The all-new 2005 Ford Five Hundred reinvents the family car by marrying the body of a contemporary sedan to an all-new vehicle architecture. The unique combination results in an upscale four-door midsize sedan. It is expected to attract customers who appreciate the upright Command Seating™, flexible storage space and all-wheel-drive capability of an SUV, but who want the comfort and drivability of a sedan. It seats five.
Five Hundred is available in three levels of comfort: the value-leading SE, the midlevel SEL and the top-of-the-line Limited.
Ford Five Hundred is built in Chicago, Ill.
Five Hundred’s authoritative exterior design, with its clean geometric lines and stately proportions, displays confidence and luxury.
Classic Ford design cues include the trapezoidal, diamond-patterned grille, the window graphic with elegant chrome surround and, of course, the blue oval Ford badge centered along the rear of the trunk lid.
Premium features include 17-inch wheels (18-inch wheels are standard on Limited), entry keypad, one-touch "up" front power windows, plus a host of options like all-wheel drive, leather-trimmed seating with power adjustments (including power recline for the driver), fold-flat front passenger seat, reverse parking assist and moonroof.
Five Hundred is about 3 inches longer than a Taurus but roughly a foot shorter than the Crown Victoria.
Five Hundred’s seating is one of the car’s most impressive elements. The vehicle’s interior brings SUV-like Command Seating to the premium sedan segment, giving drivers and passengers a clear view of the road, yet possessing the low step-in height of a car. Occupants sit up to 4 inches higher than in other midsize sedans. The distance is even greater for second-row passengers. And overall legroom is best-in-class for both front and rear occupants.
Fold-flat rear and front passenger seats on SEL and Limited models translate to ample cargo space from bumper to dashboard. Furthermore, Five Hundred’s efficient packaging provides more trunk space than any sedan on the market. With more than 21 cubic feet of trunk space, Five Hundred can accommodate eight full-size golf bags.
Other touches include a front-row center console storage bin large enough for a small purse and CDs, an instrument panel storage bin for cell phones and PDAs, front- and back-seat map pockets, rear-seat armrest storage, eight beverage holders and door panel storage on each door for umbrellas and other slim items.
The interior styling includes inviting materials and surface treatments – from smooth metal-plated door handles to soft-touch paint finishes and high-quality fabrics or leather surfaces. SEL and Limited models have burled wood-pattern appliqués on the instrument panel, while the SE edition features appliqués that resemble metal mesh.
Five Hundred combines technology under the hood to create a dynamic driving experience. An improved 3.0-liter Duratec 30 V-6 engine works in concert with its continuously variable transmission (CVT) or six-speed automatic transmission to optimize both performance and fuel economy.
The CVT is standard on all-wheel-drive and some front-drive versions of the Five Hundred. It uses two variable-size pulleys – one for input from the engine, the other for output to the drive wheels – connected by a steel link belt. It varies the effective sizes of the two pulleys to meet the driving demands of the moment. Electronic powertrain controls, including a sensor on the electronic throttle, constantly monitor the demand for power. When more torque is needed for acceleration or maintaining speed up a steep hill, the transmission seamlessly responds by creating the right drive ratio from an infinite number of possibilities, allowing the Duratec 30 engine to operate at optimum performance.
Both transmissions offer wide spans from the lowest to the highest drive ratios. That translates into strong off-the-line acceleration, as well as high fuel efficiency on the highway.
Ride and handling
Five Hundred’s innovative combination of powertrain and chassis technology makes it a joy to drive.
The available all-wheel drive system, currently used by Volvo, delivers power to the wheels, creating a capable, smooth ride in a variety of conditions, such as uneven pavement, potholes, slippery surfaces and anything that compromises traction.
On all-wheel-drive models, innovative, self-leveling shocks sense ride height and use energy from the vehicle’s motion to raise the shock to the desired ride level. The system ensures that if the sedan is ever taken off pavement with a loaded trunk, it will maintain optimal ride height.
Dual-piston aluminum front brake calipers and large front and rear brake rotors provide strong stopping power and fade-free performance. Five Hundred’s fully independent suspension, stiff body structure and precise rack-and-pinion steering further contribute to confident ride and handling.
Safety and Security
The platform is engineered to offer stiffness with crush zones designed into impact areas. In frontal impacts, energy is absorbed by the frame rails. Excess energy is transferred around the passenger compartment into a high-strength safety cage. A patent-pending new design tailors the steering column’s collapse to the driver’s size and safety-belt use for optimum protection.
Rear-impact performance is so advanced that it is designed to meet proposed future federal crash standards. Side-impact protection comes from a combination of available air-bag technology and structural features that safeguard occupants from intrusion by channeling crash energy away from the passenger compartment. An innovative cross-car beam "Space Architecture" under the front seats reinforces the structure between the B-pillars, while directing energy away from passengers to an engineered failure point under the center console. The two-row Safety Canopy™ system with rollover sensor and air curtain bags provides peace of mind. It provides protection not only in certain side collisions, but in rollover events as well.
Frontal impact performance will meet the revised Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208, which requires the restraints system to automatically adjust to the front-seat passenger. The air-bag controller uses occupant classification sensing to determine if the seat is occupied, and if so, whether the passenger is an adult, a child or a child in a child safety seat. Air-bag deployment is tailored – or altogether suppressed – to provide the proper protection.
Major Equipment and Options
SE includes: Continuously variable transmission, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and traction control, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, chrome trim on fascia and grille surround, power folding exterior mirrors, interval wipers, keyless entry keypad, painted body-side moldings, power windows and locks, six-way power driver’s seat, split fold-flat rear bench seat, rear-seat arm rest with cup holders, two 12-volt power points, AM/FM stereo with single CD player, air conditioning, carpeted front and rear floor mats, seatback map pockets, tilt steering wheel with speed control, driver and passenger front air bags, occupant classification system and passive anti-theft system.
SEL adds: Six-speed automatic transmission (FWD only), 17-inch aluminum wheels, automatic headlamps, fog lamps, chrome body-side moldings, heated exterior mirrors, air-conditioning ducts in rear of front console, AM/FM stereo with six-disc in-dash CD changer, eight-way power driver’s seat, two-way power front passenger seat, automatic dimming rearview mirror, fold-flat front passenger seat, leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel with audio controls, message center with electronic compass, wood-grain appliqué on center stack and console, anti-theft perimeter alarm and remote perimeter lighting.
Limited adds: 18-inch bright aluminum wheels, chrome exterior mirrors, bright grille, Audiophile audio system with six-CD changer and subwoofer, analog clock, heated driver and passenger seats with leather seating surfaces, cargo net, Homelink®, memory function for driver’s seat and exterior mirrors and four-way power passenger seat.