Edmunds Full Test: 2005 Ford Five Hundred

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,732
    Likes Received:
    1,587
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    Ford's So-So Sedan

    [​IMG]

    By Brian Moody
    Date posted: 11-30-2004

    With the new Five Hundred, Ford has the opportunity to hit a home run in the sedan market (you know, kinda like the Chrysler 300). For far too long, brands like Ford, Dodge and Chevy have neglected their cars in favor of SUVs. Perhaps they've been drunk on SUV profits or self-satisfied with halo heritage cars that look cool but don't ultimately sell. Still, one could argue it really hasn't mattered all that much, as new car shoppers seem to have all but forgotten about domestic sedans.

    Compare the average Ford sedan to a Honda or Toyota and virtually all hope is lost if you're one who longs for a day when U.S.-brand automobiles dominate the market as well as the landscape. But the tide is turning a bit. Chrysler's proud-to-be-an-American 300 is a stellar example of what can happen when Detroit throws out the rulebook and looks to develop an all-new product chock-full of value, performance and style.

    A far cry from the Chrysler 300, the Ford Five Hundred is still a credible attempt at building a top-notch sedan. It's a good-looking car that boasts both quality and value — value being key in the Five Hundred formula.
    On paper, the Five Hundred hits all the marks and looks to be a car that will change the image of Ford sedans. There's only one problem with the car, and it's a big one. But we'll get to that later.

    [​IMG]
    Is it just us, or does the Five Hundred look like a super-sized Passat?

    Ford has been promising improved interiors for some time now, and the new F-150 and Expedition were the early recipients of Dearborn's new direction. Thankfully, we feel confident in adding the Five Hundred to the list of recently redesigned Fords that offer impressive interiors and more deluxe accommodations. In Limited trim (the trim of our test car) especially, the Five Hundred comes off more like a near-luxury car than a budget-priced family sedan. The dash area is well laid out and attractive with cream-colored gauge faces surrounded by metallic rings that add an extra hint of class. The center stack is functional but lacks the pizzazz of the gauge cluster.

    The Limited's interior has plenty of faux wood trim and a material that looks like brushed aluminum. Of course, it's not really aluminum, but both the fake wood trim and metallic- look accents are very convincing. On the downside, the leather is not as soft as expected and pales especially when compared to the leather found in the Toyota Avalon.

    One thing the Five Hundred certainly does not lack is interior space. The cabin is large and airy with lots of glass to let light in. The rear seat is by far the roomiest we've seen in any $25,000 car, topping even the well-proportioned Chrysler 300 in terms of legroom. Cars like the Chevy Impala and Nissan Maxima also offer roomy rear seats, but the Five Hundred has that extra bit of room that really makes the car feel luxurious. The trunk is equally large with a generous 21 cubic feet of storage space. The only bummer in all this is that while the interior is roomy, the front-seat footwells feel a bit cramped.

    The front seats are comfortable and provide enough cushioning without being overly soft. As the Five Hundred and Freestyle share a platform, the Five Hundred feels like it rides a little higher than a typical sedan. While this might not sound significant, it makes the car more comfortable to get in and out of and offers the driver a more commanding view of the road. It may be a gimmick but it does seem to work.

    [​IMG]
    Ford's attention to detail inside the Five Hundred gives the car an upscale look.

    On the road, the Five Hundred performs well with a sportier than expected attitude. The steering is quick and light and the 18-inch wheels are backed up by sticky Pirelli tires. These tires provide more than adequate grip and seem almost lavish given the Five Hundred's budget-friendly price. Through the slalom we noticed some body roll, but the movement was well controlled and predictable. While we wouldn't say cornering is flat, it is an enjoyable car to drive hard. Thankfully, the Five Hundred's slightly sporty handling doesn't come at the expense of a comfortable highway ride. At speeds above 50 mph, a fair amount of road noise creeps into the cabin but wind noise doesn't make itself known until 75 mph or so. The continuously variable transmission (CVT), standard on all-wheel-drive models such as ours, helps to keep engine noise down at highway speeds — the net result is a very pleasant and well-mannered car that is perfectly suited for a long road trip.

    So far we have a nice (if unremarkable) looking car that handles well, offers plenty of interior room and trunk space, provides a comfortable interior and does so for thousands of dollars less than a similar import-brand car.

    And here's where things start to go awry. That "big problem" we mentioned earlier is an underpowered and unrefined engine. Rather than offer an engine, or choice of engines, that complements the Five Hundred's high points, Ford saddled the Five Hundred with the old 3.0-liter V6 from the Taurus — it's as if the company ran out of money 7/8th through the project. It wouldn't be so bad if buyers had the option of upgrading to something better, but as it stands the Five Hundred is offered only with the V6, and one making all of 203 horsepower at that.

