The Five Hundred lineup gets trimmed to just two models for 2007, now featuring only SEL and Limited trims. Side and side curtain air bags are now standard, while all front-wheel-drive models get a 6-speed automatic in place of last year's continuously-variable transmission (CVT). New options include a Chrome Package and Sirius Satellite Radio, while heated seats and a navigation system are now offered on the SEL. For 2008, the Five Hundred will get a facelift and a new, yet familiar, name: Taurus.
Unfortunately, Ford's plans to rename the Five Hundred as the Taurus for 2008 have overshadowed any other buzz about this fullsize sedan. The Five Hundred will see several changes when it morphs into the Taurus for 2008, including new front- and rear-end styling with a bold chrome-bar grille similar to that seen on the Fusion and Edge, updated interior dcor, and a new 3.5-liter V-6 with an output of about 260 hp. Still, the Five Hundred offered in 2007 remains an interesting car, with its roomy interior, tall seating position, and choice of front- or all-wheel drive.
Based on a platform shared with Volvo (a subsidiary of Ford), one of the Five Hundred's most notable features is its continuously-variable transmission, or CVT, now available exclusively on all-wheel-drive versions of the car. Vehicles with CVTs typically offer better acceleration and fuel economy than those with conventional automatic transmissions. But the CVT's unusual driving experience-there are no firm shifts as with a conventional transmission-combined with the Five Hundred's traditionally conservative buyer base may explain why it is being replaced by a 6-speed automatic in front-wheel-drive versions. Ford plans to drop the CVT altogether for 2008.
The Five Hundred's sole engine offering is the Duratec 30, a 3.0-liter, 24-valve DOHC V-6 that puts out 203 hp and 207 lb.-ft. of torque. Power windows, locks, and mirrors; air conditioning; and alloy wheels are standard on all Five Hundred models, as is a large, 21-cubic-foot trunk. For 2007, options such as a navigation system and heated leather seats, once exclusive to the top-of-the-line Five Hundred Limited model, will be offered on the entry-level Five Hundred SEL.
The Ford Five Hundred competes in the Large Conventional segment, which consists of 14 models. Buyers in this segment look for performance, comfort, and exterior styling, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the Chevrolet Impala (289,868 units sold), Chrysler 300 (143,647), and Dodge Charger (114,201). The Ford Five Hundred sold 84,218 units in 2006, a decrease of 22 percent compared to the previous year. Other models offered in the Large Conventional segment include the Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Lucerne, Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, and Ford Crown Victoria.
|SEL (110B)||6 speed automatic||$23,035||203-hp / 3.0L 6-cyl||21/29|
|Limited (120B)||6 speed automatic||$26,610||203-hp / 3.0L 6-cyl||21/29|