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Ford Five Hundred/Mercury Montego



  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    On my lot, we have about a dozen 500s in stock so we are discounting. only about 6 Freestyles though and NO Mustangs.

    We only have one Mustang that we know we are geting, a v6 coupe automatic in red.

    We have some customers with orders but we have no allocation at the moment.

    Incidently, we have about 16 hybrids on my lot but they are all FLEET units allocated to the State of NJ. (NJ's total allocation is 30 for this year).

    For some reason, my dealership decided to sell the Mustangs as we get them if they aren't already claimed so I don't expect to have alot of time to spend in one for a while..

    All the salesmen have a list of people to call when one hits the lot.

    The whole point of this is...

    How ever said that the American car companies are dead better think again...

    Who would have thought a few years ago that there would be any excitement about a new Ford, let alone more than ONE at the same time!!!

    Also, as a side note, Mazda is going to make a Hybrid Tribute. I think that will put Ford at the top of the Hybrid heap as well...Escape, Tribute, Mariner, Fusion, possibly Milan.

    Add to that, Ford is now the largest manufacturor of AWD sedan's and of cars equipped with CVTs.

    F-150 is the best selling full size pickup STILL
    Explorer is the best selling full size SUV STILL
    Escape is the best selling full size Compact SUV STILL!

    Ford also leads in full sized vans with Econoline and in compact pickups with Ranger.

    Personally I think that the challenge for the future as the auto business gets more and more fragmented will be for Ford to fill the evolving nitches. At the moment, it seems like Toyota is the one car company out there with a vehicle in every catagory (except full sized trucks).

    I'd like to see Ford start to compete at the bottom of the market in the US also.

    For 05, I think the weakest of the redesigns is the Focus. The interior is just awefull when compared to other vehicles in this catagory. Even my own Mazda Protege5 has a much nicer interior and that is a 5 year old design (P5 was out before it came to this country).

    I personally think the entry level is one of the most important catagories. This is where you get your future customers from...

  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    "So the wife wants a new car - and would prefer a larger, and softer (i.e., not a sports sedan) sedan. We test drove the 500 yesterday and its nice. I wasn't wild about the interior material - a lot of plastic..."

    Here is what one of the testers at autoweek writes about the plastic interior of the Five Hundred:

    "I'm tired of hearing everyone moan about plastics in interiors. Get over it. This is what cars are made of, unless you're in a triple-digit exotic and want to sniff the hand-stitched leather. We are finding the quality of plastics, whether it's on the touch points or instrument panels, is far better than what it used to be. Complaining about the quality of plastic is hollow-unless, of course, it is truly awful. What would you rather the interior of cars and trucks be made of? Corian countertops? Molybdenum? Weasel fur?"

    See the entire article here:
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    In this month's Motor Trend magazine, there is a comparison between 4 cars: 1) Buick LaCrosse, 2) Ford Five Hundred, 3) Toyota Avalon, 4) Chrysler 300.

    The Ford Five Hundred wins in interior room (of course). But when comparing HOW QUIET they are at 70 mph, the 500 is the bottom of the list. In this order:

    1) Buick LaCrosse...(65.9 dBA)
    2) Toyota Avalon.....(66.4 dBA)
    3) Chrysler 300.......(67.6 dBA)
    4) Ford 500............(69.6 dBA)
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    The quietest car I have ever owned was a '94 Thunderbird V8 - 67Dba at 70MPH. Remember, that is a big difference, as each 2 or 3 Dba is a doubling of the noice level.

    I understand that the 3.5 is two or more years away, so it does seems that a higher output 3.0 would really help fill the gap.

    By the way, the Thunderbird was not expensive, rode smoothly with an independent rear suspension, handled well (especially with better tires than what the factory installed), reached 60 in 8.1 seconds, with the 205/265 version of the 4.6 V8, and produced good mileage on regular. The biggest defect with that car was the too-small front brakes (remedied on the Lincoln Mark VIII version of the car).

