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Ford Freestyle reliability - how does it compare?

mkaresh
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Ford Freestyle reliability - how does it compare?

Post by mkaresh » Sat Nov 05, 2005 10:59 am

In late 2005 I started conducting reliability research. I'm reporting absolute stats like "trips to the shop" that will make the differences between cars much clearer. I'll also be updating results four times a year, so there will be information on new models sooner.

Participants report repairs the month after they occur on a one-page survey. When there are no repairs, they simply report an approximate odometer reading four times a year, at the end of each quarter.

A number of people from this forum have been participating for some time--thanks, guys. The forum's owner has also been supportive.

To encourage participation, panel members will receive full access to the results free of charge.

For the details, and to sign up to help out:

Vehicle reliability research

Comments, questions, and suggestions welcome
Last edited by mkaresh on Sat Jul 21, 2007 9:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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DougS
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Post by DougS » Mon Nov 07, 2005 6:50 am

I just saw in this month's Consumer Reports magazine that there is a small article about reliability on some of the new model vehicles.

Funny thing about it is that the Ford 500 and Mercury Montego are listed as "recommended" because the reliability ratings are ok. The Freestyle is listed as "not recommended" because the reliability ratings are poor.

Just doesn't make sense since all three are basically the same vehicle with just different bodies.

mkaresh
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Post by mkaresh » Mon Nov 07, 2005 5:08 pm

DougS wrote:I just saw in this month's Consumer Reports magazine that there is a small article about reliability on some of the new model vehicles.

Funny thing about it is that the Ford 500 and Mercury Montego are listed as "recommended" because the reliability ratings are ok. The Freestyle is listed as "not recommended" because the reliability ratings are poor.

Just doesn't make sense since all three are basically the same vehicle with just different bodies.
If you compare different bodystyles for the same model in CR, you'll find that most of the time reliability varies greatly between the two. One especially puzzling example:

The Dodge Magnum V8 scores about 55 points higher than the Chrysler 300 V8. Meanwhile with V6s the Magnum scores about 25 points LOWER than the 300. For one car the V8 is much less reliable than the V6; for the other the opposite is true.

With the Five Hundred and Freestyle, the difference is about 20 points with FWD and 45 points with AWD. This despite the fact that the AWD cars have the CVT in common, while many FWD Five Hundreds have a conventional automatic. So you'd expect the difference to be larger between FWD models.

I'm writing an article on this very issue for my site, and will post it in a day or two. I'll provide a link here when I do.

The bottom line is that CR doesn't do nearly enough to investigate anomalies such as this one and report their findings.
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NorseaBlue
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Not?

Post by NorseaBlue » Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:49 pm

If the Freestyle is "not recommended" by CR, then why do I enjoy owning and driving mine so much? Obviously my mistake.

6 Months
6,379 miles
Zero Problems

Consumer Reports subscription cancelled 7 years ago.
Last edited by NorseaBlue on Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
'05 SEL Norsea Blue/Shale Leather
Frt. Row Comfort/Aux Climate/50/50 3rd row

mkaresh
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Re: Not?

Post by mkaresh » Mon Nov 07, 2005 8:13 pm

NorseaBlue wrote:If my Freestyle is "not recommended" by CR, then why do I enjoy owning and driving it so much? Obviously my mistake.

6 Months
6,379 miles
Zero Problems

Consumer Reports subscription cancelled 7 years ago.
What many people don't realize is that the differences between models are often in the tenths of a repair per vehicle. This is especially the case for cars in their first year. Last year the difference between the 2004 model year cars of the best Japanese brand and the average 2004 model year American car was one-tenth of an issue per vehicle. In other words, one issue for every ten cars.

By presenting results in absolute terms I aim to avoid a similar result.
Last edited by mkaresh on Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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dcomer
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Re: Not?

Post by dcomer » Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:21 pm

Consumers says that the AWD has much less than average reliability but the FWD has average reliability. So, it looks the FWD is actually quite good if you consider it's reliability relating to the first model year. American cars usually have issues the first model year.

