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Established 2004

Mercury Milan, 2006: The Weekly Driver Car Review

With midsize monoliths like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry dominating the market for years, what do other manufacturers view as success with their respective offerings in the same class?

It’s a crowded segment of the car market, for sure. Fourteen manufacturers are represented in the midsize class and an additional 10 are featured in the premium midsize category.

Mercury hasn’t been a serious major player in either category. But like the Hyundai Sonata’s genesis a few years ago, the Milan and its close relative, the Ford Fusion, have a lot to offer against the dominating duo at a substantially lower price.

The Milan replaced the Sable in 2006 and it gives Mercury its first modern stylish sedan. It’s a roomy, four-door with a wealth of nuances. It all adds up to a well-designed, confident and stylish car that distinguishes itself well and against brands H & T.

As a new vehicle, the Milan drew attracts its share of attention.  Strangers in parking lots asked about the car and a few heads turned on the freeway. It’s a compliment to Mercury, with the Milan’s styling well-suited to the car’s European namesake city. The Milan is sleek and handsome and would be just as comfortable zipping along the open roads of Europe as it is in American suburbia.

My weekly drive was the Milan Premier. It featured a 3.0-liter, 221-horsepower V6 with a six-speed  automatic transmission. Standard also are 17-inch aluminum wheels with Michelin tires.

Further enhancing the car’s visual appeal was my vehicle’s “Satellite Silver” exterior matched well with a  “Dark Charcoal” leather interior. The complementary exterior paint and interior leather was also nicely toned against a silver metal dash and console.

The instrumentation dials are slightly raised, presenting a subtle but nice easy-to-read look. As a new vehicle, the Milan hasn’t received a makeover, of course. It’s just given the brand a good place to start to dispatch its often staid reputation.

The Milan also offers a surprisingly comfortable and “in-charge” ride. The V6 accelerates well, controls the road, maneuvers assertively in traffic and has above-average steering and handling attributes.

The Milan’s pleasant driving is complemented by the vehicle’s spacious interior. There’s plenty of leg and head room, particularly in the front seat. The car is marketed as a five-passenger sedan, but like many midsize cars, it’s more suited for four good-sized adults.

Standard features include a varied offering — AM/FM/6-Disc CD, telescopic steering wheel with audio and cruise control toggles, power heated side mirrors, remote keyless entry and front and rear dome map lights.

Mercury has also included interesting refinements — exterior side view night lights, a small dial clock in the middle of the instrumentation panel and Halogen headlamps.

My test vehicle also included Comfort and Safety and Security packages, both $595 options.

The former package groups air conditioning, automatic on-and-off headlamps, leather steering wheel, fog lamps  a compass and power mirrors. The latter package includes optional side curtain airbags and an alarm. Heated front seats ($295), traction control ($95) and an upgraded sound system push the options total to $2,000. It all just seems worth it.

Honda and Toyota have well-deserved loyal followers. But it’s good competitors like the Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion and now the Mercury Milan have emerged to help keep the industry leaders from being complacent.

Safety Features — Dual front airbags, front side and side curtain airbags.

Fuel Mileage (Estimates) — 21 mpg (city), 29 mpg (highway).

Warranty — Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/100,000  miles, Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited mileage; (24-hour) roadside assistance program, 3 years/36,000 miles.

Base Price — $22,845.00

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