Ford Fivehundred2004 - 2007
Category: USA / Australia
The Ford Five Hundred (code name D258) is a full-size sedan that was produced by the Ford Motor Company during the 2005 to 2007 model years in North America. In North America, the name evoked the classic Fairlane 500 and Galaxie 500 models of the 1950s through 1970s.
The Five Hundred was introduced at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It entered production on July 12, 2004 in Chicago, which previously produced the fourth-generation midsize Taurus, and it became available to the public in September 2004. While the Taurus's direct replacement in the midsize classification was the Ford Fusion, introduced in 2005, the Five Hundred was also considered by some to be a successor as well, and it replaced the Taurus on the Chicago Assembly line.
The Five Hundred, along with the Ford Freestyle and the Mercury Montego, ended production in April 2007. The mid-generational refresh for the 2008 model year debuted during the 2007 North American International Auto Show, with the Five Hundred being rebranded as the 2008 Ford Taurus, which returned that name to the Ford retail lineup after a short absence. The previous Taurus—which used a different chassis and was slotted in the smaller category of midsize cars—was available in the 2007 model year for private fleet sale and in Canada.
The facelifted Five Hundred entered the Middle East market starting from the 2008 model year.
The fullsize Five Hundred and the midsize Ford Fusion were part of Ford's initiatives of developing all-new passenger cars. The design for the production car was based on the 2000 Ford Prodigy concept car. The midsize segment had long been neglected by the company, as their direct predecessors, the Ford Crown Victoria and Ford Taurus had not seen a platform change for nearly a decade, relying instead on cosmetic and mechanical changes, and as such were no longer competitive with Japanese rivals whose offerings were updated more frequently. During the preceding ten years, Ford had relied too much on SUVs and light trucks, whose sales had dropped as a result of rising crude oil prices. In particular, the Taurus was planned to be discontinued as the company believed that the nameplate's brand equity had declined with a lack of development, though the Crown Victoria would remain in production for fleet sales.
The Five Hundred and the similar Mercury Montego are based on the Ford D3 platform (also known as the Volvo P2 platform), which also supports the Volvo S60 and S80 sedans, V70wagon, and XC70 and XC90 SUVs. This platform underpins the Ford Freestyle crossover SUV. Befitting its Volvo roots, the Five Hundred has garnered class leading results in crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Five Hundred is classified as a full-sized passenger car. It is longer than its competitors (such as the Chevrolet Impala and Toyota Avalon) but still a foot shorter than the rear-wheel drive V8 Crown Victoria. The Five Hundred was designed to match the large car interior volume, but at the same time still have manageable outside dimensions, while delivering a lower than average fuel use. Its design is also notably tall for a sedan, giving drivers an SUV or minivan-like command of the road. The Five Hundred's trunk is also larger than those of its competitors, so it can hold 8 full-sized loaded golf bags.
Interior room was emphasized in the Five Hundred's development, and interior materials include imitation carbon fiber as well as traditional woodgrain.
The Five Hundred was praised for its interior volume, design functionality, amenities for its price point, and safety features. However, it was criticized for its bland styling (which was similar in basic appearance to the 1986–1995 Taurus and 1992–1997 Crown Victoria) and weak 203 hp (151 kW) engine. These deficiencies are considered by the automotive press to have hurt the Five Hundred's potential appeal, especially in comparison to the Chrysler 300, another new full-sized sedan introduced around the same time, though the 300 is more upmarket and designed to be more sporty.
Consequently, the Five Hundred received a lukewarm reception from customers. Sales of the Five Hundred were very slow in Canada, with many Ford dealerships not even stocking the car on their lots. August 2006 sales were down by half compared to 2005, with the Taurus outselling the Five Hundred by two to one. 2006 sales were down month over month since its launch including 22% in 2006 over 2005 as a whole. (The 2006 Taurus was produced primarily for the fleet market.)
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Three trim lines were offered: SE, SEL, and Limited. An all wheel drive system was available across the range. Base prices start at US$22,795 for a front-wheel drive SE and range to US$28,495 for an all-wheel drive Limited.
Available powertrains consist of a 3.0 L Duratec 30 V6 engine rated at 203 hp (151 kW) and 207 lb·ft (281 N·m) of torque, and the choice of a continuously variable transmission or six-speed automatic transmission. The Haldex AWD (All Wheel Drive) system is based on that used in the Volvo S80 and Volvo XC90.
The 2006 Five Hundred carried over relatively unchanged: a new Navigation Radio made by Pioneer for Ford featuring Sirius Satellite Radio became an option, and Traction Control was no longer standard on front wheel drive models as it was in the 2005 model year. A mid-year running change removed the exterior doorside trim molding on all trim levels in favor of a small sill molding at the bottom edge of the door.
The 2007 Five Hundred remained basically unchanged. There were no substantial styling changes and no new powertrain options, but the SE model was discontinued because of the development of the new Ford Taurus in 2008.
A new Chrome Package became available, which included 18-inch eight-spoke alloy wheels and a chrome trim mesh grille. Also new for 2007 was a 5-year / 60,000-mile (97,000 km) powertrain warranty, and models built after September 4, 2006 have standard front-seat-mounted side air bags, as well as Ford's innovative Safety Canopy side air curtain system.
The restyled Five Hundred sedan, which was first shown at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show, was renamed Taurus for the 2008 model year. The rebadging announcement was made at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show. The updated Five Hundred / Taurus included a new 263 hp (196 kW) 3.5 L V6 and new front and rear styling. The CVT transmission, used with the AWD powertrain, as well as the Aisin 6-speed, were replaced by a new Ford-assembled 6-speed. The related Freestyle crossover became Taurus X and the Mercury Montego was renamed Sable as well. Ford also stopped selling the Five Hundred inMexico as well due to when Mexico became the first market in North America to get the Fiat 500 to avoid confusion status. The revived Fiat 500 went on sale in the United States &Canada as a 2011 model.
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