The Car Connection Ford Five Hundred Overview
Sold only from 2005 through 2007, the Ford Five Hundred was a large four-door sedan on an all-new platform that replaced the Taurus sedan in Ford's lineup. On its launch as a 2005 model, the Five Hundred was lauded for its large and spacious interior, but the bland styling received pans (along with many comparisons to the similarly shaped but sportier Volkswagen Passat) and the vehicle was widely viewed as underpowered.
The Ford Five Hundred launched with a 203-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 engine and a choice of two transmissions: a conventional six-speed automatic or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Oddly, the CVT returned lower fuel economy ratings, at 20 mpg combined compared to the automatic's 21-mpg figure. All-wheel drive was available only with the six-speed automatic, rated at 19 mpg combined. Acceleration was no more than adequate, but the ride and handling were good and the Five Hundred was clearly a huge step up from the aging Taurus and Crown Victoria sedans.
inside, a Five Hundred driver sat high, with upright seats several inches higher off the ground than those of the more low-slung Taurus. While adjustable pedals were offered on higher trim lines, the steering column tilted but did not telescope. Rear-seat room was considered generous, and a 60/40 split folding rear seat-back gave access to a large trunk and permitted items up to 9 feet long to be carried inside the car.
Standard equipment on the base SE trim level included cruise control; air conditioning; power locks, mirrors, and windows including one-touch operation for the driver's window; six-way power control for the driver's seat, along with a manual lumbar adjustment; and 17-inch alloy wheels. The mid-level SEL model added dual-zone automatic climate control, extra sound insulation, an eight-way adjustable power driver's seat and a flat-folding front passenger's seat, an in-dash CD changer with MP3 compatibility, upgraded interior finishes including wood trim and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and rear-seat ventilation ducts.
The top-of-the-line Five Hundred Limited model sported larger 18-inch alloy wheels, full leather upholstery, power adjustment and lumbar support for the front passenger seat, a more powerful audio system including a subwoofer, an analog clock, and cream faces for the instruments. Options included a moonroof and a reverse-sensing system, as well as leather upholstery for lower trim levels.When new Ford CEO Alan Mulally arrived in September 2006, one of his first questions was why Ford had tossed out the well-known Taurus name. He didn't get any answers he liked, so for 2008, the former Five Hundred was renamed the Taurus--restoring a name famous for Ford since the mid-1980s after a year-long interruption (the aging Taurus had sold alongside the Five Hundred for 2005 and 2006). The change from Five Hundred to Taurus included a light restyling that replaced the mesh grille with the new Ford corporate face launched on the 2006 Fusion: three brightly-chromed horizontal strips.