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2010 Mercury Milan ReviewThe Good
An admirable ride, improved power and performance, adept handling, fuel efficiency, and available all-wheel drive highlight the 2010 Mercury Milan.The Bad
The raucous four-cylinder engine's noise, a less-than-adept electric power steering system, and lackluster acceleration from the hybrid engine combine to tarnish a bit of the 2010 Milan’s luster.
The CarGurus View
Though not without detractors, Mercury's 2010 Milan, along with its award-winning Ford Fusion cousin, are among the best family sedans the country, not to mention the world, has to offer. The well-conceived, well-built, well-equipped Milan seems assured a place among the more refined automobiles on the market. Furthermore, a new Hybrid trim only enhances its appeal.
At a Glance
A subtle yet readily noticeable redesign of the front and rear fascias has given the 2010 Mercury Milan a somewhat more refined look, further distinguishing it from its Ford Fusion kinfolk. It’s a well-known fact that the Mazda6-based Fusion is one of Ford’s most successful entries in the five-passenger sedan market, and the Milan reflects the traditional refinement that Mercury adds to Ford’s more plebian design features. Two-tone interior trim and upholstery, as well as simulated wood and alloy pieces, along with genuine chrome trim accents in the cabin complement the exterior tweaks to proclaim Milan’s uniqueness.
With the addition of a hybrid trim this year, the 2010 Milan is now available in four trims, the base I4, midlevel I4 Premier, amped-up V6 Premier, and the state-of-the-art Hybrid. All trims except the V6 Premier are front-wheel-drive-only (FWD), with the V6 Premier delivered with standard all-wheel drive (AWD). As can be assumed from their names, the I4 trims are equipped with an inline four-cylinder engine (I4), with the V6 Premier, obviously, featuring a standard V6 powerplant. The Milan Hybrid also comes with a standard I4 gasoline engine that combines with the two-mode hybrid system for superb mileage and, needless to say, a smaller environmental impact. Additionally, a six-speed manual, six-speed automatic, or a six-speed auto-manual transmission is available, with the six-speed stick standard on the I4 and I4 Premier, and the automatic optional for the I4 Premier and standard with the V6 Premier. The Hybrid, meanwhile, is managed by a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that allows a more seamless transition from gas to electric power.
Ride and handling are among the Milan’s strong points, while standard amenities, build quality, and reliability have been upgraded to address some complaints from 2009. All indications are that the Milan/Fusion combination is going to give the likes of the Chevy Malibu, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry a run for their family-sedan money.
By popular demand, a new 2.5-liter I4 engine replaces 2009’s anemic and inefficient 2.3-liter I4 as the standard powerplant in the 2010 Milan I4 and I4 Premier trims. A standard six-speed manual transmission manages the I4’s 175 hp at 6,000 rpm and 175 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm, while a standard six-speed automatic does the same thing in the I4 Premier trim. The six-speed automatic is also an option for the base I4. With variable valve timing, this improved I4 is rated at some 22/29 mpg by the EPA, with some reviewers claiming an average closer to 29 under normal driving conditions.
As implied in its moniker, the 3.0-liter variable-valve-timed V6 engine and six-speed auto-manual transmission are the standard drivetrain for the 2010 V6 Premier full-time AWD trim. This combo nets 240 hp at 6,550 rpm and 223 lb-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm to the tune of 18/25. The V6 Premier’s AWD system, in the meantime, is managed by a center-mounted, mechanical, limited-slip differential.
Finally, there’s the FWD-only Milan Hybrid’s gas/electric powertrain, co-starring a variable-valve-timed 155-hp 2.5-liter I4 gasoline engine and 106-hp electric motor, supported by a continuously variable transmission (CVT). These two powerplants combine to produce some 191 hp and 136 lb-ft of torque, 0-60 in a respectable 8.7 seconds, and, best of all, an EPA-estimated 41/36. Regenerative braking helps to juice up the nickel-hydride battery pack, while automatic engine shutdown and startup at stops increase mileage while decreasing emissions. Mercury additionally claims a top speed of 47 mph on electric power alone, while a deceleration fuel cutoff feature for the 2.5-liter engine helps preserve its head-turning mileage numbers.
Most reviewers claim adequate power and performance from the conventional 2.5-liter I4, though it is noticeably raucous on acceleration, with little improvement at highway speed. One test had the 2.5-liter I4 improving its 0-60 acceleration to 9.5 seconds, so it’s a bit of a trade-off, a little noise for better performance. The V6, on the other hand, though a tad more subdued, noise-wise, is considered somewhat tepid in its performance compared with much of the competition. Most reviews, however, find it perfectly acceptable for normal driving. Less-impressive acceleration is noted by reviewers for the Hybrid system, though all note that once up to speed, the Hybrid passes and merges as well as the best of them, with a silky-smooth transition from gas to electric power. All of the Milan’s transmissions, including the Hybrid’s CVT, are described by most reviewers as smooth and responsive.
