USA: 2005 Ford Five-Hundred Overview
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
A optional safety package that includes side air bags and industry-leading Safety Canopy™ 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 legroom 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 maintaining 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. 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 like 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.