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The Ford Five Hundred - Redefining the North American Sedan

Model - Ford Five Hundred

Status - Model Year 2005, Available 2004

Source - Ford Motor Company










Ford Motor Company is launching the Year of the Car by introducing six new car and crossover models in 2004. One of the five that will wear the Blue Oval badge is the most significant all-new sedan the industry has seen since the 1980s – the Ford Five Hundred.

The Five Hundred represents no less than the reinvention of the family car. It is a four-door sedan that boasts many of the advantages associated with sport utility vehicles and crossovers, including cargo capability, versatility, command-of-road seating and all-weather confidence.

Five Hundred accomplishes this by marrying the body of an upscale, contemporary sedan to an all-new, purpose-built crossover vehicle platform. The result is much more than a typical passenger car.

Five Hundred packages a big-car interior in a midsize body and includes one of the largest trunks available anywhere. It redefines comfort with highly flexible, upright command-of-road seating that positions drivers as much as four inches higher than traditional mid-size cars. And it offers Ford’s industry-leading safety technology – including state-of-the-art side-impact and rollover protection.

Five Hundred’s all-new continuously variable transmission and six-speed automatic provide an unprecedented combination of performance and economy. Its European-inspired chassis delivers a satisfying, responsive driving experience on North American roads.

New Ford Flagship

The all-new Five Hundred is designed to be the flagship sedan in the Ford stable, setting the stage for a complementary lineup of all-new Ford vehicles that will roll out over the next few years. As the only car in its competitive group offering all-wheel drive, Five Hundred is expected to draw new customers to the Ford brand, including some who might otherwise have purchased an import.

Among Five Hundred’s features are:
- A contemporary, upscale design, both inside and out
- Interior volume that surpasses all others in its class
- Surprising cargo room with versatile, fold-down seats and the largest trunk of any Ford vehicle
- Available all-wheel drive for all-weather traction – a feature noticeably absent from many direct competitors
- High-package seating for all-day riding comfort and maximum visibility
- Industry-first high-volume application of a fuel-efficient, continuously variable transmission
- A new six-speed automatic for front-wheel-drive applications offering outstanding fuel economy in a conventional step-gear transmission
- Brisk acceleration by a powerful Duratec 30 V-6 engine and continuously variable or six-speed automatic transmission
- Energy-channeling frame and body structures by Ford and Volvo
- An optional safety package that includes side air bags and industry-leading Safety Canopyâ„¢ for protection in side impacts and rollovers
- Total Vehicle Geometry engineering protocol that improves quality and enhances the car’s overall value

Five Hundred Latest in Ford’s Product Barrage

The Five Hundred is one of five new cars and crossovers set to enter Ford showrooms in 2004. Joining it are the all-new Ford GT supercar, the 2005 Focus, the all-new Freestyle crossover and the all-new Mustang.

Added to the recent Ford F-150, Freestar and Mercury Monterey launches – and next year’s debut of the Mercury Montego and the Ford Escape Hybrid – this amounts to one of the most far-reaching product lineup renewals in Ford Motor Company history.

Comfort a High Point

Five Hundred’s high package interior brings SUV-like command seating to the premium sedan segment, giving drivers and passengers a clear view of the road.

“Customers say one of the things they love most about our SUVs is the way they can see the road without feeling overwhelmed by other vehicles,” said Jan Vulcan, chief nameplate engineer for the Five Hundred. “With our high-package interior, they can get this same feeling and still have the low step-in height and driving dynamics of a car.”

To create this environment, Ford engineers designed the seating around a high “H-point,” which is ergonomic terminology for the pivot point of the human hip joint. Legroom statistics are important, but unless H-point dimensions are considered, they don’t tell the whole story.

For Five Hundred’s front-seat passengers, the distance between the H-point and the vehicle floor is up to four inches higher than in other midsize sedans. The distance is even greater for second-row passengers. And overall headroom is best in class for both front and rear occupants.

