The Mercury Milan is related to the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ and competes in the midsize sedan category against the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Buick LaCrosse. Its base model is front-wheel drive only, but the uplevel trim can be had with either front- or all-wheel drive. The biggest change for 2008 is the addition of a new Sync package that synchronizes phones and other media devices, then makes them voice-activated. The navigation system is also newly voice-activated for 2008.
The Milan is Mercury's most-affordable model, but is billed by the automaker as upscale and expressive. It's powered by either a 2.3-liter four-cylinder or a 3.0-liter V-6.
The only changes to the outside of the Milan for 2008 are the addition of a keyless-entry keypad and five new color choices, including shades of blue, silver, white and two shades of green.
The company says designers drew inspiration from large, modern cities when creating the Milan. Signature design cues include a waterfall grille and the use of trim with a satin-aluminum finish. Wide headlights wrap into the hood, and LED taillights are installed. The Milan has a short-/long-arm front suspension and a multilink rear suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes are used.
Designers looked at the finishes of home appliances and the details of finely crafted handbags for inspiration in styling the five-occupant interior. Leather upholstery is complemented by Satin Metallic or Wales Mahogany wood trim. Two-tone leather-trimmed seating surfaces are optional. Later in 2008, Milan owners will be able to add a mood lighting system that will illuminate the front and rear footwells and the front cupholders in violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange or red.
The automaker says that extending the back doors rearward improves rear-seat access for taller passengers. A spring-assisted mechanism can help fold down the 60/40-split rear seat. The trunk can hold 15.8 cubic feet of cargo, and, in addition to the folding seats, a pass-thru into the passenger compartment allows long items to be carried. The front passenger seat can be folded flat to allow even longer items to be carried.
The Milan has a six-way power driver's seat, a CD stereo, an analog clock, remote keyless entry, power windows and door locks, and power heated mirrors. A DVD-based navigation system is optional and gains voice activation for 2008. An audio input jack for portable MP3 players and other devices is standard.
The Milan's 2.3-liter four-cylinder produces 160 horsepower and drives either a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. Only a six-speed automatic is offered with the 221-hp, 3.0-liter V-6. Both engines run on regular-grade gasoline. Traction control is also available.
Side-impact and side curtain airbags are standard, as are antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution. A reverse-warning system that gives the driver an audible warning is newly optional for 2008.
The V-6-powered Milan starts off in a hurry and, after some delay, delivers ample acceleration for passing and merging. The automatic transmission is well-behaved most of the time, but it doesn't change gears the same way every time. At low speeds, a modest bump occasionally occurs with the shift.
Generally quiet, the Milan can get loud when accelerating hard. Although the ride is generally satisfying, some rough spots can bring rather harsh responses.
The Milan is spacious in front. The seats aren't especially firm and provide modest support. Outboard rear occupants get ample room, but the center passenger must endure a rather hard perch and a serious shortage of headroom.
Though competent and capable in nearly every area, and sensible overall, the Milan doesn't quite stand out from the pack. Except for some Mercury design cues and a bit more refinement, it's not much different from its Ford Fusion cousin.