For 2007, the Ford Freestar minivan line-up trims down: the SEL and Limited models are discontinued, leaving the S, SE and Sport (a Cargo Van version for commercial use is also available). The third-row Tailgate Bench Seat is standard on all models, and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS become standard equipment. Prices drop considerably from 2006, by as much as $4,896.

The Freestar uses a 4.2-litre V6 engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission; all models have seating for up to seven passengers, and its third row can be folded flat into the floor, or placed in a rearward-facing position for use during picnic or tailgating activities.

Features on the S include 16-inch steel wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, second-row bench seat, power mirrors, roof rack rails, air conditioning, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, tilt column, floor mats, CD player with four speakers, variable intermittent wipers, fixed-interval rear wiper, deep-tinted windows, and low tire pressure warning system.

The SE adds 16-inch aluminum wheels, roof rack, cruise control, second-row fold-and-tumble bucket seats, interior light package, and enhanced seating with seat pockets, grab handles and second-row seat-mounted cupholders.

The Sport adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, Advance Trac with roll stability control, rear wing spoiler, rear HVAC, power-adjustable pedals, six-way power driver’s seat, removable second-row captain’s chairs, leather-wrapped wheel, six-CD stereo with wheel-mounted controls, power rear vent windows, and reverse sensing system. A rear-seat DVD entertainment system can be added to the Sport model.

It’s no secret that Ford wants to get out of the minivan market, so if you were planning on getting one, this is probably the time. The drastic price drop helps considerably, and it’s a very quiet and well-equipped van. But it doesn’t offer as much interior room as most competitors, and it’s thirstier and not as refined as many others in this category. If you’re buying on price, though, you do get a lot of features for the cash, and a long-wheelbase configuration for what you’d pay for some “shorties.”

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