    Now that Ford gets 300HP from the 4.6 V8, it sure would be nice to have a sedan with that engine, a smooth-riding and good-handling independent rear suspension, rear wheel drive (just re-use the T-bird parts), the six-speed automatic now being used in the Navigator, and the interior style of the T-bird, and the size of the Five Hundred. The Lincoln LS lacks the size and the price is $15,000 too high.
  • So what are the odds that the Yamaha V8 that Volvo just put in the XC90 is going to make it into the 500? It has been reported in a couple of places that this engine would fit in the 500, as it's based on the same architecture as the XC90.

    Since this is an existing engine, it seems to me that it could make it into the 500 before the Duratec 35 is ready, should Ford want to do this. This sure would take care of the power concerns, but I have no idea if Ford is looking at this. Anyone?
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    It seems that if they really want to compete with the Chrysler 300 and the upcoming Avalon, the Yamaha V8 would be an easy solution. They should be able to charge $4,000 more for the car, and their costs would only increase by a few hundred dollars (at most) per car.
  • nedc2nedc2 Posts: 192
    Ford doesn't need to compete with the 300c. Chrysler NEEDs the 300c to compete with Lincolns and Cadillacs. It would probably take at least a year to fit the Yamaha V8 into the Five Hundred, it's not just the engine but the whole drivetrain that would need to upgraded, as well as new motor mounts and other front subframe adjustmnents, and Ford's cost would be well more than a few hundred dollars per car, a few thousand COST is more like it. There are also production constraints on the Yamaha V8, about 20K units per year, and the Volvo S80 really needs that engine ASAP, far more than the Five Hundred does. As it stands a loaded S80 Premier, is a $57K car with a 269hp inline 6, $ speed auto, and FWD; hardly competitive in its price range, but with a 300+ hp V8, 6 speed, and AWD it looks alot better for $57K.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Actually 6dBA is a doubling of noise level. The difference of 3.7 dbA between the noisiest and quietest in the Motor Trend test is 1.53 to 1 comparing Five hundred to La Crosse. Note also in the same test the ride quality of the Five Hundred was about middle of the pack, suggesting a good combination of ride/noise performance for the Five Hundred.

    Also, note that on a subjective basis, most people can only recognize a 3dBA noise level difference a "just perceptible". Many other things enter into the actual "feel" of the noise level, as well. For instance a pure tone at a low level is much more objectionable than white noise at a higher level, so one measurement does not tell the whole story.
  • I understand the engineering costs involved in refitting a new engine into the bay of the 500 must be passed onto the consumer.

    My thoughts are more broad...can't ford use the Economies of Scale to reduce the cost of the volvo v8?

    Can't they dedicate more plant space to develop this engine, thus reducing the costs through mass production? The reason the cost of the volvo v8 is so high is because of the low volume. Wasn't the original duratec a low volume custom design that ford mass produced even though the designers said this engine was too complicated to be mass produced (german designed?)?

  • Due to the high price of the Yamaha V8 itll proably end up in the Montego or a Lincoln vehicle where the cost is actually justified and helps promote a premium image. The 3.5L and 3.0L are just fine for the Five Hundred in my opinion putting a V8 in it is excessive. Let Mercury-Lincoln use the Yamaha V8 it would better serve them with promoting their image.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    "Can't they dedicate more plant space to develop this engine, thus reducing the costs through mass production?"

    They are out sourcing the engine, and Yamaha is limited it 20-25K units in it's current capacity. Not to mention the premium Ford is paying for the engine. For this engine to become more viable, Ford would have to begin producing it standalone.

    You might see it on a Lincoln model which will come out in the near future, also derived from the 500's platform. Although I'm banking on a regular Ford V8 engine, in a modified front end structure instead. Economies of scale show the latter, a larger posibility.
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    Thanks for the information on the noise level comparisons. I think I may have incorrectly remembered something I first read in Popular Science many years ago, as they were one of the first magazines to test noise levels.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 3,089
    "Now, if we can just cram a Yamaha V8 into the 500's engine bay... "

    One of my fantasies - but, if the 3.5L is 1.5 years out, how long would it be for this 4.4L motor?
    (He asks - expecting no real answer.)
    - Ray
    Thinking a (given early projections I have seen for the Volvo XC90 V8) 300+ HP/TQ 500 would be a 6 sec. 0-60 vehicle . . . even in the rain!
    2016 BMW 340i
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 3,089
    “What would you rather the interior of cars and trucks be made of? Corian countertops? Molybdenum? Weasel fur?"

