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Thread: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    2006 Ford Five Hundred


    new car review: 2006 Ford Five Hundred
    By Eric Peters
    for immediate release

    Does anyone make an honest cup of coffee anymore? Or is the only option a $3 cup of "venti"?

    How about a down-to-earth family car?

    You know, something solid and unpretentious -- a safe, comfortable, well-equipped large sedan. With ample passenger and trunk space -- and a Middle America price tag. The kind of big four door cruiser that used to be everywhere -- before minivans took over the family transportation market and sedans went either the hard-riding/tight-fitting "sport" or high-dollar "luxury" route -- with a few old men's starter caskets left over for the Bob Dole set.

    How about the Ford Five Hundred?

    This new five-passenger sedan from Ford may be the best real-deal family car an American automaker has built in decades -- at least since the '80s-era Taurus that was once a common sight in American driveways. Like that car, the Five Hundred has plenty of room (including a huge "three body" 21.2 cubic foot trunk) "sensible shoes" good looks -- and a family friendly starting price of just $22,230 for the front-drive SE.

    But unlike the old Taurus -- and pretty much any other car in its size/price range -- the Five Hundred also offers an all-wheel-drive system. This feature is not offered in other large sedans like the Toyota Avalon (base price $26,625) or Chevy Impala ($21, 330). This gives the Ford a strong selling point over those cars -- and specifically, makes it a viable alternative to an SUV.

    The Chrysler 300 does offer AWD, but it's smaller on the inside (especially the back seat area) and a lot more expensive -- $29,625 for the AWD-equipped Touring version with the V-6 engine.

    And here's something that's pretty interesting: The Five Hundred actually has more back seat legroom (41.3 inches vs. 39.6 inches) than the six-passenger Crown Victoria sedan -- the largest car on the road this side of the $64,900 (to start) Mercedes-Benz S-Class. In fact, the Five Hundred actually offers almost six inches more back seat legroom (41.3 inches vs. 35.6 inches) than the top-of-the-line Mercedes "full-size" sedan -- and exactly the same front-seat legroom (41.3 inches).

    Ford is offering a lot of car for the money here.

    Literally.

    In addition to its basic bigness, passenger comfort has been attended to in other ways as well. Adjustable pedals that can be raised or lowered to accommodate drivers of varying sizes and statures are available. And "command" seating is standard -- so you don't feel towered over by hulking SUVs. The 60/40 rear seats have a pass-through to the trunk -- and with the passenger side front seat folded flat, it's possible to cart home something nearly 10 feet long if you have to.

    Plenty of cup holders, too (eight, all told).

    The Five Hundred is also exceptionally safe -- an important consideration in a family car. In NHTSA and IIHS crash testing, the Five Hundred earned the highest possible 5-Star ratings in both frontal and side-impact tests. Traction control and ABS with Brake Assist are standard; side and curtain (head and torso) air bags are available.

    In addition to being a well-designed family car, the Five Hundred also solidly well-equipped. Even base SEs come with 17-inch alloy wheels, six-way power driver's seat, AC, cruise, CD-playing stereo and power windows/locks. You may want more -- but you don't need to spend more to get the basic "gotta haves."

    BUt if you like, you can step up to the mid-trim SEL and get an eight-way power driver's seat, leather and wood trim, dual-zone climate control, an upgraded stereo with MP3-player -- and still be under $25k.

    Toss in AWD -- and you've just barely crested $26k ($26,080) which is still less than the base price of the FWD-only Toyota Avalon. In fact, you can buy a top-of-the-line Five Hundred Limited with AWD, 18-inch wheels, heated eight-way leather seats, an even better audio system -- and you're still only looking at $28,230. That's about $1,400 less than the Chrysler 300 Touring with AWD.

    Put the extra coin in your pocket -- or use it to buy available goodies like the optional GPS navigation system with touch screen display, an electric sunroof or the family DVD entertainment system.

