One of the last of the old-style rear-drive full-size boulevard cruisers continues for 2005 with a newly available Light Tundra Clearcoat Metallic paint treatment. An optional six-disc CD changer is likewise newly offered, and a power moonroof becomes available on LX and LX Sport models. As before, a 224-horsepower 4.6-liter V-8 engine is fitted to a four-speed-automatic transmission. Inside, there’s ample room for six adult passengers, and more than enough trunk space for their luggage or a full foursome’s worth of golf bags. Front-side airbags, traction control and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution come standard, with power adjustable pedals optional. An available handling package boosts engine power to 239 horses by virtue of a dual exhaust system. Ford is hinting that the vehicle may eventually be replaced in the lineup by a version of the Five Hundred sedan. In the meantime this remains one of the best values, pound-for-pound, in the business.
Ford’s full-size van can handle a wide range of commercial and/or people-moving tasks, and is able to carry as many as 15 passengers. For 2005, all engines come with electronic throttle control, while a new powertrain module on E-350 Super Duty models affords an elevated idle to accommodate aftermarket accessories. Meanwhile, a newly offered “QuietFlex” rack and bin system is said to provide a quieter and more flexible storage solution. Available engines continue to range from a 4.6-liter V-8 to a 6.8-liter V-10 and a 6.0-liter Power Stroke V-8 diesel that generates 440 lb-ft of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission comes standard, while a five-speed automatic is available with diesel-powered models. A DVD entertainment system is offered on passenger wagons.
A freshened 2005 version of the compact Escape SUV comes with an updated exterior that features new front and rear fascias and wheel designs. The base engine has been upgraded to a 2.3-liter four-cylinder powerplant that produces a slightly peppier 153 horsepower. Meanwhile, the XLT, XLT Sport, and Limited versions continue to draw 200 horses from a 3.0-liter V-6. Either can be mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox, and four-wheel drive is available across the line. A Safety Canopy system designed to protect occupants in case of a rollover is now available along with side-impact airbags. Perhaps the biggest news for 2005 is the addition of a hybrid-powered Escape that comes powered by a four-cylinder gasoline engine and electric motor. Delivering its power to an electronically controlled continuously variable automatic transmission, the hybrid Escape can operate either on its gasoline engine, its electric motor or a combination of the two, as circumstances warrant. It’s said to afford V-6 power with the fuel economy of a four-cylinder engine, and excels in that regard in stop-and-go urban motoring.
2005 Ford Escape Hybrid by TCC Team (5/17/2004)
Can you have it all with this “no compromises” SUV?
Does size matter? If you have a practical need for the largest sport-utility vehicle of its kind with mammoth hauling and towing capacities, you may want to consider this XXL-sized SUV. The rest of humanity will likely consider it a politically incorrect behemoth, however. While its long-term survival at Ford is in question, the Excursion continues for 2005 with new jeweled headlamps, revised grille and bumpers, updated wheels and assorted new exterior color schemes. As before, power comes from either a 5.4-liter V-8 engine, or a 6.8-liter V-10, mated to a four-speed automatic gearbox. A long list of available features includes third-row seating, adjustable gas and brake pedals, and a back-seat DVD entertainment system.
Ford’s full-size sport utility vehicle receives a number of updates for 2005. For starters, a 5.4-liter V-8 engine, mated to a four-speed automatic gearbox, becomes standard across the line, and the optional AdvanceTrac stability control system now includes Roll Stability Control. Inside there’s a redesigned instrument cluster, and raised roof rails up top replace the former roof rack for a cleaner exterior appearance. What’s more, a new top-of-the-line Limited trim level includes virtually every convenience imaginable. Four-wheel-disc anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, a CD stereo, keyless entry, a luggage rack and speed-sensitive windshield wipers are included in all models. Optional items include a power-folding third-row seat and a Safety Canopy curtain-type airbag system that deploys when it senses an impending roll over is about to happen — and stays inflated for a few seconds in case the vehicle rolls multiple times.
2004 Ford Expedition XLT 4x4 by Marc K. Stengel (5/31/2004)
An educated way to transport just about anything.
Ford’s best-selling SUV delivers good all-around performance and comfort, with a roomy interior that can be fitted with a small third-row seat for the kids, and equipped with a full range of popular features. For 2005, Ford’s AdvanceTrak system with Roll Stability Control becomes standard across the board, as does MP3 and Sirius satellite radio capability for all audio systems. Meanwhile the XLT appearance package adds a few features and available colors. A 210-horsepower V-6 is standard, while an available 239-horsepower 4.6-liter V-8 powerplant provides a welcome surge of power. There’s a choice of Ford’s Control-Trac four-wheel drive or full-time all-wheel-drive systems, with the latter preferred for on-road use. An Off-Road package is standard with the NBX edition.