    I vote to bring back naugahyde.

    Only problem is how many Nauga-s (little hydes) it takes to cover an interior.
    - Ray
    Thinking of starting a Nauga farm – after I retire . . .
    2016 BMW 340i
  • The 500's interior could have been a bit better.

    Yes, the dash will be plastic. Quality can vary, but it will be plastic.

    The 500's door panels do not have a soft padded section like the Camry's. My 96 Grand Marquis has a padded vinyl section on the top 25% of the door. This makes for a soft tactile feel of the door. This material has lasted 9 years so far. Much better than hard plastic.

    The center console of the 500 needs a soft padded surface. The Expedition uses a softer console cover that the 500. So what gives?

    These selected materials give the interior a "harder" initial impression.

    Similarly, the hard rear seat of the 500 is very firm. Camry's rear seat is softer, the Crown Vic's rear seat is softer.

    So if the argument is made that the seat needs to very firm for the fabric to last, I call BS.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    "One of my fantasies - but, if the 3.5L is 1.5 years out, how long would it be for this 4.4L motor?"

    Unless Ford doesn't produce the engine itself, or Yamaha increases it's factory size, it'll stay at 25K units which they are able to produce.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Point well taken dave2222, and based on my experience with both of the 04 Mercurys I have acquired this year, it's working. Congratulations! Keep it up, and Bill will have his company back on the right track.
  • I agree with frasierdog. The amount and quality of the plastic are an immediate turn off for a car in this price range. I suppose there are those who think it's a feature to be able to take a hose to your interior. Not me.

    I also have no idea why the rear seat is so hard, particularly the center position. I can't imagine how sore I'd be if I had to sit back there on a 300 mile drive!
  • fdcapt2fdcapt2 Posts: 122
    The past few days have been a car persons heaven. First I tested the 500(again), with AWD/CVT. I'm beginning to accept the CVT a little more. After reading some posts here about the plastics used on car interiors I was very much disappointed with the 500. Sure the car rides great, but for 30 grand, it should have a more plush interior. It's a shame that Ford cheapened the 500/Montego by not doing more with the doors, glove box, etc., and that little compartment in the dash doesn't make it either. I drove the Montego tonight and maybe it was me, but I seemed to think the Montego interior was a tiny bit better then the 500. Maybe it was just my thinking I liked the Montego more. I drove the 2005 Kia Armanti the other day and was amazed at how well that car handled. It was VERY smooth and quiet, and the interior was top notch. Much, much better then the 500/Montego, and for around $6000 less. Then came the '05 Acura TL. All I can say is WOW !! I drive an '03 TL now, and the new one is far better then the '03 in every aspect. The thing that really floored me was the fact I could get the Acura for a little over $30 grand, and it's head and shoulders over the 500/Montego. Today I also test drove the Mazda 6 with the top shelf package. I know Ford owns Mazda and I'm trying to figure out why Ford didn't try to put the Mazda engine into the new cars with 220HP instead of the underpowered 3.0 V6. The Mazda seemed to have a better interior and it drove exceptionly well. Very tight and smooth with a really quiet cabin. The price was a little under $24 grand. As much as I find the Montego to my liking, it's becoming harder and harder to overlook some of the dumb things Ford did to these new cars(500/Montego). Instead of coming to the plate looking to hit a home run, they bunted.
  • More Five Hundred info is at
  • Mazda is not wholly owned by Ford. Ford has a 33.4% controlling equity in Mazda.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    As I posted in #1374...

    "Borrowing the Mazda6's 3.0L wouldn't have proved to be beneficial. It's the same engine, but with Mazda designed heads allowing for different tuning. While it works on the lighter Mazda6, its tuned differently. Yes it produces 220HP, but it must be worked hard and at higher RPM to attain them. Which is a common complaint you might read on Mazda6 reviews. (When mated to an automatic).

