Ford Five Hundred

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Ford Five Hundred
2005 Ford Five Hundred Limited AWD
Manufacturer Ford
Production July 12, 2004–April 12, 2007
Model years 2005–2007
Assembly Chicago, Illinois, United States
Designer George Bucher, Chief Designer (2001)[1][2]
J Mays, Design Vice President.[3]
Body and chassis
Class Full-size car
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout Front engine, front-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive
Platform Ford D3 platform
Related Volvo S60
Volvo S80
Volvo XC90
Mercury Montego
Ford Freestyle/Taurus X
Ford Flex
Lincoln MKS
Engine 3.0 L Duratec 30 V6
Transmission ZF Batavia CFT30 CVT
6-speed Aisin F21 automatic
Wheelbase 112.9 in (2,868 mm)
Length 200.7 in (5,098 mm)[4]
Width 74.5 in (1,892 mm)
Height 61.5 in (1,562 mm)
Predecessor Ford Taurus (fourth generation)
Successor Ford Taurus (fifth generation)

The Ford Five Hundred is a full-size car that was produced by Ford from the 2005 to 2007 model years. Deriving its name from the Ford Fairlane 500 and Ford Galaxie 500 popularized during the 1960s, the Five Hundred was introduced alongside the 2006 Ford Fusion as the replacements of the Ford Taurus. The larger of the two vehicles, the Five Hundred would also serve as an unofficial replacement for the Ford Crown Victoria in non-fleet markets. The Lincoln-Mercury Division marketed the Ford Five Hundred as the Mercury Montego, slotted below the Mercury Grand Marquis. As the Five Hundred was sold solely as a four-door sedan, the role of the Ford Taurus station wagon was taken over by the Ford Freestyle, repackaged as a crossover SUV.

The Ford Five Hundred/Mercury Montego were based upon the Volvo-derived Ford D3 platform, marking the introduction of the first completely new full-size Ford since 1979. For the first time ever, a Ford full-size sedan was produced without rear-wheel drive. The Five Hundred/Montego utilize a standard front-wheel drive configuration; an electro-hydraulic Haldex all-wheel drive system is optional.

Styled by Ford Chief Designer George Bucher under the direction of Ford Vice President of Design J Mays,[5][6][7] the Ford Five Hundred made its debut at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Five Hundred was produced alongside the Montego and Freestyle at Chicago Assembly in Chicago, Illinois. Outside of the United States and Canada, the Ford Five Hundred was marketed in Mexico, South Korea, and the Middle East.

During a planned mid-cycle facelift for the 2008 model year, the Five Hundred/Montego nameplates were replaced with the Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable nameplates under the direction of Ford CEO Alan Mulally.[8] While the Five Hundred name would remain in Mexico and the Middle East, the fifth-generation Ford Taurus was produced from 2008 to 2009. The Ford Freestyle crossover SUV was merged into the Taurus line, becoming the Ford Taurus X.


2000 Ford Prodigy diesel-electric concept, which partly influenced the body design of the Five Hundred/Montego

As part of the 1999 acquisition of Volvo Cars and its addition to Premier Automotive Group, Ford Motor Company expanded on its vehicle safety technology capabilities.[9] In 2000, the Ford Prodigy concept car was shown. A 72MPG diesel-electric hybrid designed as part of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, the Prodigy would introduce much of the exterior styling of the Five Hundred; it was also the first Ford to use the horizontal "three-bar" grille (which made its production debut on the 2006 Ford Fusion).

The Ford Five Hundred entered production on July 12, 2004[10] at Chicago Assembly (the previous assembly site of the Ford Taurus), and became available to the public in September 2004.