So, Consumers subscribers are reporting problems with the AWD system. Rest of the car is up to snuff . . .

mkaresh
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Re: Not?

Post by mkaresh » Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:04 am

dcomer wrote:Consumers says that the AWD has much less than average reliability but the FWD has average reliability. So, it looks the FWD is actually quite good if you consider it's reliability relating to the first model year. American cars usually have issues the first model year.

So, Consumers subscribers are reporting problems with the AWD system. Rest of the car is up to snuff . . .
You cannot necessarily conclude this. See my post above. Basically, anomalies creep into the results that often cannot be readily explained. AWD models often do quite a bit worse than 2WD. But "worse" can mean only a tenth or two of an issue per car worse. The numbers are so low that a problem affecting one in ten vehicles can make a HUGE difference. Will it make a huge difference in anyone's life? Unlikely.
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DougS
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Post by DougS » Wed Nov 09, 2005 6:26 am

In regards to the Consumer Reports article, it does not distinguish between FWD or AWD models or even 6-speed vs. CVT (in regards to the 500/Montego). It just lists model names period.

kel2005
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CR on the Freestyle

Post by kel2005 » Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:50 am

You have to read the text description of the Freestyle to discover the difference in ratings between the AWD and the FWD. The charts do not reflect anything but the AWD models.

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Re: CR on the Freestyle

Post by mkaresh » Tue Nov 22, 2005 8:39 am

kel2005 wrote:You have to read the text description of the Freestyle to discover the difference in ratings between the AWD and the FWD. The charts do not reflect anything but the AWD models.
They seem to like the present the ratings for the least reliable model. They also have more info elsewhere in the issue.
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mkaresh
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Post by mkaresh » Sun Feb 05, 2006 10:17 pm

Just finished the first quarter of data collection. Moving on to the second. Participation rates were lower than I'd hoped last quarter. Those of you who want a better alternative to CR and JD Power--you've got to participate to make it happen.
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Mister Mitch
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Post by Mister Mitch » Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:09 pm

Good evening mkaresh,

Are you still looking for Freestyle owners to "log" into your site?

I am always willing to brag about this fantastic car that I bought...

Keep on truckin'

Mitch
2005 Ford Freestyle SEL AWD
Titanium Green, Artic Grey trim
Adopted 17 September 2005.
Gave her up 1 November 2007, Got her back 4 February 2008.
Sold again 26 November 2009, upgraded to 2009 Ford Flex Limited.
Catch me at https://www.fordflex.net

mkaresh
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Post by mkaresh » Sun Mar 12, 2006 2:51 pm

I'll be looking for more people forever. I just renewed the domain name for another nine years.

So far I don't have anywhere for people to brag about or trash their cars. I'm just looking for people interested in accurately reporting when their car goes into the shop, and otherwise just an odometer reading to the nearest 1000 once per quarter.

Current count is 54 2005s, 14 2006s for the Five Hundred / Freestyle / Montego.

Last quarter 21 of 42 people reported an odometer reading at the end of the quarter (I don't count their data otherwise). With a total of 57 vehicle-months, there were 4 trips to the shop. This seems about average given the results I'm seeing for other vehicles. For example, the Honda Odyssey had three trips for 49 vehicle-months. Too low a sample size to be reliable, though. The best I can say is that the Freestyle isn't terribly unreliable, as they're clearly not all in the shop all the time.
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Post by mkaresh » Tue Jun 13, 2006 7:41 am

Current count is 60 2005s, 21 2006s for the Five Hundred / Freestyle / Montego. I need more for both years, but especially the 2006s.

Results continue to track the same, a bit under one repair trip per year. Honda Odyssey a bit lower.
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mkaresh
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Post by mkaresh » Mon Nov 06, 2006 8:16 pm

Current count is 64 and 27. Still especially need more 2006s, and 2007s now that they're out.

The 2005 continues to have a repair trip rate around 1.0. With the 2006s, on the other hand, no one has reported even a single trip yet. Probably the small sample, but even so the 2006 appears to be considerably more reliable than the 2005.

I've also recently added fuel economy info to my site. The Freestyle does surprisingly well.

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