Page 1: Introduction
DETROIT, MI - Nobody would refute the argument that the Ford Crown Victoria and the Ford Taurus have become aged, inferior products incapable of competing on equal footing with modern family sedans. The former last saw a redesign in 1992; the latter in 1996. Both have been updated and freshened along the way, but the fact that most wind up exiting the dealership fleet sales offices rather than the showroom is testament to the fact that consumers have been looking elsewhere to satisfy their family transportation needs.
That's about to change. The 2005 Ford Five Hundred is compelling enough to bring sedan buyers back into the Ford fold, offering class-leading interior space, a giant trunk, an available all-wheel-drive system, and impressive safety systems. There's just one thing that Ford left out of the equation - horsepower.
Under the hood resides a 3.0-liter V6 engine dubbed the Duratec 30 that meets stringent new LEVII emissions standards. It makes 200 horsepower and 200 lb.-ft. of torque, which might be just enough to adequately motivate the base 3,643-pound model but is almost certain to struggle with a loaded AWD model weighing more than 3,800 pounds. Seriously, what's up with this? Plop that 4.6-liter V8 sitting in the parts bin under the Ford Five Hundred's hood, and give that Pontiac Bonneville GXP a run for its money!
Page 2: Features
The 2005 Ford Five Hundred comes in SE, SEL and Limited trims. Standard features include a power driver's seat, traction control, cruise control, tilt steering, keyless entry, air conditioning, power mirrors, power windows, power door locks, floor mats and a CD player. The SEL adds heated exterior mirrors, fog lights, chrome exterior bits, automatic headlights, a message center, a self-dimming rearview mirror, an outside temperature display, a fold-flat front passenger seat, an in-dash CD changer, an automatic dual-zone climate control and leather on the steering wheel and gearshift knob. Popping for the Limited nets the buyer additional exterior detailing, heated leather seating, an Audiophile sound system, trunk netting, a power passenger seat, a Homelink universal transmitter and special cream-colored gauges. The Ford Five Hundred can be outfitted with a power moonroof if the buyer desires.
Page 3: Space
The 2005 Ford Five Hundred is an exceptional design from Ford from both stylistic and functional standpoints. It lacks engine power, and it seems that the company forgot to include its AdvanceTrac stability control system on this new model, but otherwise we can find little to fault here. If crash test scores are good, and long-term reliability proves the Five Hundred durable, it's conceivable that the industry will look back on January of 2004 as the date when Ford rewrote the book on family sedans…again.
-- Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company