That emphasis on roominess extends to Five Hundred’s trunk. Not only is it the biggest in its class – offering 50 percent more room than most competitors – Five Hundred’s trunk is larger than that of Ford’s full-size Crown Victoria sedan, a vehicle measuring nearly a foot longer overall.

Premium features include 17-inch wheels (18-inch wheels are standard on SEL and Limited), entry keypad, one-touch “up” front power windows, plus a host of options like all-wheel drive, leather seating with power adjustments (including power recline for the driver), fold-flat front passenger seat, reverse parking assist and moon roof.

Design Statement: Five Hundred a Premium Sedan

Five Hundred’s exterior design, with its clean geometric lines and stately proportions, makes it clear this is a confident, capable sedan.

“The Five Hundred has definite road presence,” said J Mays, Ford Group vice president, design. “The design is authoritative and well-proportioned, and the large wheels and great stance help underline the connection between the consumer and the driving experience.

“With Five Hundred’s upscale materials, colors, textures and graphics, we could infuse this segment of the car market with a bit of ‘guilt-free luxury’ – actually making many people’s dreams of driving an elegant European-inspired sedan accessible to them,” he added.

Classic Ford design cues include the trapezoidal, diamond-patterned grille, the window graphic with elegant chrome surround and, of course, the blue oval Ford badge centered along the rear of the trunk lid.

The interior styling builds on the same theme, with inviting materials and surface treatments – from smooth metal door handles to soft-touch paint finishes and high-quality fabrics or leather surfaces. SEL and Limited models have burled wood pattern appliqués on the instrument panel and doors, while the SE edition features carbon-fiber appliqués.

Performance Plus Efficiency

The Five Hundred’s two innovative transmissions – including one of the industry’s largest applications of a continuously variable transmission, or CVT – deliver strong performance from an engine that also is designed for fuel efficiency and low emissions.

The CVT is standard on all-wheel-drive and some front-drive versions of the Five Hundred. It uses two variable-size pulleys – one for input from the engine, the other for output to the drive wheels – connected by a metal chain. It constantly varies the effective sizes of the two pulleys to meet the driving demands of the moment. Electronic powertrain controls, including a sensor on the electronic throttle, constantly monitor the demand for power. When more torque is needed for acceleration or to maintain speed up a steep hill, the transmission seamlessly responds by creating the right gear ratio from an infinite number of possibilities, allowing the Duratec 30 engine to operate at optimum speed.

“No matter what speed you’re driving, the CVT will always seek out optimal torque,” said Ray Nicosia, manager of vehicle engineering.

Both transmissions offer overall wide spans from the lowest to the highest gear ratios. That translates into strong off-the-line acceleration, as well as high mileage on the highway.

The improved Duratec 30 3.0-liter V-6 engine also is designed to meet California Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) II standards, which call for 55 percent less smog-forming pollutants than California Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) rules. New vibration damping makes this the quietest Duratec 30 engine ever and a fitting complement to the smooth-operating CVT.

Dual-piston aluminum front brake calipers and large front and rear brake rotors provide strong stopping power and fade-free performance. Five Hundred’s fully independent suspension, stiff body structure and precise rack-and-pinion steering contribute confident ride and handling.

Sure-Footed All-Wheel Drive

The all-new Ford Five Hundred is available with all-wheel drive inspired from a proven Volvo system. This application uses an electronically controlled, electro-hydraulic Haldex limited-slip coupling positioned just ahead of the rear differential to transfer torque to the rear wheels as needed whenever front wheels begin to slip. Electronic controls, which gather information from Five Hundred’s anti-lock braking system and other sensors, allow the all-wheel-drive unit to react within 50 milliseconds, much faster than competitive viscous coupling devices. When all-wheel drive isn’t required, Five Hundred functions in front-drive mode.

Available traction control (standard on all-wheel-drive models) uses selective braking to provide similar torque transfer side-to-side. The all-wheel-drive Five Hundred also features self-leveling rear shocks to assure the appropriate ride height, no matter how many people or how much gear is on board.

