Considering a Freestyle - any comments?

We're considering a Freestlye Linted FWD. Any experiences, good or bad?

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gad wrote:

bad?
Wife and I test drove one and liked it enough to buy as a new car for her when the time comes. Probably Jan-Mar of 2006 or 2007 when the factory incentives get real sweet to move the leftovers. Neighbors just bought a base model too, like it so far.
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Check out http://www.MyFordFreestyle.com - lots of chat from owners.

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How horrid. If you are going to consider a vehicle larger than a midsize sedan. Get it with AWD, 4X4, real time 4, etc.
Buying a large car with FWD only sets you up for a poor bargain. Driving such a car in the rain or snow is a disaster, and with a full load of passengers it's impossible.
Because when the car is fully loaded, all of the weight shifts towards the rear back axle and away from the front axle. The front axle happens to be the drive axle. This shift makes it impossible to use engine braking when descending steep gradients because there isn't much traction up front to begin with and what little traction there is would be necessary for steering.
I'm not saying it's a bad car or anything. Only, if you can't find the version Freestar with AWD or Real time 4, consider a differen't vehicle. Such as "sigh" a Subaru Legacy wagon version. All Subarus come with AWD. It's a very safe bet.
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The reason why so many cars are FWD these days is not because they are *better*, it's mainly because the set up is *cheaper* initially. And I say that because in the long run the tires will wear out a lot faster than on something with AWD because for one thing the wear is seriously uneven.
On FWD's, the front wheels have to do everything, #1 stop the car #2 Steer the car, #4 Accelerate, #5 engine brake, #6 take most of the load (engine and weight of driver up front).
I'm telling you from experience that Fwd is not a good design, it never was, and it never will be. The CV (constant velocity) joints on such cars wear out because they have to be made so thin to allow for turning. Replacing CV joints is VERY expensive and it's the reason why many ditch their Fwd vehicles and buy new ones. Once you hear the clicking sound during the turns, than you know it's over.
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We've had a FWD Dodge Grand Caravan since 96, and I haven't noticed any of the rain/snow (upstate NY, all season tires) problems you mention, even with a full load. Decent tires and taking it a little easy seem to work fine. A friend has a AWD Caravan of the same vintage and has had nothing but expensive problems.
I really hate the car these days for lots of other reasons, though. Mostly the impact on my wallet for repairs (but not to the CV joints - yet - but I'm sure it's coming).

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Apples to apples and oranges to oranges please.
A Dodge Caravan is not the same as a Ford Freestyle.
The Freestyle is essentialy a taller stance sedan or Wagon. It's designed on a car chassis of unit body construction. FWD is one common set up for the Freetyle because it's cheap. It's basically a stretched sedan made into a wagon with higher ground clearance and more headroom and leg room.
The Dodge Caravan on the otherhand is a bigger vehicle which is also on a car based chassis. Only the Caravan has a lot more weight/metal over it's rear axle. The Freestyle on the other hand does not. The freestyle normally scoots around town with minimum weight over it's rear axle and so once there is a sudden shift of load on the freestyle on some family vacation or such -- the vehicle will handle abysmaly. Trust me I have first hand experience on this here.
Also don't compare a Dodges mechanicals to a Fords. For all you know the dodges AWD set up was hopless from the start and Fords AWD set up is durable, dependable and cutting edge in technology.
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Drove a relative's leased AWD:
tracks well comfortable enough good features, reasonable ergonomics seemed "solid" and well made good brakes
vast expanses of ugly plastic underpowered (for me) with 5 on board during test drive hoover-like drivetrain sounds under heavy acceleration no VSC available
Overall I found it excellent as a family rig, easy to get in and out of as well. Easy to live with. If I had to pick one major downside I'd go for more engine power. But that's me: the relative who uses it finds it perfectly adequate and gets nearly 24mpg on non-oxygenated in mixed driving.
I liked the Freestyle very much, and if weren't an empty-nester would find it at the top of my list of candidates.

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gad wrote:

My Father purchased one earlier this year. So far it has been flawless (except for a flat tire). Very nice car at a good price.
Ed
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