Page 1: Intro
CHICAGO, IL -- You can only sell a million trucks a year.
And then, sooner or later, you have to sell a car or two. Lately, that seems to be a bit tricky for domestic automakers, especially where Ford is concerned. The Focus is a fine car, but it's too small for that great gray middle of the market. The Taurus is, well, the Taurus - and, as in Rocky 5, the champ is flat busted and living back in the rough part of town, known to car companies as the rental fleet. Ford needs to sell cars one at a time, and do it the way it used to - before it relied on SUVs and pickup trucks.
Ford needs to start selling an "everyman" car.
For good or ill, the 2005 Ford Five Hundred is it - at least until the 2006 Ford Fusion arrives next year. Whether it makes the grade will be, of course, up to how many of you plunk down hard-earned cash on it, and, ultimately, how many come back for more. After a weekend of driving this erstwhile domestic people's champion, however, one thing seems certain: The Ford Five Hundred will please you on the outside, wow you on the inside and, unfortunately, put you to sleep when you jump on the slender pedal.Such a shame. Ford was so close to building what would have been heralded as the perfect mid-sized sedan. With a nice euro-design and Ford sensibilities, the Five Hundred is just a little light under the hood, that's all. But the lack of grunt is a damning crime in the eyes of most Americans, especially when its competition, the overly muscular Chrysler 300, offers a power charge, with looks meant to intimidate. Yes, the Five Hundred is "thousands less" than the Chrysler 300 Limited or the Hemi-powered "C" version, but it's a sorry day when Ford markets itself as a discount carmaker.
Oops. They did that already, with all the rebate nonsense.
Page 2: Interior Space
Mission accomplished. Consider the Ford Five Hundred's trunk: it's bigger than the Crown Vic's, though the car itself is shorter. And the SUV-style driving position, which Ford refers to as "command" seating, provides an excellent, upright view of the road. In the back, shoulder room is plentiful and there's more than enough legroom. As far as control layout, the 2005 Ford Five Hundred has all its fingers and toes, turn signals and knobs - and they are where they should be. It's refreshing to sit inside a vehicle that uses similar textures and plastics throughout the interior, and though a few surfaces were a bit rough to the touch - specifically, the top of the front door panels - for the most part Ford interior designers put the right kind of material in the right spots to maximize comfort and enhance the driving experience.
Page 3: Driving
Page 4: All-Wheel Drive
Of course, not all 2005 Ford Five Hundreds get the all-wheel drive feature. Standard features on all Five Hundreds include a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, folding power side mirrors, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, one-touch automatic driver's window (up and down), premium AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD, driver's manual lumbar, traction control, electronic speed control and tilt steering column - so it's fair to say that all Five Hundreds come well-equipped. Options include all-wheel drive, power-adjustable pedals with memory, leather seats, power moonroof, reverse sensing system side-impact airbags with rollover air safety canopy. Trim levels start with the base SE, and go to the mid-level SEL, which adds appearance features, dual-zone air conditioning, an electronic message center, a premium sound system and leather-wrap for the steering wheel and shift knob. The top level Limited includes a painted grille and an Audiophile sound system, heated exterior mirrors, leather seating surfaces and heated front seats.
All 2005 Ford Five Hundreds get a broad swath of safety equipment and technology built into the vehicle's architecture. In frontal impacts, energy is expected to be absorbed by the frame rails and bumper plate design. Additional energy is transferred into a high-strength safety cage. According to Ford, this patent-pending design tailors the steering column's collapse to the driver's size and safety-belt use. Ford claims that rear-impact performance is designed to meet proposed future federal crash standards.
Independent crash testing will prove whether the 2005 Ford Five Hundred is as safe as the company claims. Considering the improvement in 2004 Ford F-150 scores from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, and considering that the Five Hundred's frame is based on the Volvo S80, it's a virtual fact that Ford is utilizing their safety knowledge base to significantly enhance and improve safety for their vehicles - including the Five Hundred. Safety equipment offered in the Five Hundred includes dual-stage driver and passenger front airbags, optional seat-deployed side airbags for the driver and front passenger, optional canopy side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, height-adjustable lap and shoulder belts for front outboard seating positions, three-point safety belts for all seating positions and a safety belt reminder for driver and front passenger.
Page 5: Wrap
Page 6: FAQs
What kind of power does the Five Hundred generate? The Five Hundred comes standard with the Duratec 30 3.0-liter V6 engine, which churns 203 horsepower and rates 207 lb. ft of torque.
Page 7: Notes
Price Range: $22,795 to $26,795
Engine Size and Type: Duratec 30 3.0-liter V6
Engine Horsepower: 203 hp at 5,750 rpm
Engine Torque: 207 lb.-ft. at 4,500 rpm
Transmission: CVT or six-speed automatic
MPG: 29 hwy/21 city (six-speed); 27 hwy/20 city (CVT)
Competitors: Buick LeSabre, Chevrolet Impala, Chrysler 300, Honda Accord, Hyundai Xg 350, Kia Amanti, Mercury Montego, Mitsubishi Galant, Nissan Altima, Nissan Maxima, Pontiac Bonneville, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Camry, Volkswagen Passat