For Customers Who Carry People and Cargo

Five Hundred is not only a driver’s car, it’s also a passenger’s car, with exceptional comfort at all seating positions. It fits above Focus and the upcoming Futura in Ford’s all-new car lineup. Five Hundred is about 3 inches longer than a Taurus but roughly a foot shorter than the Crown Victoria. Despite its size, Five Hundred’s efficient packaging provides exceptional rear-seat knee room and more trunk space than any sedan on the market.

Five Hundred is expected to attract customers who appreciate the upright command seating, flexible storage space and all-wheel-drive capability of an SUV, but who want the comfort and drivability of a sedan. Five Hundred’s mix of premium features and affordability thought to be appealing to buyers who want to reward themselves for success, but who don’t require the pretentious trappings of some luxury cars. Many, including those cross-shopping competitive domestic and import brands, will be choosing Five Hundred for its ability to carry friends and family – and their cargo – for spontaneous weekend outings.

Three familiar series will be offered:
- The value-leading SE, well equipped with premium features such as 17-inch wheels
- The midlevel SEL, which 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, which includes even more appearance features, like a painted bright grille, and amenities like an Audiophile sound system, heated exterior mirrors, leather seating surfaces and heated seats for driver and front passenger

Safer by Design

Acknowledged safety leader Volvo made a key contribution to the technology packed into the new Five Hundred. To begin with, the Volvo-inspired platform is engineered to offer class-leading stiffness with relatively soft crush zones designed into impact areas. When equipped with Ford’s Safety Canopy™ and side air bags, Five Hundred is expected to earn top crash test ratings.

In frontal impacts, energy is absorbed by the frame rails, where an innovative bumper plate design – submitted for patent protection by Ford in North America – is employed. Excess energy is transferred around the passenger compartment into a high-strength safety cage. A patent-pending new design tailors the steering column’s collapse to the driver’s size and safety-belt use for optimum protection.

Rear-impact performance is so advanced that it is designed to meet proposed future federal crash standards. Side-impact protection is a particular strength of the new Five Hundred, thanks to a combination of Ford’s industry-leading air-bag technology and structural features that safeguard occupants from intrusion by channeling crash energy away from the passenger compartment. An innovative cross-car beam under the front seats reinforces the structure between the B-pillars while directing energy away from passengers to an engineered failure point under the center console. As a bonus, seats are mounted on top of this beam, creating more foot room for second-row passengers.

Frontal impact performance will meet the revised Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208, which requires the restraints system to automatically adjust to the front-seat passenger. The air-bag controller uses occupant classification sensing to determine if the seat is occupied and if so, whether the passenger is an adult, a child or a child in a child safety seat. Air-bag deployment is tailored – or altogether suppressed – to provide the proper protection.

The lower anchors and tethers for children, or LATCH system, provides mounting points for compatible child seats in the second row.



We Preview the Ford Five-Hundred

by Casey Williams – www.car-data.com

Baby boomers are getting older and don’t need space for kids, but they have become accustomed to the driving positions of mini-vans and SUVs. New forms of vehicles are starting to evolve. Manufacturers that get it right will lead the next revolution in auto design. Those who fail will likely see their company fortunes go down in smoke. Ford thinks it has one of the answers.

According to Chris Theodore, Ford vice president, “The Five-Hundred is the result of asking questions about the family sedan that no one thought to ask. While everyone has been scrambling to invent the “next big thing,” our team asked, ‘What about the car?’”

Imagine for a moment driving a sedan that has basically the same seating height as a mini-van. You would step into the car rather than stooping down to get into it (the hip point is 2-4 inches higher than a traditional sedan like the Taurus). Advantages include command-of-the road visibility and seating, heaps of headroom, and substantially more legroom than traditional sedans. The Five-Hundred will slot between the Taurus and Crown Victoria in Ford’s model line. Styling inside and out will be very European.

