2004 Ford Freestar

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$21,530

starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Passenger space
  • Automatic-transmission operation
  • Performance
  • Visibility
  • Fold-away third-row seat

The bad:

  • Interior ergonomics
  • Fuel economy in city
  • Ride comfort in city
  • Engine noise
  • Trucklike characteristics

7 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2004 Ford Freestar trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • 201-hp V-6
  • Fold-away third-row seat
  • Available three-row side-curtain airbags
  • Optional power liftgate

2004 Ford Freestar review: Our expert's take

By

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

Freestar feels familiar

That’s right. It’s Freestar, not Windstar. When Ford Motor Co. launched its restyled Ford Windstar minivan last fall, the company gave it a new name to better fit its alliterative list of products, which includes the Focus and F-150 pickup. The name change is about the most radical part of the 2004 Ford Freestar.

Ford did not rip up the blueprints when it came to the exterior of its minivan . and that formed the basis for much of our discussion. We tested a well-equipped SEL model priced at $31,520.

SHE: I know that you’re being a big crab about Ford’s redesigned minivan. You were hoping that they would have injected a bit of, God forbid, sexiness into the family hauler. Instead, Ford spent its money wisely, creating a third-row seat that easily folds flat and stows into the floor. And the seat can be flipped to face the rear for use when the vehicle is parked, great for soccer games. Ford gave the Freestar bigger brakes and a new 4.2-liter V-6 that comes standard on the SEL model we drove and the top-of-the-line Limited. It gave the Freestar its first DVD entertainment system, which families tell me is a necessity for kids on long trips. All thoughtful features. So why are you giving it a middle-of-the-road grade?

HE: I think you’re judging me too harshly. In fact, I don’t think minivans need to be sexy. But there are a number of competitors that offer more features and meet the needs of their audience more completely than the Freestar. Let’s take that new 4.2-liter V-6 you mentioned. It makes 201 horsepower and is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The Environmental Protection Agency rates that combination at 16 miles per gallon in city driving and 22 mpg on the highway. The horsepower figure, the transmission and the EPA fuel economy are strictly middle-of-the-road compared with the Honda Odyssey, which, by the way, is at the end of its current life cycle.

SHE: Does it matter to you that the Freestar has what I consider the best coat hook in the business? It’s a great little gadget that’s recessed into the ceiling about 6 inches away from the door so that you can see it when you’re loading stuff from the dry cleaners. You don’t have to fumble around for it with your fingers. And that’s my point, it’s the little details in the Freestar that really won me over. Sometimes the biggest engine on the block isn’t the most important thing.

HE: So let’s talk about details. I give Ford credit for installing some very simple and easy-to-use controls on the Freestar. The dual-zone temperature controls are a good example. You sure don’t need an engineering degree to figure them out. I thought the wood trim that Ford installed on the instrument panel was quite tasteful. But not every detail stood up to close scrutiny. We noticed gaps, for instance, where the hard plastic on the side pillars meets the headliner. It would have been nice, too, to have a small cargo net between the front seats, like some of the competition offers.

SHE: But the big picture is that the Freestar is a very solid minivan, especially if you are determined to buy a domestic product. Our SEL had an optional side-curtain air bag system that protects all three rows of passengers, as well as optional power adjustable pedals. I really love the fact that you can jump in the Freestar, without getting any instruction from a sales person or an owner’s manual, and feel absolutely at home with the controls. That is not the feeling you get in the redesigned Nissan Quest minivan, which has an instrument panel that looks like it was designed by an aeronautical engineer. The Freestar has a very spare elegance in the cabin, which I’m sure a lot of moms will appreciate. They may not appreciate the fact that the second-row windows can’t roll down or that you can’t order it with a navigation system, however.

HE: I think my biggest disappointment is tha Ford took the cheap and easy route, and decided only to do a modest face-lift on its minivan while competitors such as Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Co.p. are doing major ground-up redesigns. The new Toyota Sienna, for example, really raised the bar for other players in this segment, and I expect the redesigned 2005 Odyssey will do the same. Maybe Ford is content with fielding a middle-of-the-road product. But that’s no way to stand out in a crowd.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.8
  • Interior design 3.6
  • Performance 3.2
  • Value for the money 3.4
  • Exterior styling 3.5
  • Reliability 3.3

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

good buy for the money

good van for my needs. low miles. i can load up all my grand kids. witch i do all the time. ive owned several vans.

4.0

Good condition you could test any time

This car is suitable for families. Good condition. Clean title. If you want to test no problem. Just inform me to manage the time of mine

4.0

2004 Ford Freestar SEL

This van has been very dependable and is very roomy. I acquired it with 50,000 miles and it now has over 100,000. I have only done basic repairs on it. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a family type van.

See all 30 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Ford Blue Advantage Gold
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Gold Certified: Ford models up to 6 years old with less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12-Month/12,000-Mile (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited Warranty Blue Certified: 90-Day/4,000-Mile (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited Warranty Disclaimer: See your dealer for warranty coverage details.
Powertrain
7-Year/100,000-Mile (whichever comes first) Powertrain Limited Warranty Blue Certified: Available Disclaimer: See your dealer for warranty coverage details.
Dealer certification required
Certified 172-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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