Kicking off a two-pronged strategy to replace the Taurus after the 2006 model year, the larger 2005 Five Hundred offers a more sophisticated package that will be joined by the leaner Fusion in fall 2005. Sold in three series (SE, SEL, and Limited), the Five Hundred is offered only as a four-door sedan only--consider the Ford Freestyle crossover as a companion station wagon. The Five Hundred's other family relation is the Mercury Montego, a functionally identical sedan distinguished by minor trim and appearance changes. Recognizing that many auto buyers have gravitated toward sport/utility vehicles, Ford infused the Five Hundred with qualities people like in SUVs, specifically, available all-wheel drive, a higher-than-normal seating position, and a spacious interior.
Although the Five Hundred is an all-new car, it looks vaguely familiar. Where the Taurus was a fresh, even brazen design when it debuted, the Five Hundred body is derivative, sharing more than a few lines with the stately 2005 Volkswagen Passat, itself redesigned for 2006.... Read full article