Minivan; Built in USA
  • 4-door van
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $4,500 – $9,000*


2004 Mercury Monterey


2005 Mercury Monterey


2005 Mercury Monterey

Pros:
  • Passenger and cargo room
Cons:
  • Fuel economy

Monterey, like Freestar, offers laudable safety features, but is otherwise outclassed by newer-design rivals. In particular, contemporary Dodge Caravans, Honda Odysseys and Toyota Siennas all offer better performance, road manners, refinement, and workmanship. That’s why they were far more popular as new vehicles, and will be easier to find used. On the other hand, poor original sales generally mean lower secondhand prices, so a Monterey (or Freestar) would be a decent budget buy if you don’t mind its shortcomings.

Overview

After a one-year hiatus, Mercury returned to the minivan field with the 2004 Monterey, basically an upscale version of that year’s newly named Ford Freestar. Both shared a basic design evolved from the 1999-2003 Ford Windstar minivan. Monterey differed from Freestar only in styling details, equipment and pricing. Mercury offered three trim levels instead of Ford’s five: base Convenience, midline Luxury, and top-shelf Premier. Monterey also omitted the Freestar’s base 3.9-liter V6, leaving a 201-hp 4.2-liter V6 as the only engine. A 4-speed automatic was the only transmission. All-wheel drive was not offered, but Ford’s Advance Trac antiskid/traction control system was standard on Premier and optional for Luxury. All Montereys came with antilock brakes, tire-pressure monitor, and front/rear obstacle detection.

Like Freestars, Montereys used a single body that was close in overall size to some rival minivans’ extended-length models. The standard and only seating package was a three-row seven-passenger setup with flip-and-fold 2nd-row buckets and a 3rd-row bench that folded into the floor, a first for a Mercury minivan. That seat could also be flipped backward for seating beneath an open liftgate when the vehicle was parked. Power-sliding rear side doors were standard except on Convenience, which offered manual doors only. Front side airbags and head-protecting curtain side airbags were optional for Convenience, standard on other Montereys. The curtains covered outboard occupants in all three rows.

All Montereys included a dual-zone climate system with rear controls, plus a power driver’s seat. The Luxury model added power-adjustable pedals, power front-passenger seat, leather upholstery, front-seat heating, a memory system for driver’s seat/pedals/mirror, and a dual-zone automatic climate system. Heated/cooled front seats were standard for Premier. A power liftgate was added during the model year as standard for Premier and available for Luxury. Rear DVD entertainment was a late-season option except for Convenience.

Yearly Updates

2005 Monterey
Essentially unchanged from 2004, though a trailer-tow prep package with self-sealing tires was newly available for all models.
2006 Monterey
Again basically a rerun, in part because of continuing slow sales. Monterey is being cancelled after a very short 2007 model run.
2007 Monterey
Mercury says 2007 is the last model year for its slow-selling minivan.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

The only powerteam available for Monterey was a 201-hp 4.2-liter V6 and a 4-speed automatic transmission.

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.2/256
Engine HP 201
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 263
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

16/22

16.6

Road Test

Monterey and Freestar drive more like trucks than most all other minivans, lacking the carlike responses and refinement most buyers crave. For example, the 4.2 V6 has sufficient power for most situations, but sounds coarse and strained under full throttle. It’s also shy on power for quick highway passing and heading up long grades, especially with a sizeable load. The automatic transmission delivers smooth, prompt shifts, but has only four forward speeds vs. five in most competitors. That’s a drawback for performance and contributes to slightly subpar fuel economy, a test Monterey averaging 16.6 mpg in city/highway driving. A good thing only regular-grade fuel is required.

Handling is merely minivan-competent, with noticeable body lean in turns and a less-nimble feel than, say, a Honda Odyssey. Brakes are smooth and progressive, but don’t seem exceptionally strong. The long wheelbase and standard 16-inch tires contribute to a stable, mostly absorbent ride, but sharp bumps and ruts still register clearly. Rough pavement induces minor but unpleasant body vibration and marked tire thrum too. Add in the gruff engine note that never fully disappears and you have one of the noisier late-model minivans. The one upside is surprisingly little highway wind rush by minivan standards.

Not surprisingly, Monterey shares the Freestar dashboard with its clear instruments and mostly handy, intuitive switchgear, though climate controls mount too low for easiest driver access. The cabin abounds with budget-grade plastic, belying Monterey’s upscale pretensions. On the plus side, front passengers have ample room on comfortable seats. Very tall drivers might wish for more rearward seat travel, but that’s somewhat offset by strandard power-adjustable pedals on Luxury and Premier models. Outward vision is good to all directions, but this is a bulky vehicle, so Mercury was wise to include front and rear obstacle detection on all Montereys.

All rear seats are nicely padded and supportive. The second-row buckets slide fore and aft a few inches, but leg room is limited for lanky types even when they’re pushed all the way back. They also fold-and-tumble for third-row access, but that’s best left to kids, as is the third row itself, though the “tailgate party” seat is a fun feature.

There’s ample cargo space even with a full passenger load, thanks to the deep floor well that houses the flush-fold third row seat. Second-row seats fold without the need to remove headrests and can also be removed for maximum load space. The third row stows easily, but exposes two metal sidewall brackets that intrude into cargo space. Small-items storage disappoints for a family-oriented vehicle.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2005 Mercury Monterey Luxury

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 7
70%
Cargo Room - 10
100%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 58

Specifications

4-door van
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
120.8 201.1 76.0 70.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
136.9 26.0 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.9 40.1 40.7 38.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2005 Monterey 4-door van

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Brake wear
Description: Original equipment rear brake pads have a short service life. (2004-05)
Transmission leak
Description: Transmission fluid may leak from the filler tube due to a restricted vent valve. (2004-05)
None
Description: The antilock brakes and traction control system warning lights may come on and the ABS may activate unintentionally requiring replacement of the ABS module and/or the hydraulic control module and/or the brake pressure switch. (2004-05)
Transmission problems
Description: The transmission may shift late or engage harshly, and the engine may have rough idle or misfires due to water leaking from the fresh air intake area and onto the transmission vent or PCM. (2004-06)
Transmission problems
Description: The transmission may not upshift from first to second due to a damaged clutch piston seal inside the transmission. (2004-05)

Recall History

2004-2005 Monterey
Description: Torque converter output shaft may fail, resulting in sudden loss of engine power.
2004-2007 Monterey
Description: Stowable third-row seat can corrode and degrade where the seat anchors to the rear wheel wells, preventing the seat from latching securely.
2005-06 Monterey
Description: Some vehicles with power liftgate may have a liftgate motor that disengages after the liftgate is powered open, allowing the liftgate to fall without warning. Dealers will reprogram the power liftgate module free of charge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.