Total Vehicle Geometry[edit]

The Ford Five Hundred/Mercury Montego were engineered with a quality control system named Total Vehicle Geometry (TVG).[11] Designed by Volvo, TVG is heavily computer-based, allowing for designers, engineers, and suppliers access for all data and results related to prototypes at all stages of the design process.[11] With improved participation and access, fit and finish increased on prototype parts, decreasing the time needed for preliminary production vehicles, so called pilot vehicles.[11]


Ford Five Hundred (rear 3/4)


The Ford Five Hundred is based on the Ford D3 platform, shared with the Mercury Montego and Ford Freestyle. An evolution of the Volvo P2 platform (used in the Volvo S80), the platform marked the shift to front-wheel drive in full-size Ford sedans; a Haldex all-wheel drive system (based on that used on the Volvo S80 and XC90) was optional in all versions of the Ford Five Hundred or Mercury Montego.[11]

Along with Haldex AWD, several Volvo design features were incorporated into the structure of the Five Hundred, including a modified version of Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) from Volvo, channeling impact forces around the passenger compartment; the front frame rails were redesigned to better absorb impact forces.[11] Alongside standard dual front airbags, the Five Hundred was available with both side airbags and curtain airbags as an option.[11]

For the first time in a full-size Ford sedan, the Ford Five Hundred featured independent suspension for both front and rear axles, with MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link rear axle with coilover shocks; both axles were fitted with stabilizer bars.[11] As with the Ford Crown Victoria, the Five Hundred was configured with four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (12.5-inch front, 13-inch rear).[11]

The Ford Five Hundred/Mercury Montego were powered by a single engine, shared with the Ford Taurus: a 203 hp 3.0L Duratec V6, paired with a 6-speed Aisin automatic transmission (for front-wheel drive versions) or a ZF CVT (for AWD).


A distinguishing feature of the Ford Five Hundred is its tall exterior height; at 61.5 inches tall, it was over 5 inches taller than the Ford Taurus sold alongside it. A key feature driving the use of the tall body design was the upward movement of the H-point (hip point). As with the first-generation Ford Focus, the seats of the Five Hundred were positioned relatively high from the floor, providing an upright seating position and improved visibility, access, and egress. In addition, the rear seat was positioned higher than the front seats. The Ford Five Hundred was the first full-size Ford sedan to feature a folding rear seat to supplement the 21 cubic foot trunk (larger than the Lincoln Town Car). With the option of a folding front passenger seat, a Five Hundred was able to carry objects up to ten feet long inside the vehicle.

While visibility was one factor behind the higher seating position, safety was another as well. Derived from the Volvo Side Impact Protection System (SIPS), a hydroformed cross-car steel beam underneath the front seats was welded between the B-pillars (directly below an identical beam above the B-pillars).[11][12]

George Bucher, Ford's chief designer said "it was a challenge to sculpt a Ford-styled body around a Volvo chassis, and added that designers used what he calls plainer surfaces with taut lines to give the car a modern look without losing its passenger-car proportions."[12]


Three trim lines were offered: SE, SEL, and Limited. An all wheel drive system was available across the range. Base prices start at US$22,795 for a front-wheel drive SE and range to US$28,495 for an all-wheel drive Limited. Interiors on SEL and Limited trim levels featured a new hydrographic system for applying wood appliqués.[13]


During its production run, the Ford Five Hundred saw relatively few changes.

For 2006, a new navigation radio made by Pioneer (featuring Sirius Satellite Radio) became an option; traction control was now changed to an option on front-wheel drive models (from standard). A mid-year running change removed the exterior doorside trim molding on all trim levels in favor of a small sill molding at the bottom edge of the door.

The 2007 Five Hundred remained unchanged, with the SE model discontinued. All versions built after September 4, 2006 have side airbags as standard, along with curtain airbags (marketed as the Safety Canopy). The powertrain warranty was revised to 5 years / 60,000-mile (97,000 km). A new Chrome Package became available, with 18-inch eight-spoke alloy wheels and a chrome trim mesh grille.


2008 Ford Five Hundred concept. Upon direction of Ford CEO Alan Mulally, this was renamed the Ford Taurus before its production

The Five Hundred ended production on April 12, 2007, as did the Montego and Freestyle.[14] Each model was modified and rebranded — as the 2008 Ford Taurus, Mercury Sable and Ford Taurus X respectively, all which debuted at the 2007 North American International Auto Show.