Explorer Sport Trac
The Sport Trac is basically the previous generation of the Explorer onto which a short pickup bed has been grafted behind the back seat. For 2005, new exterior colors include Bright Red and Dark Stone, a moonroof is newly available on the top XLT version and MP3 and Sirius satellite radio capability is now included on all audio systems. Only a 210-horsepower 4.0-liter V-6 engine remains available, however, and the vehicle isn’t up to the performance and sophistication levels of the Explorer. Available in either rear- or four-wheel drive, the latter includes an electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case. The top Adrenalin model includes an eardrum-bursting 510-watt sound system.
Redesigned last year, Ford’s full-size pickup truck got a new look, a wider track, four-wheel disc brakes and new rack-and-pinion steering. For 2005, a 4.2-liter V-6 engine with electronic throttle control and a five-speed manual transmission are newly available, and a Work Truck Group package for entry-level, commercial applications debuts for ’05. The Ponderosa-ready King Ranch model now comes trimmed in Castaño leather. What’s more, occupant-position sensing technology is added this year for the front passenger’s airbag. Other available powerplants include a 4.6-liter 231-horsepower V-8 and a 300-horsepower 5.4-liter V-8; both come mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Regular-cab and SuperCab models include side access doors to reach the storage space behind the seats, while SuperCrew versions offer two rows of seating and four forward-swinging full-size doors. Each of the F-150’s trim levels comes trimmed with a specific interior. A wide range of performance and convenience features remain available.
2005 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercrew Lariat by John Pearley Huffman (9/27/2004)
Feels expensive, and it’s not cheap.
F-250/350 Super Duty
The bigger, bolder and more-powerful versions of the previous generation F-Series full-size pickups feature a revised and appropriately burly looking exterior that incorporates elements of the Tonka concept vehicle and rides on an enhanced chassis for 2005. A revised 6.8-liter V-10 engine is said to offer best- in-class power and torque, and the available 6.0-liter PowerStroke diesel powerplant comes with added torque — now a stump-pulling 570 lb-ft to go along with its 325 horsepower. The truck now boasts as much as 17,000 pounds of towing capability. A unique TowCommand System that includes an integrated electric trailer brake controller is also newly offered. A standard 5.4-liter V-8 engine drives either the rear or all four wheels via either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. As before, a wide range of trim levels, practical features, and convenience-oriented amenities are offered.
Preview: 2005 Ford F-Series Super Duty by TCC Team (7/5/2004)
Going bigger and better, thanks to diesel power.
Debuting for 2005 and sharing platforms with both the also-new Ford Freestyle and Volvo XC90 crossover sport-utility vehicles is the all-new mid-size Five Hundred sedan. The same basic vehicle with minor styling modifications is sold as the Mercury Montego. While it’s a foot shorter, overall, than the full-size Crown
Preview: 2005 Ford Five Hundred by TCC Team (1/5/2004)
Do the numbers add up?
Brand-new for 2005, the mid-size Freestyle “crossover” wagon combines attributes of both passenger sedans and sport-utility vehicles. Exterior styling is something of a combination of Explorer and Escape styling cues with a shorter roofline. Essentially replacing the front-wheel-drive Taurus station wagon in Ford’s lineup, the Freestyle can carry as many as seven passengers in three rows of standard theatre-like seating, with what’s claimed as best-in-class 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. As with the Five Hundred and Mercury Montego from which it’s derived, the Freestyle comes powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 engine that’s mated here with a continuously variable automatic transmission that eschews traditional gears for a system of belts and pulleys. The Freestyle shares its platform and available all-wheel-drive system with the Volvo XC90; the latter 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 optional safety package includes front-side air bags and Ford’s Safety Canopy that provides side-impact and rollover protection for all three rows of passengers.
2005 Ford Freestyle by Marty Padgett (9/6/2004)
The bottom line on Ford’s crossover challenger? Keep scrolling.
Ford’s smallest passenger car receives a number of revisions for 2005, including updated styling that borrows cues from the new Five Hundred sedan. A new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine becomes available for 2005 that generates 136 horsepower, with a choice of a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The line includes four body styles, ranging from a ZX3 three-door hatchback, ZX4 four-door sedan, and ZX5 five-door hatchback to a ZXW wagon and four trim levels. New to the lineup this year is a ZX4 ST sedan that replaces the former SVT versions and is fitted with both a performance suspension and a 151-horsepower 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. Anti-lock brakes, traction control, and front side-impact airbags are available for added safety, and, as befits a youth-targeted vehicle, a number of high-powered audio upgrades are available.
