by: Jenny McLane
The Five Hundred will become Ford's flagship sedan. It has higher seating, increased interior space, and optional all-wheel drive. The Five Hundred has considerably more interior space than the full-size Crown Victoria, even though it's only 25 centimeters shorter
"While the industry tries to make car-based crossovers, the Ford Five Hundred stands alone as the first crossover-based car" said Ford vice president Phil Martens.
It's a 4-door sedan with SUV and crossover advantages, including cargo capability, versatility, "command" seating and available all-wheel drive.
The Five Hundred's 3.0-litre Duratec V6 engine makes 200 horsepower while two transmissions will be offered: a six-speed automatic and a CVT (continuously variable transmission).
The front seat H (hip) point is four inches higher than that in a typical midsize sedan, and the rear seats are higher still. Legroom is best-in-class front and rear, while the trunk is biggest in class. An appealing truck/SUV attribute of the Ford 500 is high seating that helps drivers see over-or at least eye-to-eye with-other vehicles for a feeling of security.
Standard features include 17-inch wheels (upgraded to 18-in. on SEL and Limited), entry keypad and one-touch "up" front power windows. Options include AWD, leather seating with power adjustments (including power recliner for the driver), fold-flat front passenger seat, reverse parking assist and a moon roof, but not yet a navigation system.
The Five Hundred is a front-wheel-drive car with available all-wheel drive. It uses an electronically controlled, electro-hydraulic Haldex limited-slip viscous coupling just ahead of the rear differential to transfer torque to the rear wheels whenever the fronts begin to slip. Electronic controls gather information from the anti-lock brakes and other sensors to enable it to react within 50 milliseconds, much faster than competitive viscous devices.
Ford 500 Safety feature boasts structural advances such as "Space Architecture" cross-car beams, which won four top five-star safety ratings from the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), including for front and side impacts. It was the only 2005 model tested to win top marks for those two crash tests without the optional side air bags.
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About the author:
Jenny McLane is a 36 year old native of Iowa and has a knack for research on cars and anything and everything about it. She works full time as a Market Analyst for one of the leading car parts suppliers in the country today.