The updated and rebranded Taurus included a new 263 hp (196 kW) 3.5 L V6 and new front and rear styling. The CVT transmission, used with the AWD powertrain, as well as the Aisin 6-speed, were replaced by the GM-Ford 6-speed automatic transmission.

The previous Taurus (built on a Ford D186 platform) was available in the 2007 model year for private fleet sale and in Canada.[15]


Calendar Year American sales
2004[16] 14,106
2005 107,932
2006[17] 84,218
2007 35,146


Mercury Montego
Ford Freestyle SE

Alongside the Ford Five Hundred, several versions of the D3 platform were marketed by Ford Motor Company, with all variants produced in the same Chicago assembly facility.

Mercury Montego[edit]

The Mercury division sold the Ford Five Hundred as the Mercury Montego, slotted in between the Grand Marquis and the Milan (replacing the Sable). For the first time since 1979, Mercury sold a completely new full-size car (and two full-size Mercury sedans for the first time since 1974). While largely distinguished from the Five Hundred by its standard HID headlights and LED taillights (the largest set of LED taillights ever introduced on a Ford vehicle at the time),[11] the Montego also differs from the Five Hundred in its monochomatic exterior, satin aluminum trim, and two-tone interior with black-toned wood trim.[11]

As with the Five Hundred, the Montego was produced in front and all-wheel drive configurations, sharing the same powertrains. In contrast, Mercury sold the Montego in two trim levels (Luxury and Premier).

Ford Freestyle[edit]

In its development as one of the vehicles to replace the Ford Taurus, the model lineup of the Five Hundred/Montego was reduced to the four-door sedan exclusively. While not deleted, the role of the Taurus/Sable station wagon would change as it was repackaged as a functionally similar crossover SUV, replacing the long-running third-row jumpseat with a forward-facing folding third row.

Slotted in between the Ford Explorer and Ford Expedition in its exterior footprint, the Ford Freestyle was fitted solely with a 3.0L V6 engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). In its exterior design, the Freestyle borrowed elements from several vehicles, including the Explorer and Escape.

In place of the luxury sedan interior of the Five Hundred/Montego, the Freestyle was designed with a model-specific interior.

While the Freestyle would serve as the basis for the Mercury Meta One concept vehicle, no Mercury version was ever produced beyond the prototype stage.


Styled under the direction of George Bucher and J Mays, the New York Times credited the Five Hundred with "rigorously understated styling and vast interior space,"[18] later noting the initial ultra-utilitarian styling was competent but didn't evoke a sufficient emotional response in the marketplace.[18] Ford swiftly facelifted and rebranded the Five Hundred as the fifth generation Taurus (2008-2009) — and for model year 2010, Ford introduced a thorough restyling of the fifth generation Taurus (itself the facelifted Five Hundred) as the sixth generation Taurus (2010–present), "to make the high-set sedan more macho and muscular."[19]

At its introduction, Mays said the Five Hundred offered "guilt-free luxury."[20]

Asked at its introduction if the Five Hundred was boring, J Mays said:

"It looks a little too Teutonic. We've gone back. We've looked at it. By the way, I don't think it's going to hurt sales. They're the most conservative buyers there are."[21]

In defending the Five Hundred, Mays later said:

"You can never look too much like an Audi, can you?""[22]

Bryon Fitzpatrick, chairman of the industrial design department at Detroit's College for Creative Studies said:

"The Ford Five Hundred is nothing really new. You have to be careful that people don't point their finger and say that's an Audi rip-off. There are a lot of the same shapes and icons." [23]

Jim Cobb of the New York Times in 2004 called the car's styling:

"Earnestly practical"[24] but also "tall, spacious and bland,"[24] as well as "highly derivative,"[24] "Its shape is unmistakably similar to some recent Volkswagens and Audis, particularly the Passat. This may be no coincidence, for Mr. Mays helped to create VW's style in his previous job. And while the arch-roof look is unlikely to offend anyone, it is no longer fresh; that Passat has been on the road since 1997."[24] Adding: "little about (the Five Hundred) will appeal to people who want a little rancheros with their huevos."[24]