Five-Hundred’s powertrain is no less revolutionary than its interior packaging. The car will use Ford’s 3.0-litre Duratec V6. That isn’t revolutionary. However, the six-speed automatic and CVT transmissions are. A CVT has no traditional gears, but changes ratios via pulleys and belts or chains. It always has the optimal setting for driving requirements. That translates into smooth performance and up to a 10% increase in fuel economy.

Safety will not be overlooked. Traction control, anti-lock brakes, side-curtain air bags, and Ford’s AdvanceTrac electronic stability system will be standard. Crush zones are sure to be strong.

Ford is dead serious about making the Five-Hundred a success. The company’s Chicago assembly plant will be entirely converted from Taurus production to build the Five-Hundred and its platform-mate, the CrossTrainer (a touring wagon that will feature all-wheel drive and carry up to seven passengers). For Ford’s sake, its customers better warm up to the Five-Hundred quickly. I’m betting they will. Sales will begin in 2004 with estimated base prices of $25,000-30,000. Competition will include the Chevy Impala, Toyota Avalon, and Chrysler Pacifica.
 

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It looks like a cross between an '86 Taurus and a '04 Taurus. And it looks like a VW Passat or Jetta or whatever that one VW is. It looks kinda ackward to me for some reason. Maybe it's the dimesions. I'm not liking those wheels. Maybe it'll look better in person?
 

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To Ford for thinking out of the box on this one. Exterior styling is null IMHO. The front end, for some reason, looks like a saturn; from the side it looks like a VW Passat; and from the rear it looks exactly like an early 90's Honduh Accord. I do however love all the innovations and the interior of the car. I will be looking forward to buying one when they rework the exterior in maybe 2010 or so?
 

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OK I am ordering a Mondeo ST220-Panther Black metallic, Ebony Leather, Power Sunroof, Park Assist, Technology Pack(xenon headlamps, selfleveling headlamps, privacy glass), Satellite Navigation(6-CD changer)
All for 24,640.
 

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Just kidding, I don't think it will meet U.S. safety specs for some reason.
 

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I like it! Can't wait to take it for a test ride.


So when does it get the 3.5L Duratec option?
 

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The big secret was given out, VOLVO, my mom has a S40, and some of the interior components are
directly from it, as well as the outside mirrors. What a surprise, a 2001 Volvo would be fords inspiration for a 2005 ford. I was hoping that by then Hydrogen Electric would be available.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Nice car but I feel that ford is playing
catch up to the eurosedans of present day.
 

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Ford 500 = Yawn

I'm with Silver Bullit on this. If it gets picked up by the rental car companies then fine but if not, it's just another boring car. Might as well buy the Lincoln LS.
 

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Originally posted by fordtaurusvulcan@Jan 5 2004, 08:00 AM
Wait, aren't they suppose to release the New Generation SHOs in 2005 too?
The SHO is dead man and it ain't never coming back.

As to the 500, I raise another yawn to it. How does Ford expect to face the competition with a 200hp Duratec? Unless of course, I'm missing something and they actually were able to scrounge up another 100hp to tack onto it.
 

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Originally posted by DeltarMN@Jan 5 2004, 07:58 PM
I haven't come across a single article yet that states the hp and torque ratings for this car... <_<
Probably because it's nothing to rave about. I'm guessing it won't put out any more than a current Duratec. I'm also guessing that it won't be much better quality-wise than most of the Ford line-up now.

To me, it's a marketing move. The Taurus and Windstar have gotten a bad rep over the last few years (I wonder why, could it be the crappy transmission, the V8 SHO cams, exploding Explorers and Police Interceptors or the fact that every other company has raised the power bar so much more than Furd). Maybe the cams have left a bad taste in my mouth so that I can't get a boner over every new car that Ford releases. Gee, does the Freestar look like the Windstar? I wonder why Ford changed the Aerostar into the Windstar. I wonder what the next Star van will replace the Freestar.

The only thing positive I see from the release of these new cars is the possibility of scavenging parts from them to replace parts that Ford has discontinued (further alienating owners). Perhaps the wheels and brakes can be borrowed from the 500? Maybe the tranny? Maybe the engine will make a good swap for a blown up or tired engine?
 