    The 3.0L for the Freestyle/500/Mont is tuned differntly, to be able to produce higher torque at lower RPM's. Example, on the FS version you'll have it pumping 80% of it's torque at a low 15-2000RPM, while in the Mazda6 version it'll probably be pumping just 40-50% at the same RPM band.

    Another possibility could have been using Lincoln's/Jags's 3.0L variation. While producing 232-240HP, it would have required premium gas and it's not something most customer's would like."
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    ANT14 - I don't know about most customers, but I'll bet most of those who would buy a loaded limited or premier would go for the more powerful V6 option. I did not realize that it was so easy - the cost to Ford to offer that option would be almost nothing - the engines proabbly come down the same assembly line, and there probably is little or no additional parts cost. Yet, they could charge $500 or more for the option.

    The problem with FDCAPT2's comparisons is that the Fords offer a far larger back seat and trunk than those other cars, so if you need those the other cars will not be on your list. If you don't need the space, then buy a Scion TC for $18,000 with the automatic and side air bags. It is similar in many ways to our 2002 C230K Coupe, which we got for $25,500 (vs $29,370 sticker).
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "The amount and quality of the plastic are an immediate turn off for a car in this price range."

    I don't get it. This is a lot of car for $25,000. I thought it looked pretty classy for this particular price range meself..... What were you expecting, exactly?
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    Buckwheat wrote: *** Mazda is not wholly owned by Ford. Ford has a 33.4% controlling equity in Mazda. ***

    The magic word there is controlling. Under Japanese law, Ford owns enough of Mazda to run and control it, so long as no one else owns more. No one does. Ford, in essence, owns Mazda, but gets only 33.4% (or whatever the number is--I thought it had recently been slightly increased) of the profits...
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    ...but only 33.4% of the burden in bad times, which is a hellova lot better than 100%.

    ANT14- I totally echo your statements about the Mazda Tuned Duratec 30. At the Mazda Rev It Up driving event in 2003, it surprised me just how similar the 6i and the 6s felt off the line- the Mazda tuned V6 is a great engine with the manual, Id imagine, though.

  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    This year, Mazda6 will gain the same automatic 6 speed automatic as the 500. This will help the off the line feeling, some would complain about.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Maybe it bears repeating as I quote myself from post 601:

    "Just for kicks I went back and looked at CR's acceleration data for the 3.0 Duratec in Taurus with a four speed automatic 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."

    So why would Ford use the Mazda version Duratech when the Ford version without variable valve timing basically matches or exceeds the Mazda6?Only if they wanted to publish higher horsepower, at the expense of real world performance.

    I think Ford did the best they could under available engine constraints in optimizing the engine with the transmission(s) on Five Hundred.

    Some will always second guess. You want overwhelming power, and some bling, then go get your Hemi Chrysler 300C. You want balanced performance combined with state of the art transmissions and good MPG, with loads of room, optional all wheel drive and excellent visibility? Then 500 is a good choice.
  • Might be a good ideal to rent one before your purchase.
  • Does anyone know why the Montego Luxry is so much more expensive than the 500 SEL? Msrp are $24795 and $24995. However, the 500 includes things that are extra on the Montego. 8 way power drivers seat, 6 Cd changer radio, 2 way powers pass. seat and brushed aluminum wheels. The radio and seats comprise the Montego comfort package ($795), the wheels are painted. The difference in similar equipped versions is now $200 + $795 = $995.

    The only things I can see different on the Montego are the grill, headlights and an analog clock. The uninformed saleman told me that Mercury has always been a better more expensive car. He had no details to back him up.

    Am I missing something or are the difference cosmetic not quaility.

  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Considering they are both made on the same assembly line, there's really no other difference than cosmetics. If anything, you might have a better customer experience in a Lincoln/Mercury service center, but that's about it.
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    I priced the Montego as I would buy it (all options except sun roof) and it is a better value, as it includes three things not available on the 500: a very nice two-tone interior with perforated leather seats (cooler in summer), HID head lights, and LED tail lights.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Memory driver seat settings, and 2 tone leather seating as well.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I like 'em for the money.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    It think consumers are waiting for 2k rebate before they start to buy the 500 and Freestyle, at least in the Philly area.

