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Ford Five Hundred/Mercury Montego



  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,358
    I still think that most sedan buyers don't have any idea how fast their cars really are. They primarily are looking for smoothness and quietness, with adaquate performance. Plus, some manufactuers purposely "rig" the feeling to shoot the car off the line (very abrupt initial tip in) to give the impression of acceleration, even if it doesn't really put up the numbers.

    mid-range performance is also key. Most people aren't that concerned with 0-60 from a stop light, but want to get good response when they pull out to pass. The Duratech should be stronger here with the 6 spd. or CVT, even if it isn't a rocket off the line.

    The average Camry probably never exceeds 3500 RPM anyway.

    Again, I'm talking about the average sedan buyer, not the enthousiast/hot rodder minority (that is probably overly represented here).

    Plus, I do think a car this size/weight, and especially the Freestyle version, needs a bigger engine. 3.3l w/225 HP and torque would be nice, so the 3.5l should make a nice optional upgrade.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    "Plus, some manufactuers purposely "rig" the feeling to shoot the car off the line (very abrupt initial tip in) to give the impression of acceleration, even if it doesn't really put up the numbers."

    That's very true. I know numerous vehicles that have the initial throttle launch, just to make them feel faster. And other items such as muffler's are tuned to make them sound sporty, and give driver's the impression their cars are quick.
  • fdcapt2fdcapt2 Posts: 122
    I want to thank all of you for your posts answering some of my concerns with these new cars. After driving Fords or Mercury's since the 60's, I broke the tradition and went to Acura. The 2003 TL I drive is a good car, and I've only had a few problems with it. But my heart is telling me to come home and get back into the Oval. I'm leasing the Acura, but I intend to buy either the 500 or the Montego, so that's why I'm asking so many questions. So, once again, thanks for your help, and drinks (seltzer) are on me.......
  • buckwheatbuckwheat Posts: 396
    From design in early 2000, to production in late 2005, almost 6 years does not demonstrate any urgency to move forward even though Fords' Roman Krygler, a group VP, stated "we saw we had a hole in our line-up in the mid range V6 area, so we designed this to fill it. "In 2003 Ford had in place "prototypes that have verified the Duratec-35 completely."

    So what is the delay, it is not the outsourcing major suppliers, they are in place. Die cast blocks will be supplied by a "Teksid" operation in Alabama, Duratec-35 heads will come
    from "Nemak" in Mexico, crankshafts will be supplied by India's Bharat Forge. The delay is the transition of the Lima Ohio plant to "Fords Flexible Manufacturing System", with installation of CNC (computer numerically controlled) lines to machine the new engine heads and convert the existing flexible manufacturing equipment for the crankshafts. The engine block machining will be a state of the art transfer line. Of course once this revamping occurs reprogramming to another engine can take place over a weekend, (truly remarkable) and it will be the same way at every engine plant. The Cleveland Engine plant#1 comes on line in 2004 as Fords first fully flexible engine plant and as stated above can reprogram to accept, say the Duratec 35 over a weekends time, provided all the engines components are shipped there. This is not going to happen because Ford is contractually committed to the Lima plant and its union workers besides Cleveland #1 is busy making other engines. But the point is if they wanted to they could.

    Additionally, Ford anticipates the majority of sales volume for Five Hundred/Freestyle/Montego will be with CVT transmissions, and now that the CVT joint venture with ZF that began in 1999 is essentially in name only since Ford bought the 51% of shares owned by ZF with Ford now having 100% ownership, who knows what the final product will be in regards to durability/longevity and quality now that it will be completely Ford. At last reports Ford did not have a CVT ready for any engine having more than 220lbs. of torque the Duratec-30 engine is rated at 200lbs. of torque. Perhaps Fords purchase of ZF shares might be the signal that Ford will outsource for larger torque CVTs capable of the higher torque Duratec-35 scheduled for some Ford vehicles sometime in 2006

    As previously reported in February in the Car Connection, it is a fact that some Ford engineers have already stated the Duratec-30 is underpowered for the near 4000lb (AWD Five Hundred w/driver). Its not comforting in making a major purchase to know those who engineered this vehicle believe it to be underpowered and for me that has nothing to do with 0-60. Of course sitting behind the wheel and evaluating power will be individually subjective based on anticipated expectations.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Very good, your information is quite correct, I'm beginning to think you might be an insider considering your got all your sourcing information correct.