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Originally posted by 1fast97@Jan 5 2004, 08:53 PM
Probably because it's nothing to rave about. I'm guessing it won't put out any more than a current Duratec. I'm also guessing that it won't be much better quality-wise than most of the Ford line-up now.

To me, it's a marketing move. The Taurus and Windstar have gotten a bad rep over the last few years (I wonder why, could it be the crappy transmission, the V8 SHO cams, exploding Explorers and Police Interceptors or the fact that every other company has raised the power bar so much more than Furd). Maybe the cams have left a bad taste in my mouth so that I can't get a boner over every new car that Ford releases. Gee, does the Freestar look like the Windstar? I wonder why Ford changed the Aerostar into the Windstar. I wonder what the next Star van will replace the Freestar.

The only thing positive I see from the release of these new cars is the possibility of scavenging parts from them to replace parts that Ford has discontinued (further alienating owners). Perhaps the wheels and brakes can be borrowed from the 500? Maybe the tranny? Maybe the engine will make a good swap for a blown up or tired engine?
Agree 100%. Ford is obviously not trying to set any records for innovation or creativity. And of course, not supporting older vehicles and alienating current owners is a great marketing move. You are now forcing them to buy newer cars. And because most enthusiasts who would spend time fixing up older cars have a rather high level of brand loyalty, they will buy new Fords.

Look at the 2003 Taurus coming stock with tape decks in dash. I mean come on, my grandpa's 12 year old Cadillac has a factory in dash CD and he uses it all the time. Ford seems committed to playing catch up.
 

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The gen 4 Taurus comes stock with an in dash CD player. My 2001 has a single in dash CD player. The tape player comes on the LX as an option to make it cheaper for fleets and it's a no charge upgrade on the SE and all things above. The tape player comes as part of the MACH Audio on the SEL's and the like because there is a CD Changer in the center console. It's a "full logic" audio system or whatever they call it.

Anyway, the 500 is supposed to have one of the highest outputs from the Duratec we have seen yet according to what I read a couple months ago. However, the 3.0L Duratec makes around 240HP in the Lincoln LS. The 3.5L Duratec was supposed to rival the Altima and Maxima. However, if it is to do that...it would be in the neighborhood of 250-280 HP probably. So why would the 3.0 make 240+ horsepower in the 500 if they are to introduce the 3.5L Duratec? <_< That's what I haven't understood since the day I read that the 3.5L Duratec was supposed to have all this horsepower in motor trend.

-Kyle
 

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Originally posted by 1fast97@Jan 5 2004, 08:53 PM
I'm also guessing that it won't be much better quality-wise than most of the Ford line-up now.

To me, it's a marketing move. The Taurus and Windstar have gotten a bad rep over the last few years (I wonder why, could it be the crappy transmission, the V8 SHO cams, exploding Explorers and Police Interceptors or the fact that every other company has raised the power bar so much more than Furd). Maybe the cams have left a bad taste in my mouth so that I can't get a boner over every new car that Ford releases. Gee, does the Freestar look like the Windstar? I wonder why Ford changed the Aerostar into the Windstar. I wonder what the next Star van will replace the Freestar.

The only thing positive I see from the release of these new cars is the possibility of scavenging parts from them to replace parts that Ford has discontinued (further alienating owners). Perhaps the wheels and brakes can be borrowed from the 500? Maybe the tranny? Maybe the engine will make a good swap for a blown up or tired engine?
The "current" Ford lineup is changing quite rapidly. The 2004 F-150 has recieved heavy praise for its interior fit and finish and overal feel of quality. Of course, long-term quality is yet to be determined. Same with the 2002 Explorer 4-door and Mountaineer. Aside from a few minor recalls, these models have enjoyed a huge success.

The current Focus was just ranked Highest Quality by J.D. Powers and Assosiates. A new 2005 model is being introduced soon, and is said to be an even bigger step towards a very fine compact car.

