From Ford press: Flexibility is the inspiration behind the Ford Freestyle. Bridging the gap between sport utility vehicle and sedan, this innovative crossover utility vehicle is ideal for active families and their evolving lifestyles, combining real-world utility with impressive fuel economy and comfort. For 2007, Freestyle customers can choose among four new packages for added comfort and convenience features. Two new exterior colors are also available. Later in the model year, seat-mounted side air bags and the Safety Canopy side air curtain system will be standard on all models.
Crossover utility vehicles are gaining popularity with buyers because they provide space, packaging flexibility, available all-wheel drive (AWD) and sedan-like fuel economy. Even in this highly capable and competitive segment, Freestyle sets an impressive benchmark for comfort, versatility, efficiency and safety. It can carry up to seven adult passengers with its best-in-class legroom in the second and third rows. Freestyle is also capable of achieving up to 27 miles per gallon highway. Its versatile fold-flat, third-row seating provides flexible cargo-carrying capacity. Freestyle’s power comes from Ford’s proven Duratec 30 3.0-liter, V-6 engine, matched to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The combination of stiff chassis, high-torque V-6 and wide-ratio transmission adds up to surprising performance and drivability for a vehicle that can haul passengers or cargo in any weather.
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 steel link belt. It varies the effective sizes 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 drive ratio from an infinite number of possibilities, allowing the Duratec 30 engine to operate at optimum performance.
The Duratec 30 doesn’t require a tune-up in its first 100,000 miles. Freestyle offers an optional all-wheel-drive system. This application uses an electronically controlled, electrohydraulic, limited-slip coupling positioned just ahead of the rear differential to transfer available torque to the rear wheels whenever the front wheels slip.
Electronic controls that gather information from the antilock braking system and other sensors allow the all-wheel-drive system to react within 50 milliseconds — much faster and more seamlessly than systems that rely on viscous couplings. Traction control is standard on vehicles equipped with all-wheel drive. When all-wheel drive isn’t needed, Freestyle functions as a front-wheel-drive vehicle.