    Here's another... Once the 3.5L becomes availble, they will outsource the CVT from Nissan, same one used in the Murano. Aisin (which supplies the auto trannies for the Mazda6 V6), might also supply Ford with a CVT able to withstand 250HP/250TQ. Although this isn't to say that ZF couldn't develop one on their own... it's all on timing.
  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    Ford has trademarked the names TWO HUNDRED, THREE HUNDRED, FOUR HUNDRED, and SIX HUNDRED right after registering FIVE HUNDRED. I thought they were only sticking to names that start with F!?!
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    First, I doubt those registrations would hold water if attacked in court. Second, I have all along thought the F and M thing at Ford/Mercury was a passing fad. Third, I think the F/M thing probably came along after Nasser was tossed (which was also after the Five Hundred was named)...
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Sometimes names closely similar to the target name, are trademarked just incase another manufacturer decided to come up with something close to it.
  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    Oh, I gotcha!
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Oh, don't get me going on the F&M thing again. I HATE that! Especially when it translated into FreeWilly, er, I mean Freestar. By the way, as an owner of a new Monterey, (that name I like, it's not a stupid name), we took delivery of the wife's new Mountaineer yesterday, and I asked the owner of the dealership how the Monterey vans are selling. They aren't. Too bad too, ours has been phenomenal - a real positive surprise to us.
  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    When'd you get the Monterey? I didn't know you got one! How's the Mountaineer going? Do you still have the Navigator?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Got the Monterey a month ago to replace my Villager that was coming off lease. The villager had 55,000 miles on it and other than constantly needing brake pads, was a good van. My courier was sort of sorry to see it go. Now, here's where the dilemna came in. I could have got a PT Cruiser for about $15,000. The Monterey stickers at $30,000, base model. (They have REALLY put a price on these new ones. No wonder they aren't selling!) But out of loyalty for my favorite L/M dealer, I leased the Monterey, and the deal was good. My courier is delighted, because this is a damn surprisingly nice van! Having rented many Windstars and feeling they were barely competent, I was amazed at how much more refined and pleasant to drive the Monterey or Freestar is. Best of all, I expected some issues with the van, since Windstars are famous for their problems - and this is brand new design. There are none so far at all. I think they may be building this one right.

    Only had the 04 Mountaineer a day now, it's going fine. Yes, still have the Navigator which is my main ride, and it's just excellent. Nothing yet out there that would drive me out of it.
  • buckwheatbuckwheat Posts: 396
    J Mays is the likeable 49-year old American who has been head of Ford Motor Co's global design team since taking over from Jack Telnack in 1997, according to Mays "Expect the 3-bar grille to feature prominently on a facelifted Five Hundred in just a couple of years".
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    What's a 3 bar grille?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    The one from the Futura concept picture we have previously seen, there should be one on Edmunds, or I can link you to one if you wish.