    The one thing some reviewers have faulted the Five Hundred for is the supposed sluggishness of its standard 3-liter, 203-hp V-6 engine -- which does appear to have substantially less "on paper" power than some competitors, such as the 250-hp Chrysler 300 Touring. But check the figures that matter -- such as 0-60 times -- and you'll find the Five Hundred is only about 3-4 tenths of a second slower (about 8.4-8.5 seconds to 60 mph vs. 8-8.1 for the Chrysler). That kind of dragstrip hair-splitting may be important in a sports car vs. sports car (or sport sedan vs. sport sedan) contest. But the Five Hundred's a family car -- not a hot rod. If the extra half a second (or less) is more important to you than the extra room -- and better overall value -- maybe you don't really want a family car after all.

    In any event, the Five Hundred isn't "slow" -- and that's all that's the relevant consideration for a vehicle of this type.

    Any car that can make it to 60 mph in the mid-8 second range has enough of a margin to merge comfortably with traffic and pull quickly into busy intersections. The Five Hundred can do that without wheezing or scaring you; try it yourself and see. More importantly, it can flirt with 30 mpg on the highway -- something you'll come to appreciate if you are at all concerned about how much money you'll be spending on fuel.

    I drove my tester much harder than the typical owner is likely to -- pedal to the floor starts, a lot of high speed driving -- and the tank still read nearly half full with more than 200 miles having clicked by. I thought the fuel gauge wasn't working at first -- because it took 60-something miles before it budged from "full." In comparison, the other car I had that week to test out -- an '06 Subaru Outback -- slurped down two-thirds of its (smaller) tank after about 180-something miles of driving.

    The Five Hundred was designed before this fall's gas price spikes -- but it seems to have anticipated a world of more expensive fuel. Its smaller, more efficient V-6 offers a better balance of performance and economy (again, for a family car) than any of its competitors.

    Ford offers buyers their choice of either a six-speed automatic (another rarity in this segment) or a Continuously Variable automatic transmission (CVT). Both transmissions make the best possible use of the V-6's available power, keeping the engine in its powerband (or the right gear) for whatever the situation might be. Together, they are smooth, quiet -- and don't suck your wallet dry.

    Again, the coin you save here can be put to better purposes -- whether it's the kids' Playstation or maybe a new set of golf clubs for you.

    Bottom line: The combination of size, affordability -- and available all-wheel-drive -- makes the Five Hundred a standout in its segment. There simply isn't another large sedan like it, with similar equipment, that can be bought for around $24k.

    END

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    How about the Ford Five Hundred?

    Early Ford Falcons in Australia and New Zealand had the 500 as part of their name.. Faclon 500
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

  3. #3
    WDZ
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    Facts are that there is another sedan in the Ford 500 category for around $24,000 that has many good features, and those are the Ford Panther series (Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis). I think that Ford's insistence on making another Japanese spinoff isn't going to help them very much. Everyone knows that front-wheel drive Fords are pure garbage from a reliability viewpoint when compared to the rear-wheel drive cars, and why buy such a car when you can get a better riding, quieter car with a V8 engine that get's about the same gas economy, for the same price.

  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    Quote Originally Posted by WDZ
    Facts are that there is another sedan in the Ford 500 category for around $24,000 that has many good features, and those are the Ford Panther series (Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis). I think that Ford's insistence on making another Japanese spinoff isn't going to help them very much. Everyone knows that front-wheel drive Fords are pure garbage from a reliability viewpoint when compared to the rear-wheel drive cars, and why buy such a car when you can get a better riding, quieter car with a V8 engine that get's about the same gas economy, for the same price.
    Hi WDZ,

    The Vic is substantially larger, for starters. And of course, it is rear-drive-only. Buyers looking for the superior inclement weather traction of FWD or AWD would therefore nix that car off the list. I like the Vic (and Marquis) personally, but they're not really comparable to the Five Hundred, either in terms of overall size or layout. The Vic is probably a more durable design, in terms of being able to take a beating (which is why cops and taxi services use it so much) but as far as ride quality goes, I'd have to give the Five Hundred the nod due to its more modern underpinnings. It's certainly not inferior inthis respect to the Vic/Marquis. I don't have the NVA specs in frontof me, but I'd be willing to bet the much newer design, etc. of the Five Hundred endows it with better numbers here as well.

