For the first time ever, Ford Motor Co.'s upscale Mercury Division has a full-size minivan to sell. The 2004 Mercury Monterey replaces the Villager minivan, which was developed through a joint venture between Ford and Nissan and built at a Ford plant in Ohio. (Nissan's version of the van was the previous-generation Quest; it since has been replaced with a dramatically styled all-new minivan of the same name.) The Villager was never considered a full-fledged minivan. It was far smaller than traditional minivans and in earlier generations it was extremely underpowered and carried a hefty price for its smaller package. Ford Motor Co. is trying to breath new life into the Mercury division. However, it is doing so by feeding it vehicles that are basically Ford Division models. Such is the case with the Monterey, which is essentially a rebadged Ford Freestar, which in turn, is an updated and renamed Windstar. The Monterey is a highly competent minivan. It's extremely quiet underway, on par with the new Toyota Sienna. Its ride is smooth, and steering and handling are responsive. Its 4.2-liter V6 is the largest displacement engine for a minivan and delivers adequate power. It has an upscale interior loaded with features such as heated and cooled front seats, a third row that easily folds flat into the floor, and a park-assist system. Safety features abound, though some are optional, and the Monterey is expected to perform well in a crash.