    It's 3 bars, across the front grill that will be used on the passenger vehicles to come. Right now they are getting the 500 Grills look, with the mesh grill (Taurus, Focus, 500, CV)...then it'll grow to the 3-bar look.
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    I read somewhere that J May is british.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    I talked briefly with him at the Carlisle Ford Nationals this summer. He was signing autographs, and we briefly chatted about the new Mustang and the Five Hundred. I don't remember him having a British accent. If I recall correctly, he is from Oklahoma. His family owns a large ranch there.
  • xmf314xmf314 Posts: 154
    J Mays is from Oklahoma. Here is a link to his biography:
  • fdcapt2fdcapt2 Posts: 122
    I've been continuing my search for anything new on these vehicles. I've been reading a lot of different peoples thoughts on what might take place. Like most of us now know, the cars will be underpowered compared to just about every other car in their class. I still shake my head trying to understand Ford's reasoning behind using the 30 Duratec. There have been discussions here talking about the new tranny's, and how much that will make a difference. To release 3 new vehicles using this engine, is stupid. When you look around and see the Nissan Altima banging 250+HP, and that's not even the top of the line car for them. Nissan also dropped the ball a few years ago when they released the Altima with more power then the Maxima. How can they, meaning the car manufacturers, let something like this happen. It just isn't good to have new cars like the 500/Montego/Freestyle being released using an engine that's been old for a few years now. I had 3 Ford/Mercury cars with the Duratec 3.0. Even though they ran fairly well, they needed a few more ponies to take them to the top. Ant, I saw a post of your's on a Montego site, I think, and you were discussing what can be done to give the 30 a shot in the [non-permissible content removed]. I'm waiting to take my chance behind the wheel of the Chrysler 300C, the one with the Hemi. All this discussion about why Ford dropped the ball might be forgotten if things go right when I light up that Hemi........
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Well the 300C is not at all what the 500/Montego are aiming for. Although if acceleration is a priority for them, the 300C would do. Or I would just do the Mustang and save $10K at that.

    Pretty much it comes down to this. Either they release the vehicles NOW with the Duratec30, or release it in another year or so, with the Duratec35. If you delay it a year just because of powertrain, the vehicle itself (and it's technology) will fall behind once introduced.

    HENCE, introduce it now and let the vehicle sell itself on it's other positive merits... Then integrate an optional powertrain (Duratec35) a year or so after introduction, to gain sales and create fresh attention again.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    If the 500/Montego (especially Montego) top out at what $33,000 as expected, do you not think the the 300s will be cross-shopped. Most certainly, the 3.5L 300 Touring and Limited will be, and those who want more- can look to the 300C, but dont have anywhere to go with the Montego. The 3.5L already offers substantially more power than the intro Duratec in the Fords. If Ford isnt after the larger sedan market (300, Amanti, Avalon) who are they after?

  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    I've already test driven the 300 with the 250HP 3.5L, and I say there's about 40 horses absent on that powertrain, and has always been over-rated. The weight issue is mainly a factor.

    Pertaining to the 500, maybe the AWD version might be the closest version someone would cross shop it with...but comparing the FWD 2WD versions of each vehicle will make the deciding factor for many.

    Granted, the 300C could have even 400HP and be priced the same, but in the end it will not guarantee sales success. Let's take a look at the Nissan Titan, great acceleration performance, but it's sales are below what expected. Same with the Quest, same with the Armada. Acceleration is just one factor in the equation.
  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    Look at the Mercury Marauder. The marketplace cerainly greeted it with a big yawn. Of course, if it had the performance of the 300C, maybe things would be a little different. But the biggest factor was probably that it was a more powerful engine in an obsolescent car. Nobody is going to buy a 500 or Montego who is mainly interested in acceleration. The power of the 3.0 Duratec should be enough for the target market.
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    Well, I WAS. But Ford has pushed me into looking at the 250hp/ torque Legacy GT or Outback XT.

    Otherwise, it WOULD have been a Five Hundred.

    I doubt I am alone in this....
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I understand your point, and I agree that acceleration is just one aspect of a vehicles overall package. I just feel a 200 hp powerplant is disappointing in an otherwise all new effort. I dont care that we'll get the 3.5L in a year. That will be fine for then- but what about now? Consumers looking to purchase now but wanting power will NOT purchase the car. Reference the above post.

    I think the Quest is not selling well because of its overwrought design and tepid reviews. The Titan and Armada certainly arent selling poorly, and arent THAT FAR off targets.

