Build to overtake, the top market models such as Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, from leading the midsize sedan car market. With it’s slick design the 2006 Mercury Milan, aims for a younger class of buyers than the company was used to.
The Mercury Milan is based on the Ford CD3 platform. It carries unique front and rear fascia designs, but is otherwise identical to its Ford cousin, the Ford Fusion. The Milan is the replacement for the Mercury Sable, and fills the gap since the discontinuation of the Mercury Mystique in 2000.
The car is Mercury’s lowest-price vehicle and the automaker says it represents a "large growth opportunity." It’s counting on the Milan to annually help increase its sales to 500,000 vehicles by the end of the decade. In a world where fuel’s price is climbing and people are switching from trucks to more fuel-efficient cars, this could be just at the right time for Ford.
The new Milan’s expressive exterior and high-end interior are aimed squarely at the younger generation of customers, with its design inspiration and cues from the modern.
The new Milan has a weird attraction , maybe because of the low price and fuel consumption or the contemporary design, don’t know , I guess you’ll be the judge of that.
’Design is a key differentiator in the marketplace and is what separates us from the competition. Mercury is about good designs inspired by modern architecture,’ says the chief designer Darrell Behmer . With Milan, Mercury again shows it is a design-conscious brand that offers smart design at a good value.’
The dramatic waterfall grille, clean lines, distinct rear treatments, satin aluminum finishes and attention to detail - that accentuate its long wheelbase and dynamic stance. The instantly recognizable Mercury grille is precisely set between wide headlamps that wrap up over the sharply creased front fenders. A satin aluminum finish adorns the grille, Mercury badges and lower front fascia trim, creating visual jewelry that emphasize the distinctive, clean design. The bright chrome beltline visually stretches the car to highlight its length.
The standard light-emitting diode (LED) taillamps, in the rear side, sends a clear signal of the car’s technical precision.
The Milan has a less aggressive appearance than the Fusion’s. Even the Milan’s bright dual exhaust outlets are subtly put below the bumper so they’re visible but don’t give a hot rod look.
The body sides are clean and chiseled, allowing the car’s length and its large and uniquely designed wheels to establish a strong visual profile.
’The name ’Milan’ connotes visions of a modern, fashionable European city, fitting the car’s design theme and young customers like a finely tailored suit,’ says Behmer. ’Just like the city, the car is expressive of both style and taste.
Milan’s interior is comfortable and secure, distinguished in look and feel, and technical in its precision.
’Today’s consumers are extremely demanding and expect quality, top-notch executions. We incorporated the clean design and precision of the exterior throughout the Milan’s interior,’ says Peter Horbury, executive director, Design. ’The relentless attention to detail communicates quality and craftsmanship.’
The new Milan brings a fresh flair to the interior design of mid-size cars by carrying the exterior’s modernity and clean surfaces through to the cabin. Mercury ’s hallmarks of upscale, quality materials, satin aluminum finishes and a passionate attention to detail provide a dramatic departure from ’plain vanilla’ mid-size sedans.
The car has a pretty low level noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) to help continue driving customer satisfaction long after first impressions subside. This is possible only do to the relentless efforts of the engineering team’s, advanced aerodynamics computer modeling, a solid structure and strategic use of sound-deadening materials that contributed.
Milan uses upgraded materials throughout its interior, such as leather seats and either Satin Metallic or Wales Mahogany wood trim finishes. One element that sets Milan apart from most mid-size sedans is the availability of two-tone leather seating surfaces with contrast stitching. However, the front seats need more lateral support for such things as emergency maneuvers or spirited driving.
Mercury Milan comes with two sets of trim levels, a base one and Premier, with prices ranging from $18,345 to $22,845.
Equipped with a nice set of standard features, such as, air conditioning, a power driver’s seat, cruise control, an AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, a tachometer, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel and power windows, heated mirrors and locks with remote keyless entry, on the Premier model, leather upholstery, anti-lock brakes (ABS), an upscale sound system and wider tires on 17-inch (vs. 16-inch) wheels. Optional heated front seats, power sunroof and traction control with the V6.
Gauges have a custom, European look, and the crisply styled dashboard has easily used controls-especially for the audio and climate control systems. While deep, the covered front console bin has room only for smaller objects.
Four tall adults fit comfortably in the quiet interior. Large, easily grasped door handles make it easy to slide in and out, and front doors have storage pocket with beverage holders.
There’s enough glass area to make the interior feel airy, but a driver must be careful backing up because he can’t see where the rear of the car ends or what’s directly behind it. Too bad no rear-obstacle-detection system is available.
The handling is a little bit tricky on low-speed maneuvers, such as parking, due to the quick but heavy response from the power steering ,although at highway speed its secure feeling is appreciated.
Milan’s competent, well-balanced chassis also helps drivers avoid accidents. Should an accident occur, the Milan features a comprehensive safety package with advanced high-strength steel construction and as many as six available airbags.
Mercury’s safety engineers developed body structures that help direct crash energy away from the passenger compartment and used energy-absorbing materials to help cushion the effect on vehicle occupants.
Engineers strengthened Milan’s sides to better manage intrusion into the cabin during a side impact. Available side air bags and side-curtain air bags enhance this protection.
The new Milan comes with a choice of powertrains geared for the challenges and responsibilities of city driving, offering performance balanced with fuel efficiency and clean emissions.
Milan is equipped with two engine: an 2.3 L (2261 cc) Duratec, aluminum engine block with cast iron cylinder liners and aluminum DOHC cylinder heads. It uses SFI fuel injection, has 4 valves per cylinder with VCT and features fracture-split forged powder metal connecting rods and a one-piece cast camshaft, that provides 160 horsepower flowing through either a five-speed manual or automatic.
And a 3.0 L (2967 cc) V6 Duratec engine that has an output of 221 hp (165 kW) at 6250 rpm, and 205 ft•lbf (278 N•m) of torque at 4800 rpm.
The engines are also fuel-efficient and burn fuel cleanly. The Duratec 23 is qualified for Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle certification in California while the Duratec 30 will earn Low Emission Vehicle II evaporative standards in most states and even Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle II tailpipe recognition in California.
In calendar year 2008, Mercury will offer Milan with a hybrid powertrain - making it the fifth full hybrid in the Ford Motor Company stable, following the Ford Escape Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Mercury Mariner Hybrid and Mazda Tribute Hybrid.