I've always been a Ford girl, and was especially proud that they didn't take a bailout. But Ford is still using this transmission, and their full knowledge of these issues and refusing to stand by their product has really put me off. Basically, we are getting screwed, and they don't care. I am extremely disappointed with Ford. I am no longer a Ford girl.
started out good - 2007 Ford Freestyle
By Tr76 - August 16 - 3:44 pm
We bought this car new in 2007, it was great for years then at 125,000 we had to replace the transmission cost us $3000. Then it stated surging , got the throttle cable cleaned it worked great for another year , now the surging is so bad now that is dangerous to drive , and when we put it in gear it surges then the wrench light comes on and the car cuts off ... Just paid $1200 to replace the air conditioning system. Seems like everything breaks at once and it's all expensive to fix ... I wish Ford would recall the problems and fix it !
Transmission is a time bomb - 2006 Ford Freestyle
By tsliberty - May 20 - 1:33 pm
Our 2006 Freestlye had 65,000 miles on it. Just paid it off. Transmission died without any warning. Dead in the middle of the street. Called the dealer, they said that they don't make that transmission anymore so they would have to find a rebuilt one. and it will cost $7,000+! We thought that was a bit high, so we called around and every place told us the same or that they wouldn't even attempt it. Great. Talked to Ford and they offered to pay for $3,000 of the repair cost. Still a very expensive fix for a car with only 65,000 miles. They warrantied the transmission for another 50,000 miles. But we sold it within a few months since I was too paranoid to drive it very far from home.
I love this car - 2006 Ford Freestyle
By whitetigerlady - May 5 - 10:47 am
I love this car - I purchased in in 2009 from a dealer with 50,000ish miles on it. There was one issue with the transmission 3 years ago that was repaired by the ford dealership for free because it was a recall issue, other than that, I have replaced the tires twice and the breaks once...just last month...My Gypsy as I call her - the GPS is very outdated LOL - now has 192000 miles and is still going pretty strong. I get my oil changed every 5K miles and use high mileage oil and that's it - I love driving a worry free vehicle. My only issue is they don't make them anymore and I have no idea what to replace her with when her time finally is up - I just hope that's not for another 200K :-)
About my 2005 Ford Freestyle SEL - 2007 Ford Freestyle
By bruce1458 - February 15 - 4:14 pm
So far I have not have some of those problems that some Freestyle owners have. I now have 64,000 miles, and still under the Ford ESP Warranty. The ride is a bit bumpy, gas mileage should be better, My biggest problem now is the door locks freezes up when snow or when temp falls below 25 degrees, then the doors wont close. I had to hold the driver door while driving. Not good. I received a Recall letter about eight years ago took it to a Dealer and thought I was fixed, come to find out nothing was done. In Maryland sometimes we our Winter is not as bad as the western or nothern States. Otherwise not a bad car.
Practical till 130k - 2007 Ford Freestyle
By carsnobby - September 24 - 2:33 pm
I've been very happy with my Freestyle for the last 100k miles and 4 years...but once we hit 130,000 miles the car has developed several squeaks, rattles and several expensive repairs. In the last 3 months we have put $2600 into it. - $830 for a inner tie rod that cracked - $1825 for ball joints & control arms This car eats tires (have put on 3 sets of high mileage tires since 20k miles). Also has had 2 complete break jobs. Beyond the tire usage, it was a relatively cheap car to maintain, until the last 3 months. The car is getting to expensive to maintain and I am doubting its future reliability.
Freestyle First Owner with 270,000 miles - 2005 Ford Freestyle
By schopster - May 31 - 11:48 am
I bought my Limited AWD new in 2005 and have found the car to be very reliable. Just turned 270K miles as I drive a lot for my work. Gas mileage is consistent at 21 mpg now for mix of highway/town driving. I do alot of general maintenance myself. Things that have been replaced include all wheel bearings, front struts, some front suspension items, normal brakes/rotors/calipers once. I change oil at 5K with ford semi-synthetic and the engine doesnt use a drop of oil between oil changes. Drivers seat heater stopped working a while back. CVT had filter/fluid changes at 190K and as been rock solid. Once a year you should clean the butterfly in the throttle body- if not it can surge at idle.