    No matter how you slice it, the Five Hundred is underpowered. A quick survey of current V6-powered midsize sedans reveals that the Five Hundred's engine is a serious Achilles' heel. The Nissan Maxima has 265 hp, the Chrysler 300 Touring 250 hp, the Honda Accord V6 240 hp and Mitsubishi Galant V6 230 hp. Only the back marker Chevy Impala has fewer ponies, but even on a good day that would be a straw man comparison.

    [​IMG]
    The Duratec V6 is carried over from the Taurus and just doesn't deliver the needed pep.

    The Five Hundred's Duratec V6 performs well at midrange rpm, but off the line the car just has no punch. Around town the car feels like a normal family car, but should you need some zip from a dead stop, you'll be sorely disappointed. The lack of refinement is also noticeable and falls far short of the overhead cam V6s from Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota. While the CVT does a good job of keeping the weak engine in its optimal rev range, it also makes for a rather noisy cabin under moderate to heavy acceleration. In addition to the lack of power, the car rounds out the package with poor fuel economy — we averaged just 19 miles per gallon. With a better engine, we suspect we'd find little to gripe about in this otherwise better-than-average sedan.

    And "better than average" pretty much sums up the car overall
    . Its clean but ultimately invisible styling combined with a rather deluxe interior make the car appealing. Despite the tame engine, the car handles well and provides a reasonably quiet cabin. The Five Hundred is not perfect, but with a starting price of about $23,000 the car is a fine choice for those in need of a competent, feature-laden family sedan. Just try not to cringe too much when you mash the gas from a dead stop.

    Second Opinion

    [​IMG]

    Road Test Editor Dan Kahn says:
    Unlike most of my fellow road test editors, I found the new Five Hundred to be a pleasant, comfortable and nicely put together (if not terribly exciting) family sedan. Sure, it could probably use an extra 100 horsepower to suit my high-performance tastes, and yards of rich Corinthian leather would be more than welcome on the seating surfaces, but let's be honest here. When Ford engineers and designers got together to plan this vehicle, they didn't have road racers and premium luxury car aficionados in mind as their target audience. For all the family car buyers who live between the Atlantic and the Pacific, the Five Hundred should be right on target.

    Where the Five Hundred truly comes into its own is when you compare its size, interior space, comfort level and road feel to other vehicles in this segment
    . Our test car didn't come with a price tag, but according to the Edmunds True Market Value tool, a loaded Limited all-wheel-drive model with every option should sell for a hair under $30K. Now consider that you get a commanding view of the road that really does instill driver confidence, more backseat legroom than most SUVs can offer, a host of safety features, extremely nimble and balanced handling and even the security of all-wheel drive.

    The 3.0 V6 doesn't propel the Five Hundred at rocket-ship velocities, but it manages to get the job done quietly and smoothly, and my guess is that the average family sedan buyer is more concerned with comfort than all-out speed anyway. The car is based on a Volvo platform, which explains the confident ride and handling, and the trunk is big enough to hold a glut of luggage and a few golf bags. Factor in a pair of divinely comfortable front seats and a surprisingly roomy interior, and most drivers should be quite happy in the newest Blue Oval product.

    Manager of Vehicle Testing Kelly Toepke says:
    After a spin in the new Ford Five Hundred I find myself whelmed. Not overwhelmed mind you, or underwhelmed, but simply whelmed.

    On the surface, the Five Hundred has potential. The exterior styling isn't cutting-edge, but with lines comparable to those of the Volkswagen Passat, it's still easy on the eyes. The interior is exceptionally roomy and comfortable, and the leather seating surfaces help distract from the hard plastic trim. With an abundant amount of passenger space, the main interior issue is refinement. Use the power seat adjustments, and you'll hear what I mean. There is no missing the irritating whirring noise as the seat back and bottom slides into your preferred position.

    If the refinement issue was limited to the interior, the Five Hundred may have climbed a notch above adequate. Unfortunately, it's not. The engine lacks the power to move such a big sedan, and it gets pretty noisy while giving it the old college try.

    After considering the new Ford's competitors, I began to lose hope. The Five Hundred looks nice, but the Chrysler 300 is striking. The Five Hundred is underpowered, and the 300C is Hemi-powered. As I continue to draw the parallel, I continue to be disappointed.

    [​IMG]
    The round greenhouse and flared fenders make the car look deceptively small in photos. In reality, the car is bigger than a Chrysler 300.