Warren Brown with the Washington Post called the Five Hundred's styling:

"Borderline ascetic," adding "eloquence generally does not reside in the prosaic" and there isn't "a car more prosaic... than the Five Hundred."[25]

Larry Printz with The Morning Call wrote:

"Aside from the grill, little on the Five Hundred identifies the car as a Ford. Instead, it looks like a VW Passat with a glandular condition."[26]

Jim Kenzie of the Toronto Star said:

"Looking at the Five Hundred reinforces my belief that J Mays, group vice president of design at Ford, can only draw one sedan. He was at Volkswagen when the current Passat was designed and at Ford when the current Euro Mondeo emerged. They all look identical."[27]

Robert Cumberford, noted design critic at Automobile Magazine said:

"It's a pretty good trick to make a brand-new car look old, bland and boring right out of the box. No doubt it's a good car, but one fundamentally uninteresting visually."[27]

Pulitzer Prize-winning automotive journalist Dan Neil said:

The Five Hundred's styling shows "admirable restraint,"[27] adding: "Is the car beautiful, exciting? No. But (it's) well-balanced, grown-up, and it's a terrific packaging job. It suggests mental health, not emotional rescue."[27]

Later testing Mercury's rebadged variant, the Montego, Neil said:

"There is no soul to this car, and it's about as sexy as going through your mother's underwear drawer. Overall, the car has a profoundly geriatric feeling about it — to drive this car is to feel the icy hand of death upon you"[28]

Wheels recapped the brief history of the car, saying:

"the Five Hundred was in production for merely three years before disappearing into obscurity and blotting (J Mays)’ otherwise fine portfolio. Sales were terrible, with the Taurus outselling it two to one, and instead of a typical mid-life facelift, Ford hurriedly sorted an all-new design and swept the Five Hundred badge under the carpet."[29]

Noted automotive designer Peter Horbury said, of the Five Hundred's styling:

"I think J [Mays] would admit this—trying to make a car on what was Volvo’s old S80 platform, but with different proportions, was always going to be a challenge. The [Five Hundred] was very horizontal, and the A-pillars and the C-pillars were the same thickness—the car had very little sense of direction. I remember when we did the face lift, and it became the Taurus; it didn’t set the world on fire, either. And I said, 'Well, if you remodeled either end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I’m sure you’d still know what it was.'"[30]

J Mays himself said "I don't think the Five Hundred or Freestyle was one of my brighter moments in Ford, but designing a car is not a solo effort and a lot of people have input on the kind of product they want. I've been at the company 13 years and I've been through five CEOs. Some of those CEOs have had more conservative tastes than others."[31]

Mays later conceded of the Five Hundred's styling: "“It’s just lacking in the emotional appeal that we should have put into it. We were being good team players, and we did our best to wrap what was a best-in-class package with sheetmetal, and we ended up with a car, I think, that compromised itself in terms of style. But we will never make that mistake again. In fact, we haven’t made a mistake like that since we did it. I think of all the cars I’ve designed in my career, I regret not pushing harder on that car.”"[32]

While praised for its interior volume, design functionality, value and safety features, the Five Hundred was criticized not only for its styling but also for its weak 203 hp (151 kW) engine[33] — deficiencies considered sufficient to hurt its potential appeal.[34][35]


Calendar Year American sales
2004[16] 14,106
2005 107,932
2006[17] 84,218
2007 35,146


