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2009 Mercury Milan ReviewThe Good
The 2009 Mercury Milan delivers nimble handling and a spirited driving experience, which belie its somewhat sedate exterior styling, and it comes equipped with a roomy, well-appointed cabin that will keep its occupants comfortable for short or long trips.The Bad
Performance remains the Milan's weak spot, as its four-cylinder and V6 engines result in an underpowered sedan, when compared to similar vehicles from competitive automakers.
The CarGurus View
The 2009 Mercury Milan has a lot going for it, including a solid build, good handling, and a comfortable interior. Some reviewers consider the Milan underpowered, although the majority of owners find the sedan's performance adequate for most driving situations. The Milan remains a good value in its automotive segment, although trims equipped with all-wheel drive are pricey.
At a Glance
A virtual twin of the Ford Fusion, although with its own distinctive styling and a more upscale pedigree, the Mercury Milan receives only minor updates for 2009, including standard Sirius satellite radio and available stability control. In addition, Mercury offers the Milan with an optional Voga Package for 2009. This package (which takes its name from the Spanish word meaning fashionable or trend-setting) adds cashmere-colored leather-trimmed seating, cashmere-colored trim inserts, and unique Voga-embroidered seat backs and mats, as well as exterior chrome accents and Voga center caps in 17-inch wheels. The Voga edition comes with either black or white exterior paint.
Now in the fourth year of its current design, which debuted in 2006, the Milan serves as Mercury's entry-level sedan. It sports a contemporary, aerodynamic exterior highlighted by a satin-aluminum Mercury "waterfall" grille, quad halogen headlights, and LED taillights.
Drivers can choose from six trims, including Base and Premier trims with either an inline four-cylinder engine or a V6 powerplant. The V6 trims are available with either standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive.
The Milan's base 2.3-liter Duratec four-cylinder engine produces 160 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque. It links to a five-speed manual transmission for the Base trim or a five-speed automatic transmission for the Premier trim. The EPA estimates fuel mileage for the four-cylinder at 20/29 mpg with the manual transmission and 20/28 mpg with the automatic transmission.
For an upgrade on power, drivers can opt for the Milan Base and Premier trims equipped with a 221-hp, 3.0-liter Duratec V6, which links to a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel mileage for the V6 checks in at 18/26 mpg for the front-wheel-drive trims and 17/25 for AWD trims.
The Milan's available intelligent all-wheel-drive system automatically transfers power to the wheels with the most traction to ensure optimal stability and grip in slippery road conditions. While the AWD system proves effective, especially for owners in northern climes, it's a pricey add-on, some note.
Ride & Handling
The Milan rides on a stretched platform borrowed from the MAZDA6, which provides a comfortable ride and allows for a roomy interior for a car of this size. Independent front and rear suspensions provide nimble handling, especially in corners, where the Milan exhibits minimal body lean. Power rack-and-pinion steering ensures a precise feel, although the Milan has a large turning radius, which limits its maneuverability in tight spaces like parking lots.
While the Milan gets generally positive reviews for its handling, its performance earns only lackluster comments. Many reviewers and drivers call the Milan underpowered, especially when compared to competitive vehicles such as the Honda Accord and Toyota Passat. Combined with merely average fuel economy for a sedan of the Milan's size, its mediocre performance remains one of the sedan's weak spots.
A step up from the Ford Focus when it comes to interior comfort, the Mercury Milan offers roomy seats with good support for long trips. Instrument gauges are easy to read, but the controls may take some time to figure out, and some consider the design of the controls outdated. Numerous storage compartments and bins, including six beverage holders, a two-tier center console, and a dash-top storage bin, provide plenty of places for busy families to store gear.
Cabin & Comfort
While it couldn't be called plush, the Milan certainly offers a comfortable interior with a quality feel. The Milan comes well-equipped with such standard features as a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a multifunction steering wheel, remote keyless entry, and a six-speaker AM/FM audio system with a CD player and an MP3 input jack.
The Premier trims add two-tone leather-trimmed seats, electronic automatic temperature control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and the SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment system, which enables drivers and passengers to use MP3 players, USB drives, and Bluetooth-compatible cell phones with hands-free operation. In addition, LED ambient lighting, which drivers can set to a variety of colors, illuminates footwells, the center console bin, and two front cupholders.
Optional features for the Premier include heated front seats, a power moonroof, and a voice-activated DVD-based navigation system. Owners can also add an upgraded eight-speaker Audiophile sound system with two subwoofers and an equalizer.
The Milan offers generous trunk space, with 15.8 cubic feet of cargo room, although some find the trunk too shallow for bulkier items. However, owners can expand cargo space by folding down the 60/40-split rear seats and front passenger seat, which enables the Milan to carry items up to 9 feet long.
The 2009 Mercury Milan earned a five-star rating (the highest possible) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for protection of the driver and front passenger in front and side-impact crash tests. However, the sedan received only four stars for protecting rear-seat passengers in side-impact crashes.
Standard safety features for the Milan include antilock brakes and a full range of airbags, including side impact and side curtain airbags. The Premier trims come equipped with headlights that activate automatically when outside light dims at dusk or in inclement weather. In addition, the Milan V6 trims receive traction control as a standard feature. When it detects slippage, the traction control system applies progressive braking and torque to the wheels that have traction.
The optional AdvancTrac Electronic Stability Control system, new for 2009 and available for all trims, operates in a similar way, automatically applying brakes and adjusting engine torque when it detects wheel slippage or skidding to help the driver maintain control of the vehicle. A reverse sensing system, also optional on all trims, uses ultrasonic sensors to detect obstacles behind the vehicle and notifies drivers with audible alerts if caution is required.
What Owners Think
The Milan's solid build, precise handling, and comfortable interior stand out for many owners, most of whom are pleased with their purchase of the vehicle. Despite some reviewers' comments about performance, most owners find the Milan's performance adequate for daily driving excursions. In addition, most owners find the Milan's fuel economy acceptable. Overall, owners feel the Milan stacks up well against the competition and consider the Milan a good value, offering more for the money than some competitive vehicles.
CarGurus owners generally give the Milan good marks overall, citing its build quality, styling, performance, and handling as positive features. They also find the Milan fun to drive, although some note excessive engine noise, and some find the back seat cramped.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in Florida.
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