    Ups: Good-looking and plush interior, tons of interior space, nice highway ride, better than expected handling.

    Downs: Weak and unrefined engine, meager stereo.

    The Bottom Line: A nice sedan that lacks real punch or unique style.


    Base MSRP of Test Vehicle: $28,495

    Options on Test Vehicle: Power Moonroof ($895); Reverse-Sensing System ($250); Power-Adjustable Pedals w/Memory ($175); HomeLink ($115).

    MSRP of Test Vehicle: $29,930

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Throwdest

    Throwdest Guest

    Nice interior for a Ford, they have really stepped it up.
     
  3. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,732
    Likes Received:
    1,587
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Too bad they didn't use the styling from the hot 427 concept instead copying VW.

    :sad2:
     
  4. mucky

    mucky .

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2001
    Messages:
    44,972
    Likes Received:
    0
    Looks like a modern day fat Tempo with a VW inspired interior.
     
  5. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    293,889
    Likes Received:
    2,952
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    It's better than average, which is better than the usual ford sedan offerings :o
     
  6. GucciGucci

    GucciGucci Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2000
    Messages:
    33,215
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA USA
    The front looks horrible.

    :ugh:
     
  7. astro1112

    astro1112 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2003
    Messages:
    375
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Houston/Tyler, TX
    agreed, the interior looks pretty good.
     
  8. DMClark

    DMClark Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2001
    Messages:
    37,589
    Likes Received:
    0
    See: Fusion
     
  9. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,732
    Likes Received:
    1,587
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    That could turn out quite cool. Maybe even cooler than the Mazda 6. :naughty:
     
  10. DMClark

    DMClark Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2001
    Messages:
    37,589
    Likes Received:
    0
    We shall know in a few weeks time.
     
  11. delslow

    delslow my car may not be fast, but the back window goes d

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2001
    Messages:
    6,608
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    i could never justify spending 30k on that car
     
  12. Mr.Fusion

    Mr.Fusion feast upon my magnificence

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2000
    Messages:
    43,023
    Likes Received:
    82
    Location:
    Austin,Texas
  13. Fishbait

    Fishbait Guest

  14. Cashishift

    Cashishift Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2000
    Messages:
    48,698
    Likes Received:
    81
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    and all 203 hp..

    the one advantage to that motor is its VERY reliable..

    my parents had one in their old sable, and in their newer taurus..

    its a very reliable motor, very smooth, very quiet.
     
  15. diaftia

    diaftia After I tossed her a half-pint of throat yogurt, I

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Messages:
    6,386
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    What a POS.
     
  16. jinushaun

    jinushaun New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Messages:
    60,739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA, USA
    That's a horrrible justification! :ugh2: Woo hoo for aiming low and playing it safe! Domestic are doing so poorly in the car market simply for aiming for the lowest common denominator.

    That's why overseas products made by the Ford and GM are so much more desired--they're designed with a higher aim in design, quality, and ride.
     
  17. Chadder007

    Chadder007 OG Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Messages:
    15,326
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Man....they would have had a HOT seller if they kept the design. Fucking idiots!!!
     
  18. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    293,889
    Likes Received:
    2,952
    Location:
    Austin, Texas

    It's true. See my thread about why chevy isn't scared of the new mustang :mamoru:
     
  19. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    293,889
    Likes Received:
    2,952
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    That design will be available on Ford's new midsize Fusion
     
  20. theoriginal_og

    theoriginal_og 6-9 mobsta, still servin' imposters

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Messages:
    14,843
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    brokeland[hills]
    Looks like a huge pile of shit.
     
  21. jinushaun

    jinushaun New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Messages:
    60,739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA, USA
    Bob Lutz :coold: That man's gonna save GM!
     
  22. Sideways

    Sideways Do I look like I give a damn?

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2001
    Messages:
    29,010
    Likes Received:
    66
    :greddy:

    Why the hell does ford keep insisting on mounting those ugly ass steel antennas on the front passenger fender?

    It looks cheap and like ass on the Mustangs and now the 500.
     
  23. Bloke

    Bloke Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2003
    Messages:
    26,775
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Pekin, IL
    I agree with that review. the engine really lacks refinement and power.
     
  24. dbman96

    dbman96 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2000
    Messages:
    49,996
    Likes Received:
    6
    Please tell me those are Canadian dollars.
     
  25. atomic punk

    atomic punk pretty hate machine

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2001
    Messages:
    28,237
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    head wound city, ct
    ugly and slow

    i'm oddly impressed by the interior, though.
     

Share This Page