The Futura will be Ford's bread and butter car. Its Camry/Accord fighter. Since the Duratec being used in the MAZDA6 puts out more than 200 hp, its a given that the one in the Futura and Five Houndred will as well. It wont suprise me if the Five Houndred doesnt get a 4.6 Liter V8 option after Impalla and LeSaber offer V8s. Ford already has a FWD tranny that will work (1995-2002 Continental).

Ford replaced the Aerostar because its basic designed dated back to its 1986 introduction. Government-mandated safety standards would be hard to meet with last-gen Aerostar (for instance, a major redesign of the dash to accomidate dual air bags and a major redesign of the body/frame to achieve passing crash-test scores) and so that made the Aerostar more trouble than it was worth. Ford chose to replace it with a more Caravan-like FWD model in 1995 but houndreds of thousands of letters stormed Ford headquarters demanding the Aerostar continue production. It did, selling a decently healthy 100K units annualy, until its demise in 1997.

I believe that the current Windstar is Ford's worst vehicle in recent memory. Soaked through and through with problems since its 1995 introduction, only decent sales have kept it alive this long. Ford has long used the "Star" name with its minivans, even the electric-powered Ecostar concept minivan of the mid-1990s. The Freestar begins with the letter "F", which is going to be a Ford trademark (think: Focus, Futura, Five Houndred, Freestar, Freestyle). Since the Thunderbird is about to fly off its perch at Ford dealers once again, the Mustang will be about the only Ford car not begining with the letter 'F'. Think also, all Ford SUVs begin with the letter "E": Escape, Explorer, Expedition, Excursion, etc.

The Five Houndred and Mercury Montego are to compete more with Impalla and LeSaber. Fords flagship. A 25 year old is buying a Futura for his/her family, a 65 year old is buying a Five Houndred for his/her retirement. GM is doing the same thing, stepping up its Malibu line to be its bread-and-butter car while leaving the larger Impalla as its flagship. Nissan did the same thing with the recent Altima- added a V6, more room and better styling so it could focus on making the Maxima a flagship instead of another mommy-mobile. The only thing is, this leaves the Crown Victoria and Five Houndred filling the same gap. Lets hope Ford doesnt kill the Crown Vic like GM did the Caprice.

Prevoius-gen Explorers rolled over because of defective tires, they had no issue of exploding. New Explorers have experianced little or no such problem.
 

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BTW, Ford has raised the "power bar", the 5.4 Liter V8 in the F-150 is the most powerful in a light-duty full size truck. Ford's previous-gen cars were/are leading their classes as far as power.

Focus SVT has 10 more HP than Civic SI

Taurus offered a 200 HP V6 LONG BEFORE Camry and Accord have matched or one-uped them (in the case of the 240 HP Accord).

Windstar had the highest HP of any minivan for years on end. The Freestar leads the minivan class in Torque, but not HP.

Ranger offers more V6 HP than any other compact truck (inc. Tacoma and S10). Dakota has a V8 but is larger and less econmoical than Ranger and doesnt sell nearly as well.

Explorer offered a V8 long before Trailblazer. GM made a big deal about its Isuzu-built I-6 in the Trailblazer offering more HP on paper than Explorer's 4.6 V8. Too bad an Explorer can tow more in either V6 or V8 form than Trailblazer's I-6, forcing GM to offer a V8 option in the EXT form.

The next-generation of Ford cars/trucks promises to one-up the competition again. Its a cat-and-mouse game. Ford can't be on top of everything 100% of the time, other companies do better and it forces Ford to do better and so forth.

A new generation of Ford performance models will be introduced, with the trim level "ST". It will start with the Focus (the SVT Focus will not carry on in the 2005 model year) and move up to the Futura and so on. Ford Performance Group is also offering high-performance versions of Ford and other division's vehicles, such as a supercharged Mercury Maraduer, an SVT-like version of Navigator, and a 200+ hp Focus.
 
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