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(2005 model shown)
This crossover-SUV variation on the Five Hundred sedan was introduced last year and can carry as many as seven passengers in three rows of standard theatre-like seating, with expansive legroom in the second and third rows, Both rear rows of seats, along with the front passenger's seat can fold flat for added cargo carrying flexibility. Its 3.0-liter V-6 engine generates a barely capable 200 horses and is mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission that eschews traditional gears for a system of belts and pulleys. The Freestyle shares its available all-wheel-drive system with the Volvo XC90. It uses an electro-hydraulic limited-slip coupling that can transfer virtually all of the engine's power to the rear wheels whenever the front wheels slip. An available safety package includes front side airbags and Ford's Safety Canopy that provides side-impact and rollover protection for all three rows of passengers. A navigation system is newly offered for 2006, as is a new exterior color, Silver Birch.