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2005 Ford Five Hundred


Redefining the American automobile—again

by Gary Witzenburg/

Ford says 2005 is its “Year of the Car,” and this is their “car.” Their new flagship Five Hundred is the 2005 equivalent of its revolutionary Taurus in 1986. Like Taurus 19 years before, it redefines the American car. But while Taurus was mostly about styling and character, Five Hundred redefines the interior package and powertrain.

“We took a look at the attributes that make crossovers popular,” says Ford Group Vice President, Product Creation Phil Martens, “and sought to deliver some of those qualities in a sedan. While the industry tries to create new car-based crossovers, the Ford Five Hundred stands alone as the first crossover-based car.”

It’s a 4-door sedan with SUV and crossover advantages, including cargo capability, versatility, “command” seating and available all-wheel drive. It accomplishes this by marrying a sedan body to an all-new, “Volvo-inspired” crossover platform. Volvo-inspired? Yes, because Swedish-maker Volvo is part of Ford’s European-based Premier Automotive Group (PAG).

Three inches longer than today’s Taurus but a foot shorter than Ford’s Crown Victoria, it cleverly crams a big-car interior into a midsize body and adds a 21 cu.-ft. trunk, one of the largest anywhere. Three series are offered, beginning with the well-equipped Five Hundred SE. The mid-range SEL adds appearance features, dual-zone air conditioning, an electronic message center, premium sound system and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The top-of-the-line Limited adds to that a painted bright grille, an Audiophile sound system, heated exterior mirrors, leather seating surfaces and heated driver and front passenger seats.

Inside, besides copious room and 60/40 fold-down rear seats, are upscale materials, colors, textures and graphics that Ford calls “guilt-free luxury.” The design builds on the Euro theme, with materials and surfaces varying from smooth metal door handles to soft-touch paint and high-quality fabric or leather. The SE has grey carbon-fiber-look accents, while our test SEL and the Limited benefit from (simulated) burled wood.

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