  1. ^ "Ford Five Hundred". Car News and Reviews.
  2. ^ "Fanfare for the Common Car". The New York Times, Phil Patton, April 11, 2004.
  3. ^ "J Mays, Noted Ford Designer to Retire". The New York Times, Phil Patton, November 5, 2013.
  4. ^ Newberry, Stephan (2005). The Car design yearbook 3. Merrell. ISBN 1-85894-242-X. 
  5. ^ "Ford Five Hundred". Car News and Reviews.
  6. ^ "Fanfare for the Common Car". The New York Times, Phil Patton, April 11, 2004.
  7. ^ "J Mays, Noted Ford Designer to Retire". The New York Times, Phil Patton, November 5, 2013.
  8. ^ "Mulally insisted on bringing 'Taurus' back". 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2016-08-28. 
  9. ^ "Ford's Magic New Number". Larry Edsall, Web2cars. Archived from the original on 2008-11-20. 
  10. ^ Binder, Alan K, ed. (2005). Ward's Automotive Yearbook 2005. Ward's Communications, Inc. p. 112. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "2005 Mercury Montego Introduced". The Auto Channel, February 7, 2004. 
  12. ^ a b "2006 Ford Five Hundred". Larry Edsall, 
  13. ^ "2005 Ford Five Hundred - Review". The Car Connection. January 4, 2004. 
  14. ^ Binder, Alan K, ed. (2008). Ward's Automotive Yearbook 2008. Ward's Communications, Inc. p. 115. 
  15. ^ "Ford Five Hundred to become 'Taurus'". 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  16. ^ a b "Ford Achieves First Car Sales Increase Since 1999". 2004-11-17. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  17. ^ a b "Ford Motor Company 2007 sales". January 3, 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-02-12. 
  18. ^ a b "Much Ado About Another Do-Over". The New York Times, Christopher Jenson, August 28, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Designer's Goal Was a Buff Bull". The New York Times, Phil Patton, August 28, 2009. AS he set out to restyle the (fifth generation Ford Taurus, a facelifted Five Hundred) for 2010, Earl Lucas, the car’s chief exterior designer, had a mission: to make the high-set sedan more macho and muscular. 
  20. ^ "2004 Detroit Auto Show Coverage: 2005 Ford Five Hundred". The Car Connection, (1/4/2004). 
  21. ^ "Are Ford designs boring?". The Detroit News, 12/19/04, Daniel Howes. Is the Five Hundred boring? It looks a little too Teutonic, Mays admits. We've gone back. We've looked at it. By the way, I don't think it's going to hurt sales. They're the most conservative buyers there are. 
  22. ^ "Ford gets design religion - five years too late". Autoextremeist, Peter M. Delorenzo. Wasn't it you who was even quoted in The New York Times as defending the Five Hundred's VW-Audi-esque look with a flippant, "You can never look too much like an Audi, can you?" 
  23. ^ Danny Hakim (January 4, 2004). "A Designer Lets Loose in the 'Year of the Car'". The New York Times. 
  24. ^ a b c d e "2005 Ford Five Hundred: Mature Audiences Suggested". The New York Times, Christopher Jenson, October 31, 2004. 
  25. ^ "Nice Surprises in a Ho-Hum Package: 2005 Ford Five Hundred sedan". Washington Post, Warren Brown, October 17, 2004. 
  26. ^ "A sedan takes its cues from SUVs". The Morning Call, Larry Printz, January 02, 2005. 
  27. ^ a b c d "Ford Five Hundred called roomy inside, dull outside". Automotive News, Richard Truett, October 2, 2004. Archived from the original on April 12, 2015. 
  28. ^ "A senior moment: Mercury's throwback Montego makes everything new feel old again". LA Times, Dan Neil, December 08, 2004. 
  29. ^ "Not Their Finest Hour: J Mays". Wheels. Archived from the original on 2015-04-16. 
  30. ^ Mike Duff (June 2011). "What I'd do Differently: Peter Horbury". Car and Driver. 
  31. ^ "A new heyday for J Mays". Automotive News, Dejan Jovanovic, September 16, 2014. 
  32. ^ "J Mays and The Importance Of The Story". Automotive Design & Production, Gary S. Vasilash , Editor-in-Chief, 1/9/2007. 
  33. ^ "Car Review: The New York Times"
  34. ^ Mays, Kelsey (2006-11-27). "Ford Five Hundred Expert Review". Retrieved 2007-02-17. 
  35. ^ Dear, Clare (2006-05-26). "New siblings put Ford back in car game". London Free Press. Archived from the original on 2006-08-10. Retrieved 2007-02-17. 

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