Ride & Handling
With a four-wheel independent suspension, bolstered by a long- and short-arm front setup, as well as front and rear stabilizer bars and multi-link rear suspension, the 2010 Milan is praised by virtually all professional reviewers for its elegant ride. Combined with the base I4’s 16-inch painted aluminum wheels and the 17-inch alloys standard with all other trims, this passenger-friendly suspension minimizes the usual road imperfections, with the Hybrid trim’s extra weight allowing even less jarring and jumping, though larger bumps will definitely be noticed. Reviewers sum up the Milan’s ride, for the most part, as quiet, comfortable, and refined.
Body lean and noseplow are well-modulated in all trims, with the Hybrid mentioned by a number of reviewers as especially graceful in turns. Unfortunately the Milan’s electric power steering is now used in place of the well-suited hydraulic system, leading to a significant degradation in road feel. Most vehicles of this ilk, however, are equipped with this type of steering with little effect on popularity.
Some reviewers find the Hybrid to have a “grabby” nature, in comparison to the conventional trims, leading to a bit of variation in stopping power. Also noted is a certain trickiness in modulating the Hybrid’s pedal pressure, which makes braking a matter one has to learn.
Cabin & Comfort
Notable for its added refinement, the 2010 Milan doesn’t skimp on standard cabin amenities, though there are one or two glaring omissions. For the base I4, standard goodies include a trip computer, premium cloth upholstery, six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, fold-flat front passenger seat, split-folding rear seats, power windows, door locks, and heated outside mirrors, a leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping steering wheel mounting audio and cruise controls, air conditioning with cabin air filtration, a single-CD player with six speakers, and Sirius satellite radio. Both the I4 Premier and V6 Premier trims add leather upholstery, multi-level heated, power-adjustable front seats, digital keypad power door locks, simulated alloy accents, dual-zone climate control, SYNC in-vehicle infotainment technology with Bluetooth integration, and a USB connection. The Milan Hybrid is equipped similarly to the Premier trims with the addition of leather and chrome accents on the shift knob and center console. Alas, with its bulky battery pack, the Hybrid offers no split-folding rear seatbacks, and trunk space drops from the conventional Milan’s respectable 16.5 cubic feet to 11.8 cubic feet.
Options for the base I4 include many of the standard amenities of the Premier trim level, including the highly regarded SYNC infotainment technology. Further options available throughout the lineup include voice-activated DVD navigation, power moonroof, 18-inch luster nickel wheels, upgraded Sony audio components, including a 6-CD changer and 12 premium speakers, rear spoiler, and the VOGA appearance package featuring Cashmere leather upholstery and appointments, upgraded wheels, and unique VOGA badging.
As for the glaring omissions mentioned earlier, the 2010 Milan does not offer a universal remote garage door opener/safety light transmitter, nor is driver memory technology or dedicated rear-seat entertainment available.
Though gauges are large and unobstructed, more than a few reviewers find them to be somewhat indistinguishable in daylight, while audio and climate controls are inconveniently placed and difficult to differentiate. Seats are found to be supportive and comfortable by the vast majority of reviewers, while road and wind noise are, for the most part, well tempered by cabin insulation. Most cabin trim is found to be top-shelf, with liberal soft surfaces, as well as better-than-average fit and finish.
Government crash tests affirm that the 2010 Milan is among the safest family sedans available today. Standard accident avoidance systems throughout the lineup include four-wheel disc ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, as well as traction and stability control. Passenger protection equipment includes standard dual front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, post-collision safety system, and remote anti-theft alarm. Optional for the base I4 and standard with the Premier and Hybrid trims are SYNC-integrated Vehicle Collision Notification and Airbag Deployment Notification through automated text messaging and e-mail, as well as front fog/driving lights, reverse parking sensors, rear-view camera system, and the Cross Traffic Alert blind-spot warning system.
Tests on the 2010 Milan at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) resulted in five stars for front and side impact protection, four stars for rear side impact protection, four stars for FWD rollover safety, and five stars for AWD rollover protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) backs up the Milan’s safety record with its highest rating of Good for front and side impact protection and its second best rating of Acceptable for roof strength.
What Owners Think
Though addressing a number of owner complaints from 2009, Mercury has still to contend with a number of glitches noted by owners of the 2010 Milan, including the lack of a number of common standard and optional features, a noisy I4 engine, a hefty Hybrid price tag, poorly designed headrests, and some problems with discernment of gauges in the daytime, as well as poor placement of a number of controls and buttons, particularly the audio and climate controls. The still-apparent lack of hood struts to replace the somewhat chintzy support bar also has a few owners scratching their heads, as does the fact that the Sirius satellite radio programming accepts readmission to only its priciest subscription plan.
On the positive side, however, owners laud the improved power of the new conventional 2.5-liter I4 as well as the 2010 Milan’s more refined appearance. Ride comfort and Ford's much-ballyhooed SYNC system are also among the items most highly praised by owners, while hybrid technology, available AWD, and fuel efficiency up and down the lineup come in for their share of owner adulation. All in all, cheers far outweigh jeers for the 2010 Milan, but there’s always room for improvement, and a number of owners have commented that Ford/Mercury seems to get it.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.
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