    I agree with some of whats being said here though, the SE and SEL pretty much rule the low to mid 20k price bracket with size and features. Any short coming on the quality of execution is forgivable after all, is it better then the Chevy Impala and Buick LaCrosse? by a LONG shot.

    at 30k the Limited starts to run into some STIFF competition. A 2k rebate would really make the value story whole lot stronger. It can't be far away either with 2k already out on Escape and Focus.

    Escape seems to me to be far and away the best Ford out right now, not counting pickup trucks. As for quality of materials, sitting in an Escape Limited brings up images of shopping in an expensive leather store the smell of leather is so strong.

    The 05 Explorer is short lived I know but just to give you an idea of how good the Escape is, The lease price on an Explorer XLT is only a few more dollars more than than that on an Escape XLT. What gives you might as since the Explorer costs maybe 5k more and has a lower residual? Ford is throwing an crazy low money factor at the Explorer right now... There is no such need to subsidize the Escape.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    No, I wasn't driving the 500, just was sitting in all seating positions, and trying out a few things here and there.

    I think it is a very good car. As you know already, it's extremely roomy in the rear and the trunk too.

    But it have a few shortcomings which I don't like, but may not be a problem for others:

    1) Controls for power door locks, mirrors, and windows are not illuminated! Is it a first time for Ford? (And so is the power/volume control for the audio system).

    2) No lamp under the hood. If you ever needed a jump-start or adding fluid to your car in the dark, you know what I'm talking about. And still no struts.

    3) Leather seats not as butter-smooth as Crown Victoria (You can NOT slide into the seat).

    4) Gauges are rather small and not so easy to read. The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord have LED gauges, big typefaces which is so clear and easy to read.

    Otherwise, I love the car.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Those are good shortcomings....... They should all be corrected, focus groups be damned!!
  • I saw 500 today in Ford dealership. There were 4 or 5 of them and nobody really show any interest. People crowded around two new Mustangs (no GT though). I really like Mustang V6 with red leather/ charcoal trim. It feels like a more expensive car. Gauges are beautiful and you can change color !

    Well 500 looks bland, kind of bloated Focus (I like Focus though). I felt the same way when saw previous Toyota Camry. Camry was probably the worst car on the market then. Bland car, thats all. I like Montego more, though Montego is not very exiting too. But at least these big Fords are not ugly as Avalon. So 500/Montego is not my kind of car. I will probably wait for Milan.
  • I have seen the 500 with both leather and cloth. Only seen the Montego with leather. Has anyone compared the cloth seats. Are the cloth seats in the Montego and upgrade over the 500 like the Grand Marquis over the Crown Victoris?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    The majority of those crowding over the Mustang, will probably walk out with something that's NOT the Mustang. Just as Halo cars, they bring the people into the dealership, but when reality hits, they walk out with something that's a bit more functional.

    Ironically when I visit other's dealerships, I always look at the cars I would never bother with first, then walk to the one that I originally went to analyze.
  • I love a second opinion. rticle.html?articleId=103417&tid=edmunds.h..wkedmunds.firstdr- ive.1g.*

    Ask GM officials and they'll tell you they have a new commitment to interiors, and both the Terraza and Relay benefit from this shift in thinking. We met this claim with much skepticism as the same exact proclamation was made at Ford a short time ago. Sure, the new Ford Freestar's interior looks better, but as soon as you start touching the interior surfaces, it's obvious that Ford's promise was only skin-deep. Thankfully, GM went the extra mile with the interior of these new vans, as both models feature upscale cabins that are a vast improvement over any of GM's previous people movers.

    There's also a noticeable lack of hard plastic surfaces inside these vans and many of the surfaces are pleasing to the touch.
  • I will post this to both the 500 and freestyle forums, as they are similar vehicles and potential cars in my future.

    After following the freestyle forum for months, I'm surprised no one has done a comparison between the 500/freestyle to the volvo counterparts (s60/v70).