    The other issue is more subjective - but it's real nonetheless. And that, of course, is thatboth the Vic and the Marquis are considered by many to be "Ford's Buicks" - that is, old men's cars. Younger (under 50) buyers tend to shy away from the vic for this reason, just as they do otherwise very nice to drive Buicks, etc.

    PS - Welcome on board!

    -Eric

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1
    How about the Ford Five Hundred?

    Early Ford Falcons in Australia and New Zealand had the 500 as part of their name.. Faclon 500
    There you go confusing me again...!

  6. #6
    D_E_Davis
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    Quote Originally Posted by WDZ
    Facts are that there is another sedan in the Ford 500 category for around $24,000 that has many good features, and those are the Ford Panther series (Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis). I think that Ford's insistence on making another Japanese spinoff isn't going to help them very much. Everyone knows that front-wheel drive Fords are pure garbage from a reliability viewpoint when compared to the rear-wheel drive cars, and why buy such a car when you can get a better riding, quieter car with a V8 engine that get's about the same gas economy, for the same price.
    Some of your remarks puzzle me. I'm unable to find data to back up your assertion that "front-wheel drive Fords are pure garbage from a reliability viewpoint", at least for the mid-size Taurus/Sable series. Where did you get that idea? My own experience with two Sables and a Taurus has been one of good service with infrequent, inexpensive repairs.


  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    [quote autho

    Some of your remarks puzzle me. I'm unable to find data to back up your assertion that "front-wheel drive Fords are pure garbage from a reliability viewpoint", at least for the mid-size Taurus/Sable series. Where did you get that idea? My own experience with two Sables and a Taurus has been one of good service with infrequent, inexpensive repairs.


    Hi Dennis,

    You're absolutely right; dunno where that comment came from (Ford FWD are "pure garbage," etc.). I'm by no means a critic of the big Vic (as John B. can testify; V-8 RWD boats are my thing). But the Vic/Five Hundred comparison isn't especially meaningful because they're such different cars - and appeal to different kinds of buyers, too.

    Many people will not even consider a RWD car, for example - because they're generally awful in snow. And some folks just don't want o r need a car as physically large as the Crown Vic/Marquis. It can be an intimidating car to drive for some people - and it is harder to park these days because parking spaces have been downsized to accommodate the typical (and much smaller) mid-sized car, etc.

    PS - Got almost 200 miles now on the Kaw - and it's running beautifully!
    't

  8. #8
    D_E_Davis
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    It can be an intimidating car to drive for some people

    Like my wife?(g)

    Got almost 200 miles now on the Kaw - and it's running beautifully!

    Obviously you did something wrong during assembly, then(g).


  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    Quote Originally Posted by D_E_Davis
    It can be an intimidating car to drive for some people

    Like my wife?(g)

    Got almost 200 miles now on the Kaw - and it's running beautifully!

    Obviously you did something wrong during assembly, then(g).

    So THAT"s why?!



    I'm very pleased with the results of the "bg bore" kit - in particular, the improved responsiveness, which I attribute to the larger displacement (better torque) and higher compression pistons. I haven't run it past 6,000 RPM yet, though. I like to put a few hundred "easy" miles on a new/rebuilt engine - then change the oil - before really lettting fly. But it's hard to keep from twisting that grip all the way and seeing what she'll do!

  10. #10
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    The Vic is substantially larger, for starters. And of course, it is rear-drive-only.
    I used to work with a guy who had a former Crown Vic police car, and he said it was great ... for about two weeks. And then he started noticing that when he came up behind people on the highway, they'd slam on the brakes. Eventually it because sheer torture to drive because he couldn't make any consistent speed -- cruise controoooool..brakes. cruise controoooooool..brakes.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  11. #11
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    Quote Originally Posted by chiph
    The Vic is substantially larger, for starters. And of course, it is rear-drive-only.
    I used to work with a guy who had a former Crown Vic police car, and he said it was great ... for about two weeks. And then he started noticing that when he came up behind people on the highway, they'd slam on the brakes. Eventually it because sheer torture to drive because he couldn't make any consistent speed -- cruise controoooool..brakes. cruise controoooooool..brakes.

    Chip H.
    There's that, too!

    When I've driven them - esp. Navy Blue examples - I find other drivers are ager to let me get by...!

