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2010 Mercury Milan Preview

2010 Mercury Milan Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2009

Critical Knowledge:
  • New styling
  • Revised interior
  • New Hybrid model
  • Hybrid can run on electric power up to 47 mph
  • Increased power for base 4-cylinder and V-6 engines
  • More sound deadening material for a quieter interior
  • New blind-spot information system with Cross Traffic Alert
  • Next-generation Sync entertainment and communications system
  • Navigation system adds Sirius Travel Link
  • On sale spring of 2009
Introduction
Mercury introduced the Milan for the 2006 model year as an upscale midsize sedan slotted between the Ford Fusion and the Lincoln Zephyr (the latter became the MKZ in 2007). Under their skins, all three cars are basically the same and now, for 2010, Ford Motor Company is giving the trio a midcycle update with new styling, more powerful engines, and revised interiors. The big news for the 2010 Mercury Milan is the addition of a Hybrid model (the Fusion lineup gets one, too). Front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) Milans return, able to seat 5 or accommodate more cargo thanks to a split-folding rear seat. New technology features include the next generation of the Sync entertainment and communications system, an optional Sony audio system, a navigation system with Sirius Travel Link, and a blind-spot information system with Cross Traffic Alert.

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Design
The Milan's exterior changes include a new grille, fenders, hood, and front and rear fascias. A lower front fascia and underbody tidiness will make for better aerodynamics and a sportier look, Mercury says. Inside, the Milan adds new metallic finishes to the instrument panel, center console, doors and steering wheel. The new instrument panel gets a soft upper and lower skin, and the armrests are wrapped and padded. The seat contours are also changed to add more side support. Finally, additional sound deadening material will reduce noise levels in the cabin.

Model Lineup
The 2010 Mercury Milan will be offered in base, Premier and Hybrid models, and AWD will be available on models equipped with a V-6 engine. Standard equipment levels were not announced at the car's debut, but we expect them to be similar to those of the 2009 Milan. If that holds true, the base model will come with cloth upholstery; air conditioning; tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls; cruise control; 6-way power-adjustable driver's seat with lumbar adjustment; aluminum interior trim; power windows; power locks; heated power mirrors; remote keyless entry; CD/MP3 player; Sirius satellite radio; and 16-inch wheels. The Premier would add leather upholstery; automatic climate control; leather-wrapped steering wheel; 6-disc CD changer; Sync communications and entertainment system; auto-dimming rearview mirror; compass; automatic headlights; fog lights; and 17-inch alloy wheels. The Hybrid model will have eco-friendly seat fabric made from recycled materials, a standard 110-volt power outlet, and unique 17-inch wheels.

Options will include a 12-speaker Sony audio system; programmable ambient lighting; new blind-spot information system with Cross Traffic Alert; rear park assist; and a navigation system with voice activation and Sirius Travel Link. The ambient lighting system illuminates the front cupholders and front and rear footwells in one of seven colors. Sirius Travel Link provides real-time traffic data; weather data including current conditions and five-day forecasts; fuel price information at area gas stations; movie listings; and sports scores and schedules.
Hardware
Both of the Milan's standard gasoline engines are upgraded for 2010. The lineup starts with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that will make 175 hp and 172 lb.-ft. of torque. It will replace the current Milan's 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 160 hp and 156 lb.-ft. of torque. The Duratec 3.0-liter V-6 engine will carry over, but it will be updated to produce 240 hp and 222 lb.-ft. of torque versus 221 hp and 205 lb.-ft. of torque in the current model. The 3.0-liter V-6 engine will also be flex-fuel capable, meaning it will be able to run on gasoline, E85 ethanol, or any combination of the two.

The 4-cylinder will trade 5-speed manual and 5-speed automatic transmissions for a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. The V-6 will come only with the automatic, and it will add SelectShift manual shift capability. Thanks to the new transmissions and electric power steering, Mercury says both engines will see an increase in fuel economy, up to 4-5 mpg depending on the model. The current 2.3-liter 4-cylinder gets 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway with the manual transmission and 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway with the automatic transmission. The current V-6 has EPA ratings of 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway with FWD and 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway with AWD.

Also new for 2010 will be the Milan Hybrid. It will come with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 155 hp and 136 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine will be mated to a power-split continuously variable automatic transmission with two electric motors. Total output will be 191 hp. Mercury says the Milan Hybrid will be able to run on electric power alone up to 47 mph. While Mercury hasn't announced fuel economy numbers for the Milan Hybrid, company officials have said it will get at least 39 mpg in the city, at least 6 more city mpg than the Toyota Camry Hybrid.
Safety
Like the 2009 model, the 2010 Mercury Milan is expected to include dual-stage front air bags; torso-protecting front side air bags; head-protecting side curtain air bags; tire-pressure monitor; and anti-lock brakes. Traction control will likely be standard on V-6 models.

Rear park assist, a rearview camera, and a new blind-spot information system (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA) will be optional on the Milan. BLIS uses radar in the rear quarter panels to check the car's blind spots. When a vehicle is detected, the system illuminates an amber light in that side's exterior mirror. CTA helps drivers back out of parking spots. It uses the radar to scan for moving vehicles within three car widths of either side of the car. If it detects a vehicle, CTA warns the driver with a light in the appropriate outside mirror and sounds a beep.
Technology
The 2010 Milan Hybrid will come with Mercury's SmartGauge with EcoGuide. This unique instrument cluster helps drivers optimize fuel economy, Mercury says. It includes two full-color LCD screens on either side of the speedometer that can be configured to show different levels of information, including: fuel and battery power levels; fuel-economy history; average and instant miles-per-gallon; electric vehicle mode indicator; engine and battery output power; power to the wheels; accessory power consumption; and trip data. The system also "grows" leaves and vines, called "Efficiency Leaves," on-screen to reward customers for efficient driving.

Developed with Microsoft, Sync provides a hands-free link to cell phones and MP3 players through voice commands. It recognizes your cell phone's phonebook, can read incoming text messages through the stereo system, and allows occupants to respond with one of 15 predetermined messages. When an MP3 player is plugged in, Sync charges it and has access to the complete playlist. Sync will also stream songs wirelessly from a source like a phone or MP3 player enabled with Bluetooth technology.

The new generation of Sync system adds 911 Assist which, in the event of an accident with an air bag deployment, automatically places a call to the local 911 operator, provided a paired, operating cell phone is in the car. Drivers can cancel the call within a 10-second window and communicate with the 911 operator after the system plays a pre-recorded message. The new Sync system also offers the ability to request Vehicle Health Reports (VHRs). Preferences for the new Vehicle Health Reports can be set up at www.syncmyride.com, and customers can request the reports through the Sync system when a paired, operating cell phone is in the vehicle. The VHRs are sent via text message or e-mail, and customers can schedule vehicle service online. Owners can also have Sync prompt them to run VHRs at mileage intervals that coincide with their vehicle's maintenance schedule.

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