    I know they do not compete in terms of luxury and styling (I still believe volvo to be some of the nicest designs), but comparison in terms of utility.

    I would like to have a wagon with room and some luxury, and considered a CPO v70 2.5T. The power is similar in terms of HP, but I noticed that the V70 had a higher towing rating. Any thoughts about why? You would think an NA engine would have better towing specs that a turbo (never driven a turbo, can't comment).

    Second, I have a fear of turbos over the long haul (too many horror stories about saabs blowing blue smoke after 60K). My fear is that although the volvo would offer more "luxury" in a slightly used v70, I would worry about the mechanics at going to 100K.

    The same goes for the 500...the volvo s60/80 are beautiful inside and out, while the 500 is styles more conservatively like the Passat (another car to consider until you hear about the reliability).

    Any thoughts comparing the 500 to a CPO volvo s80 and a freestyle to a CPO v70?

    If you can get them both for the same price, what are your thoughts? Do the seats fold down in the s80? Gas mileage comparisons? Acceleration concerns? Let's discuss.

  • I read all the articles I could find, chugged thru a few hundred recent posts here, and went for a ride in a loaded SEL. Knowing that opinions certainly do vary, here goes...
    On the quality of the interior materials I think it's better then the critique it usually gets. I've got a '98 VW Passat - which is probably the standard bearer for decent quality interior materials at a sub-luxury price. I made it a point to poke at my car before and after driving the Ford. If anything the interior of the Ford is softer and soft in more places. It is shinier though, so it does look more plasticy (if that's a word). IMHO: I suspect that that's more the reason it makes you aware of the plastic then the actual feel of the material used. But all in all it was a nice place to sit for the hour+ I got to drive it around.

    It was about as smooth as my VW (2.8L with 5 speed manual) and about as quick in terms of every day driving. I'm pretty sure if I red lined my VW and banged gears it'd blow the Ford away, but those days are long gone. In every day driving it was more then adequate and would be pleasant on the commute. The VW might be a very slight bit quieter at 70 MPH. No discernible difference around town or the rough back road I took it on from a noise perspective.

    The seats were very comfortable for me (6'2" 225lbs) and my 5' 5" eleven year old fit easily in the seat behind me with it all the way back and had room to spare (an important consideration for anybody with a 5'5" eleven year old...). It handled very smoothly. I kept thinking "this thing drives a lot 'smaller' then it really is". Steering was every bit as good as my VW. The stereo was a big cut above and quite nice except for weak bass response. I didn't have time to fiddle with the tone controls so that may work out with some effort.

    Even knowing about the trunk it's a sight to behold when you open it up. It's a monster.

    In short, go drive the thing. I can see where the criticisms are coming from, but it's a very nice package if you want a little more room then you get in a Honda (I've owned 2) or Toyota (I've owned 3). The best part was the dealer offered it to me at about $100 over invoice because the company I work for has a supplier discount.

    Time to think seriously about it now. If we get it it'll replace a 2001 Honda Odysee. For everything but hauling plywood it'll do the job for sure and be a much nicer ride. I'll rent the $19.95 Lowe's truck when I want more plywood if I buy the thing ;-)
  • Just purchased Montego Premier FWD, will pick it up later this evening.

    My purchase was based on several factors as most purchases of these prices should be. The decision to go ahead with the Montego was a close one with the Chrysler 300.

    I selected five cars to drive, all 05 models, Maxima SL V6, Camry XLE V6, Accord EX V6, Chrysler 300 Touring V6 and Montego Premier V6. All cars were matched with leather, moonroof and other similar gadgets and whizbangs. Each car was run on exactly the same stretch of road which consisted of several S curves along with a section of very potholed area in the straight away and continuing into a about a 130 degree curve then going into a brand new paved section of winding hills and curves in the North Carolina countryside.

