When Ford first introduced their full-size crossover in 2005, the Freestyle was met with mild applause. It was pitted against other already established crossovers like the Honda Pilot and Nissan Murano and some thought that the Ford Freestyle fell flat. It took the place of the Taurus station wagon in Ford's lineup but, from the beginning, didn't sell as well as the Taurus in its heyday. Ford stopped production of the Freestyle in mid-2007 and replaced it with the latest Ford Taurus X.
One of the most innovative aspects of the Freestyle was the command seating that was raised for easier viewing out the rear window. Many new crossovers suffer from poor rear visibility but the Freestyle never had that issue. Even with the addition, buyers simply weren't interested. According to reviewers, the Freestyle basically did not stand out from the huge crowd of crossovers and, without many of the luxury additions that competitors featured, the Freestyle was sure to fail.
Though the five-door crossover SUV had a reasonable estimated fuel rating, the 3.0L 203 horsepower V6 was less powerful than most full-size crossover engines. The Freestyle gained some recognition when it was equipped with a continuously variable transmission but the praise was short-lived. Also, even though the Freestyle was awarded the North American Truck of the Year, critics still found problems with the Freestyle, like the lack of hybrid technology.
The 2008 model year brought an end to the Ford Freestyle but, rather than completely scrapping the crossover and starting fresh, the maker revamped the vehicle and rebadged it the Ford Taurus X. Representatives for Ford claim that the concept of naming all of their vehicles with titles that start with "F" was a mistake; rather than standing out because of the alliteration, the vehicles were forgettable. The decision to go back to the Taurus title was due to Ford's great success and consumer familiarity with the name. Also, with a possible Ford and GM merger in the future, the name may undergo another makeover. However, both Ford and GM are neither confirming nor denying the potential merger. Regardless, the Ford Taurus X is getting a better reception than the Freestyle. But, with only minor changes to the grille, taillights and the addition of chrome accents, most buyers aren't convinced that the Taurus X is so different from the Ford Freestyle. However, the Taurus X might soon be one of the most sought-after crossovers after receiving more 5-star crash test ratings than any other vehicle in America.