Knowing the competition was key in developing the all-new Mercury Milan
, especially when you look across the room and the competition is the category’s perennial sales hotshot Toyota Camry.
Not to be intimidated, the Mercury Milan
is a wonderful mid-size car that really delivers some true identity to the Mercury
nameplate and has the moxy (and the quality underpinnings) to go toe-to-toe with Camry and the rest of the offerings in this highly competitive class.
Based on the impressive Mazda 6 platform, Milan
offers base and Premier models which range from $18,345 to $25,500. While standard engines are a 2.3-liter 4 cylinder giving up 160 horsepower, my Premier tester came with the exciting 3.0-liter V6.
The additional horsepower with the engine upgrade (210-horsepower) not only enhances the driving experience, but it is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission which delivers crisp shifts and smooth acceleration. The 6-speed transmission is a rare option and a good value at this level. I’d recommend biting the bullet and upgrading for the approximate $4,000 as it will make a difference in fuel economy (21/29) and performance.
Many things are impressive about the Milan
, especially when you consider the cousins Ford Fusion and Lincoln Zephyr each realize their own identities. While they share the Mazda platform, that’s really where the visual similarities end. This is not something that has always been successfully accomplished in sharing platforms in the Ford stable.
Several elements add to a uniquely Euro-feeling car in Milan
. I like the Milan
’s rear high deck lid and the LED tail lamps. For me this reminds me a a few German car styling cues (which is not a bad thing). Traditionalists who may be dazed by the Milan
’s good looks will be sure to recognize the signature waterfall grille. I especially liked the chrome-tipped dual exhaust.
Part of the Premier level package on my tester was the attractive 17-inch alloy rims and big 225/50 treads. This is a perfect accent to the sophisticated styling of Milan
and it adds to the drivability as much as it does to the aesthetics.
I found the Milan
’s drive characteristics to be pleasing and pampering at times. Highway travel is quite comfortable with entry and exit maneuvers easily handled in the busiest of Chicago traffic. Bumps in some of the pothole-riddled city streets were hardly noticeable. Braking was secure and competent.
Inside the Milan
you will find comfortable seating for four adults. I found the interior to be inviting with leather buckets in front and cozy rear seating that had a utilitarian function to fold-down 60/40 with a simple latch pull. Dashboard instrumentation is attractive and functional. I particularly like the simple elegance of the black and white style and the chrome accents. It makes you feel like you are supposed to feel if you opt for a Mercury
Sound (lack of it) from the outside is minimal so the audio generated from the Audiophile Sound System upgrade ($420) is allowed to surround passengers with amazing digital quality. The eight speakers deliver precise audio from the 6-disc changer and the MP3.
With creature comforts such as power seats, heated side mirrors and audio and cruise control integrated into the steering wheel, Milan
delivers sophistication with function. Safety conscious buyers will like to know dual stage front airbags and side impact are standard. Milan
is a great car to consider in what is possibly one of the most competitive high-volume selling classes in the industry. This Mercury
can easily hold its own with the likes of Honda, Nissan and Toyota.