    I was at the NY Auto Show again today (didnt have much time on Friday). I saw the Ford display. For all the money Ford has spent on interiors, I feel that it only really shows in the Lincolns, whose interiors are classy and well done without an obvious look of trying too hard. I HATE that the 2005 Focus has a different, much uglier, less stylish center stack. The Freestar/Monterrey also failed to impress, BUT if I was in the market, I suppose I could overlook that given the NOW $4000 rebate. Thats insane for a vehicle less than a year old, though precisely what was expected. The Five Hundred on the display table had a pleasant exterior, but generally boring interior. Looks roomy, and the seats APPEAR comfortable.

    Seriously, what is the deal with the Mariner. Its a frekin Escape for God's sake, and its STILL not on sale, despite being at LAST YEARS NYIAS. The spiral notebook like brochure says the FALL. WHY?

  • andy71andy71 Posts: 96
    It seems like Ford uses the lowest output engine for its own cars where as companies owned by Ford get higher output and more refined engines.

    Example 1: Ford Focus(2.3L) 145 Hp
               Mazda3 (2.3L) 160 Hp

    Example 2: Ford Taurus/500 (3.0L) 200 Hp
               Mazda6 (3.0L) 220
               Lincoln LS (3.0L) 232Hp
               Jaguar X type (3.0L) 232Hp
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687

    For those who believe 200HP isn't enough, then will obviously try other vehicles. It's only US, because of our resources, that are aware that a 3.5L will be implemented into the vehicle in the future. The majority of other consumer's, will not so they'll miss out, and that's obvious the risk that had to be taken in Ford's behave.

    It doesn't how much we analyze the situation, and complain (trust me, I've done my share part over the engine) but to there was NO way the 3.5L could have been ready for this vehicles debut. And this is the best situation Ford could have done, given the circumstances. And it's really not as bad, as the 200HP might state.

    The Mariner was delayed to coincide with the Escape Hybrid debut. And you also don't wish to do it at the same time the Montego launches, so other factors were taken into consideration.

    Numerous engines are tailored, depending upon the brand. Toyota has it's 3.0L, where it would make 194HP to 210HP in Toyota, but 220HP in Lexus. (Now 3.3L).

    Nissan's 3.5L does 230Hp on the Quest (a bit more on the Altima/Maxima) but makes 260HP-287HP ON Inifniti products, etc.

    Same thing with Ford, Jag, Lincoln, Mazda. IN some cases (like Jag and Mazda) they have the original engine architecture, but they fit their own heads and tune it for a bit more power.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    has 240 hp, not 230.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Just for kicks I went back and looked at CR's acceleration data for the 3.0 Duratec in Taurus vs 3.0 Duratec modified and with 5 speed automatic in Mazda 6.

    Taurus 0-60 in 8.3 seconds. 45-65 in 4.9 seconds. 1/4 mile in 16.4 seconds. Curb weight 3325 lbs. CR mileage test: 15 city, 31 highway, 22 overall

    Mazda 6: 0-60 in 8.1 seconds. 45-65 in 5.3 seconds. 1/4 mile in 16.5 seconds. Curb weight 3355 lbs. Cr mileage test: 14 city, 30 highway, 20 overall.
    Seems all that tweaking Mazda did with variable valve timing and a 5 speed automatic did nearly nothing but allow Mazda to publish a 10% higher horsepower rating, but with worse mileage, and in only one acceleration test did it beat the Taurus.

    My point, wait until you drive the 500 with the 3.0 Duratec before you pass judgement on its inadequate engine, and if you think it is inadequate, then buy something else or wait for the 3.5. I'd certainly rather Ford release 500 this fall than wait a year for another engine option.

    In the meantime if you want a real bargain, pick up a Taurus or Sable. Just saw a local add for a new Mercury Sable LS Premium well equipped including no charge leather, illuminated keyless entry, ABS, autodimming rear view mirror and automatic temperature control, along with all the standard features in the top model Sable including the 3.0 Duratec. MSRP $24325. Net price with all rebates and discounts: $17675. Good performance at a bargain price.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    If you want a REAL bargain, you can pick up a 35000 mile 2002 Taurus SEL for about $11,500, maybe a little higher certified- probably worth it. THAT is a bargain.

This discussion has been closed.