Rising to the Upper Echelons of the Brat Pack
Ford Canada came to town last Tuesday with a truckload of preproduction Freestar
minivans. The 2004 model is a giant leap forward for the beleaguered automaker, an important product that should have blue oval retailers smiling.
|The new and impressive 2004 Freestar isn't just a repackaged model, but a completely rethought and redesigned minivan.(Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press) |
To Ford's credit the product planners weren't content merely to regift an unwanted item in a fancy new wrapper, but completely rethought many aspects of minivan ownership resulting in an impressive piece of work.
|Although somewhat similar in appearance to the Windstar, the 201-hp 4.2-L V6 powered Freestar is in a whole new class. (Photo: Ford Motor Company) |
At first sight it's easy to see the similarities and differences between Freestar and Windstar. Both were conservatively drawn, the most recent with sharper edges, greater attention to detail and what I think to be a more mature hand. Just the same the new van will hardly emote passionate longing, that is unless hauling even larger volumes of people and cargo gets you going.
On that note, despite its larger interior dimensions and higher levels of equipment overall, the Freestar has no problem getting going, in any weather condition. On dry pavement it pulls with a vengeance, not the sort of line I normally reserve for transportation appliances. But nevertheless the 201-hp 4.2-L V6, that makes a much more important 265 lb-ft of torque, leaves little to be desired at full throttle.