  12. #12
    D_E_Davis
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    Quote Originally Posted by chiph
    I used to work with a guy who had a former Crown Vic police car, and he said it was great ... for about two weeks. And then he started noticing that when he came up behind people on the highway, they'd slam on the brakes. Eventually it because sheer torture to drive because he couldn't make any consistent speed -- cruise controoooool..brakes. cruise controoooooool..brakes.

    Chip H.
    The California Highway Patrol used to auction off their used cruisers with all the police markings removed but no other work done - holes where antennae used to be, an empty spotlight where the big red bunlb was - etc. A little old lady in the town of Palmdale bought one, and caused a flood of near-heart attacks as she sauntered to the various stores at a speedy 20mph.


  13. #13
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred



    The California Highway Patrol used to auction off their used cruisers with all the police markings removed but no other work done - holes where antennae used to be, an empty spotlight where the big red bunlb was - etc. A little old lady in the town of Palmdale bought one, and caused a flood of near-heart attacks as she sauntered to the various stores at a speedy 20mph.


    Pretty funny... we have some like that around here. Older folks in blue or white Vics that from 20 yards look exactly like the unmarked rollers used by the coppers. Until you see the "AAA" and "AARP" stickers on the bumper! (But by then, you've already slowed down...)

  14. #14
    D_E_Davis
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Pretty funny... we have some like that around here. Older folks in blue or white Vics that from 20 yards look exactly like the unmarked rollers used by the coppers. Until you see the "AAA" and "AARP" stickers on the bumper! (But by then, you've already slowed down...)
    And I wouldn't even notice, having lived for so long where unmarkeds are NEVER used for traffic law enforcement. (It's those pesky motorcycles that I must watch out for.)

  15. #15
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred


    And I wouldn't even notice, having lived for so long where unmarkeds are NEVER used for traffic law enforcement. (It's those pesky motorcycles that I must watch out for.)They're getting more sneaky here in SW Virginia... Ford Exploders, even a GTO. The Exploders are hard to pickout from the crowd!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1
    How about the Ford Five Hundred?

    Early Ford Falcons in Australia and New Zealand had the 500 as part of their name.. Faclon 500
    There you go confusing me again...!
    And to further confuse ........ what about SE and SEL Mercedes designations i thought
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

  17. #17
    D_E_Davis
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1

    And to further confuse ........ what about SE and SEL Mercedes designations i thought
    Those have been borrowed so often that it's hard to know who "owns" them anymore.


  18. #18
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1
    How about the Ford Five Hundred?

    Early Ford Falcons in Australia and New Zealand had the 500 as part of their name.. Faclon 500
    There you go confusing me again...!
    And to further confuse ........ what about SE and SEL Mercedes designations i thought
    Yes - and check the shape of the tail-lights, too!

    But everyone does it. Have you seen the Kia Amanti? Think Bentley on the cheap!

  19. #19
    jillsuncle
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    This is a role car in my view. If you sell Residential Real Estate and don't want to offend your clients with your Escalade this is the ticket. An incredibly polished car whose performance is pretty dull. Comfort and visibilty are first rate. Crash-worthy and mildly attractive.

    You need a nice care to ferry your clients. You and they all want to be comfortable. You don't want the Bilionairess who is your meal ticket to have a stroke in your Porshe. The working class will hate you with your Cadillac.

    If you sell Real Estate this is the Perfect car. Did I mention you will not burst your fuel budget.

  20. #20
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2006 Ford Five Hundred

    Quote Originally Posted by jillsuncle
    This is a role car in my view. If you sell Residential Real Estate and don't want to offend your clients with your Escalade this is the ticket. An incredibly polished car whose performance is pretty dull. Comfort and visibilty are first rate. Crash-worthy and mildly attractive.

    You need a nice care to ferry your clients. You and they all want to be comfortable. You don't want the Bilionairess who is your meal ticket to have a stroke in your Porshe. The working class will hate you with your Cadillac.

    If you sell Real Estate this is the Perfect car. Did I mention you will not burst your fuel budget.
    All good points!

    There's much to be said for a car that doesn't make an issue of itself - beyond being pleasant and comfortable, etc. The near-perfect "appliance" - which is, after all, what a car's purpose is...!

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