From Ford press: The Ford Freestyle is an innovative, purpose-built crossover vehicle designed to change the automotive landscape with the right package, the right powertrain and the right price when it hits the market in the fall. Freestyle blends the aspirational looks of a sport utility vehicle, the versatility of a minivan and the confidence of an all-wheel-drive sedan.
The all-new Freestyle sets an impressive benchmark for comfort, versatility and safety. It can carry seven adults in comfort. Its fully functional, fold-in-floor third-row seating provides flexible cargo-carrying capacity. And Freestyle is packed with industry-leading safety technology pioneered by Ford and Volvo, including an exclusive three-row Safety Canopy™ side curtain air-bag system.
The versatile new product is a cornerstone in Ford's Year of the Car in 2004. Freestyle is one of five new car and crossover products that will lead Ford showrooms into a dynamic 2005 model year as Ford dealers replace more than 60 percent of their total volume with fresh new vehicles by the end of 2004.
Freestyle - along with the new Ford Five Hundred - will help make Ford one of the industry's largest-volume producers of all-wheel-drive vehicles. It also establishes Ford's position as a leader in advanced transmissions, thanks to its all-new, continuously variable transmission (CVT) that offers smooth shifting, unmatched performance and fuel economy benefits.
Freestyle's architecture is inspired from a Volvo design, with class-leading torsional rigidity and fully independent suspension to assure quick, responsive handling and a quiet ride. Power comes from Ford's proven Duratec 30 3.0-liter V-6 engine, matched to an all-new continuously variable transmission produced through Ford's joint venture with ZF-Batavia. The combination of stiff chassis, high-torque V-6 and wide-ratio transmission adds up to surprising acceleration and drivability in the Freestyle.
Its newly refined Duratec 30 engine offers exceptional emissions performance, meeting the much tougher federal Tier II, Bin 5 definition and California LEV II standards for low-emission vehicles. For comparison, the Environmental Protection Agency's Tier II, Bin 5 designation allows only 5.3 pounds of smog-forming tailpipe emissions over 50,000 miles of driving. The federal Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) standard allows 11.7 pounds of smog-forming pollutants.
Freestyle's CVT offers advantages not found in traditional automatic transmissions. It uses two variable-size pulleys - one for input from the engine, the other for output to the drive wheels - connected by a metal chain, and constantly varies the effective size of the two pulleys to meet the driving demands of the moment. Electronic powertrain controls, including a sensor on the electronic throttle, constantly monitor the demand for power. When more torque is needed for acceleration or to maintain speed up a steep hill, the transmission seamlessly responds by creating the right gear ratio from an infinite number of possibilities, allowing the Duratec 30 engine to operate at optimum speed.
For ease of ownership, the Duratec 30 does