    The Camry had the best ride quality with great handling, Accord had the best Motor and tightest handling but fell way short on interior noise and steering feedback when connecting with the pot holed asphalt. Maxima was about the same as the Accord on handling and powerful engine and was better in the pot holed area. 300 and Montego handled the potholes about the same as the Camry, very controlled and smooth, but of course for their size/weight did lean a little in the curves if pushed too much. The Montego could benefit from another 25 to 50 HP in the areas of the winding uphill section but was surprisingly agile and quick in these sections of road.

    In conclusion my wife and myself selected the Montego because the Camry, Accord and Maxima suddenly seemed just too darn small. All cars were about three thousand dollars difference between them all. I think the 300 is slightly more comfortable because of the wider flat drivers floor area.(I'm 6'-3") It also had a slightly noticeable more powerful engine but drew bad reviews from the bride because of rear blind spots at 70 mph down the interstate. The Montego's six speed tanny seems geared to take advantage of the lack of horsepower from the Merc. Also ablout the 300 comparison, what can only be described as a cheap feeling interior package. The leather on all of the other cars tested were very nice compared to the "Pleather" look and feel of the 300. Also at this price range the base 300 touring did not have many gadgets and almost no whizbangs compared to the Montego Premier. You have to go up to the 34K Hemi to get the Premium Leather in the 300. While I really like the Gangsta Mobile's looks right now, I'm thinking I'm not sure if I could look at that front end every day for the next six years without eventually going mad.

    My only hope is that this new Ford/Mercury/Volvo entry will be a comfortable, reliable work driver and have parts that will last for at least 100k or I'll be back on the Toyota/Honda Wagon and may never return to another American car again.

    Will update here later.
  • Regarding 6yearoldpassat's observations.. I own a five year old Passat. Interesting how opinions can vary. I see a big difference in interior quality.

    First, The interior of the five hundred contains more plastic. The door panels are all plastic vs the Fabric on a Passat, and most other cars in this class.

    Second, the plastic appears cheaper on the five hundred. There are at least three things that make it so. It is Harder, has that smooth shiny look and is more flimsy. Take a close look at the pop up compartment in the dash or the air registers.

    Third, The switches. Notice how the five hundred lacks the look, tactile feel, and "soundness" compared to those on the Passat.

    The Five hundred has some very admirable qualities. I like the size, handling, engine/tranny performance.. But I agree with the majority that it leaves much to be desired in interior quality.
  • I have read that the 500/freestyle have softer plastic than Passat or Accord, but it is has too much SHINE.

    This give the appearance that it is harder. But owners have stated that much of the plastic is actually very soft to the touch.

    Any owners care to comment? Perhaps the lighter interior color will shine less than a dark color.
  • I got a chance to drive around a five hundred last week and thought to that its plastic was fairly soft. Its not really shiny as in you cant see the light reflecting off of it, and when you put your finger on the plastic you can press in the plastic. It has a nice touch to it. Everything seems very tight fitting. When I slammed the door you get a nice THUD sound. When youre driving it you feel like youre protected and above everyone else (the command seating).

    Back to the plastic for a second though its not ultra-soft, and its not pontiac type plastic. Its resides on a softness scale of 1-10 a 7.5. It could definately use some improvement, but for now its great. I love it.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Maybe someone slobbered too much Armor-All on a show car sample. That stuff makes any plastic shine a lot!

    I really don't get too excited about having soft touch plastics all over as they can more easily get cut and gouged. They get brittle with age, as well as the plasticizers bleed out. As long as all the pieces fit together well, are not flimsy and all the switches are solid, reliable and ergonomically designed, and none of the interior bits develop squeeks and rattles, I am happy. Some of the reasons people nitpick interiors seem to me ridiculous. As was referred to before, all interiors these days are plastic, get used to it. Real metal interiors began fading out in the sixties-over 40 years ago!

    Worse in my opinion are fake wood and fake metal tops the list. If it ain't real, don't try to fool me with fake luxury. Shiny metallic dash pieces that reflect sun are a detraction in my opinion. I would much rather have the money built into the engine, transmission, suspension and brakes, and few can fault Ford in these areas with the Five Hundred.
  • The soft plastic in the Limited Five Hundred feel pretty soft to me. Does the SE or SEL have the same or the SE and SEL have the cheap hard plastic on?
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