2005 Ford Focus by John Pearley Huffman (7/26/2004)
Debuting last year to supplant the former Windstar minivan in Ford’s line, the 2005 Freestar comes in several new colors and offers a liftgate spoiler on the SES model. Class I and Class II trailer towing packages are also newly available. Like its corporate cousin, the Mercury Monterey, the Freestar comes powered by a standard 193-horsepower 3.9-liter V-6 engine with aluminum heads; a 202-horsepower 4.2-liter V-6 is included in SEL and Limited models, and both powerplants drive the front wheels via a four-speed automatic transmission. Myriad family-friendly conveniences include power sliding rear doors, a power liftgate, back-seat entertainment system, and a third-row seat that folds flat into the floor without having to remove the headrests. Available safety features include AdvanceTrak stability control, a Safety Canopy side curtain airbag system, power adjustable pedals, and a reverse-sensing warning.
2004 Ford Freestar by Bengt Halvorson (10/6/2003)
Perfectly practical, adequately
Attempting to out-do Chevrolet’s Corvette and Dodge’s Viper for domestic sports-car bragging rights is the new-for-2005 Ford GT. This is a truly low-slung limited production, high-performance coupe that’s able to run with the best of the world’s exotics, provided you’re one of the few fortunate individuals who are able to obtain one. Manufactured in conjunction with noted performance tuners Saleen and Roush Industries, the car is a rollinghomage to the GT40 racecars that dominated competition at Le Mans during the mid-1960s, Modern underpinnings include plastic-formed aluminum body panels, roll-bonded floor panels, a friction-stir welded center tunnel, a capless fuel filler system, one-piece door panels and an aluminum engine cover with a one-piece carbon-fiber inner panel. Its mid-mounted 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 engine leads the pack with 550 horsepower and is said to reach a top speed of over 180 mph. A Ricardo six-speed manual transmission comes with a helical limited-slip differential. Precision-cast aluminum suspension components with 18-inch wheels and tires up front and 19-inch rims and rubber at the rear are said to contribute to the GT’s racer-like cornering abilities.
2005 Ford GT by Marty Padgett (10/20/2003)
Rich in history, richer in speed.
A “back to the future” all new version of Ford’s venerable Mustang sports coupe debuts for 2005 that combines retro-themed styling with modern underpinnings. Its new look is reminiscent of the 1967 original, with a long hood, short rear deck, three-element taillamps, side “C scoops,” and galloping horse emblem. Inside styling is likewise retrospective, and is highlighted by a symmetrically shaped cockpit-like instrument panel and a three-spoke steering wheel. The original pony car rides on a newly developed chassis, however, and comes powered by a standard 210-horsepower 4.0-liter V-6 engine. The GT model goes several laps quicker by offering an updated iteration of the previous generation’s 4.6-liter V-8. The latter has been updated with all-aluminum construction with three valves per cylinder, and generates 300 horsepower and 315 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, with a new five-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift capability available. Among the new Mustang’s optional features will be a head-banging 1000-watt audio system.
Preview: 2005 Ford Mustang by Marty Padgett (1/5/2004)
No more warmed-up leftovers for America’s pony car.
Ford’s compact pickup continues to come in a full range of model choices, in rear- or four-wheel drive. New vehicle configurations for 2005 include a rear-drive XLT, 4WD Regular Cab with a seven-foot cargo box and a youth-oriented EDGE 4x4 two-door SuperCab model. A “Hot Wheels and Cool Tunes” package available on the EDGE comes with a 510-watt TREMOR MP3 audio system and specific wheels. Also for 2005, skid plates are newly available on 4x4 EDGE and XLT (they’re now standard on the FX4) and redesigned wheels are offered on various versions. Otherwise, the Ranger is available with a four-cylinder engine or a choice of two V-6s and with either a manual gearbox or a five-speed-automatic transmission.
The retro-themed two-seat Thunderbird shares platforms and components with the Lincoln LS sedan, but comes wrapped in styling that’s straight out of the mid-1960s. It comes only as a convertible, but an optional hard top is offered for when the weather turns foul. A 280-horsepower, 3.9-liter V-8 engine drives the rear wheels via a five-speed-automatic transmission. While Ford has already announced this rear-drive retro ragtop’s impending demise for lack of sales, it continues to be offered without changes for 2005.