Full 2007 Ford Five Hundred Review
What's New for 2007
Starting with the September 2006 production run, all 2007 Ford Five Hundreds come standard with front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor, an alarm system and heated side mirrors. Additionally, the base SE trim level has been dropped, and all front-wheel-drive models are equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission. New options include Sirius Satellite Radio and a chrome package with 18-inch chrome wheels and a matching grille. A navigation system and heated seats are now available on the Five Hundred SEL. Powertrain warranty coverage increases to five years/60,000 miles.
A full-size car for the modern era, the 2007 Ford Five Hundred is designed both for traditional large-sedan buyers and for families seeking a less expensive alternative to SUV ownership. Introduced for the 2005 model year, the Five Hundred succeeds on many fronts. It offers an expansive cabin, and with more than 40 inches of legroom in both the front and rear, there's ample room for four or five adults. There's plenty of room for their luggage as well, as trunk space measures 21 cubic feet, which is equal to what Ford's Crown Victoria offers.
But the Five Hundred is nothing like the old-school Crown Vic in most other respects. Its contemporary interior design mimics the tall, upright seating position found in SUVs, and accordingly, the Five Hundred offers excellent sight lines in all directions. Instead of a rear-drive layout, this Ford sedan comes in front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations, borrowing its sophisticated, electronically controlled AWD system from the Volvo lineup. The Five Hundred also borrows its airbag technology from Ford's Swedish subsidiary, and equipped with front seat-mounted side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags (complete with rollover sensor), this car offers some of the best crash protection on the market. It earned the highest possible marks in all frontal-, side- and rear-impact crash tests.
The major disadvantage to the 2007 Ford Five Hundred is its 203-horsepower, 3.0-liter Duratec V6, which simply doesn't have enough power to move this 3,600-pound car with any enthusiasm. Further, power delivery is coarse and unrefined compared to other six-cylinders in this class. Ford is aware of the problem and has engineered a new 265-hp, 3.5-liter V6. Look for it on the 2008 Ford Five Hundred. Until then, we'd advise you to shop around a bit before signing the papers for a Five Hundred. If all-weather capability is a requirement, the AWD model is a budget-friendly way to go. If you're just looking for a spacious front-wheel-drive sedan, though, something like the Chrysler 300, Chevrolet Impala or Hyundai Azera will likely provide a more enjoyable ownership experience.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
A full-size car, the 2007 Ford Five Hundred sedan is available in SEL and Limited trim levels. The SEL starts you out with 17-inch wheels, a six-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, wood-grain interior trim, air-conditioning, a CD player, cruise control, full power accessories and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Step up to the Limited and you'll get 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat with memory, front seat heaters, dual-zone automatic climate control, an upgraded audio system with an in-dash CD changer, heated mirrors with puddle lamps, and an analog clock. Options include a moonroof, a navigation system, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and Sirius Satellite Radio.
Powertrains and Performance
Available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the Five Hundred comes with a 3.0-liter V6 rated for 203 hp and 207 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel-drive Five Hundreds come with a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive models get a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which offers all the convenience of a regular automatic but has an infinite number of ratios and chooses whichever one best fits a given situation. Fuel economy rates 21 mpg city, 29 mpg highway on front-drive models and 19/25 on AWD models.
All Five Hundreds come with four-wheel antilock disc brakes and traction control; stability control is not available. Starting with September 2006 production, the previously optional front seat-mounted side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags (with a rollover sensor) are standard across the board as well. Power-adjustable pedals and rear parking sensors are optional on all Five Hundreds. Front- and side-impact testing by the NHTSA returned a perfect five-star rating across the board. The IIHS gave the Five Hundred its "Top Safety Pick" gold award after the sedan earned top ratings in the agency's frontal-offset, side-impact and rear-impact crash tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The cabin design is clean, attractive and functional with solid materials quality, plenty of storage areas and eight cupholders. Legroom is plentiful in both the front and rear, and a tall seating position gives the impression of sitting in a sport-utility vehicle while making it easier for family members young and old to get in and out of the car. In addition to its impressive 21-cubic-foot trunk capacity, the Five Hundred's 60/40-split rear seats fold flat, as does its front passenger seat, allowing owners to transport items up to 9 feet in length inside the car.
The V6 provides adequate power for easy city driving, but buyers will wish for extra midrange torque for passing at highway speeds and climbing grades. Power delivery is also less refined than in most competitors. Of the two transmissions, our preference is the CVT, which is smoother and does a better job of keeping the engine in its power band, although it does result in a bit more noise under hard acceleration. Thanks to its Volvo-engineered chassis, the 2007 Ford Five Hundred offers a pleasant balance between smooth ride quality and responsive handling. The brakes perform adequately but fade a little sooner than we'd like under heavy use.