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Ford Five Hundred/Mercury Montego



  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Um, the Chevy Tahoe is hardly the darling of the large SUV class. In fact, that model and the Expedition both duked it out for last place in Car and Driver's most recent comparison test, with few points separating the two.

    Another Ford that has done very well because it is a strong contender is the Escape. Upon introduction in 2001, it won a C/D comparison test of 10 small utes, and just this month (the October issue) of CR shows the Escape finishing near the top of its class 5th of 16 tested models.

    So again, I feel that when Ford produces a good vehicle, its recognized....

    IMO, the Five Hundred is not competiting with 4 cylinder Camry and Accords. Even so, those models hit 60 in the high 8s or low 9s (though the new Camry 5 speed auto 4 cylinder hasnt been tested yet), while returning EPA ratings of 24/34 with the automatic... which the Five Hundred isnt going to touch.

  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    Side and curtain air bags are available for the Camry.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Ford is the only automaker to provide roll-over protection with its side curtain airbags (volvo might also have this).

    Using cold air nitrogen inflaters with a tilt sensor, the side curtain can deploy in a roll over event BEFORE IMPACT!!!. the bags will remain inflated for up to 6secs to allow for multiple roll overs.

    Also, the people who buy these cars aren't going to care about 0 to 60 times. They will be interested in "does it feel peppy," "Does my family fit", "will my neighbors/co-workers laugh at it, or be impressed," "Will it be reliable," "Can I afford the payments".

    What annoys me about auto journalists is when the evaluate a vehicle in a way that doesn't reflect their use. If you really want to evaluate a family car, then i think you have to put a family into it and take it on a family outing, not just take it to the track and attach a fifth wheel and see if you can leave stripes.

    I have yet to see an article about the 2004 F-150 that actually evaluates it as a truck used to do work, tow, and haul things. So when i read an article in an auto mag about anything other than a sports car, I tend to take it with a grain of salt.

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    have yet to see an article about the 2004 F-150 that actually evaluates it as a truck used to do work, tow, and haul things.

    Well since about 98% of what I see on the lots are crew cab, leather wrapped, dvd equipped driveway queens...I'm not suprised the popular mags are not evaluating their work capabilities.
  • I am in the market next year for a 4 door (Accord, Maxima, etc) and this car has been on the radar.

    I currently have a ford taurus that has a auto tranny give out at 80K. I love fords, but this is my 4th ford that has had auto tranny issues. Apparently, I'm not the only one (as my ford dealership keeps plenty of auto trannys in stock because of this).

    I am weary to put this car on my list because of the mechanical issues ford suffers from.

    I know that this ford has lots of Volvo in it, but can someone say what parts are ford and what is volvo? I know the duratec is ford...what about the tranny? Suspension?

    The interior is not an issue, as you can see what ford vehicles they took the parts from.

    By the way, speaking of interior, who else is not impressed by the fact that ford pasted in a square radio unit into an otherwise curved front dash? You think they would have hid the generic ford radio shape when putting it in the 500. Looks out of place.

  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    The 6-speed automatic is made by a respected supplier based in Japan, and the CVT by Ford (developed with ZF). Honda has had many problems with automatics, GM has had many problems (the 4L60E in my '96 Impala SS blew up twice in 110,000 miles, and I never ran the car down a drag stip, just drove it for work, mostly on freeways). After many years of bad automatics from many vendors, the latest automatics all seem to finally be reasonably reliable. Someone who is really worried can buy an extended warranty, although I would rather invest the money and still have it if it is not needed.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    " but this is my 4th ford that has had auto tranny issues."

    Which Ford models have you had tranny issues with?
    The one for the 500 is from Aisin AW, which is 48% owned by Toyota. The CVT was a joint venture project with ZF, later spearheaded by Ford. I've had 9 Ford's all into the 80-110K mark, and no issue. Granted, they have never been FWD vehicles... And I'm not a gentle driver, and believe on redlining from the first street I drive off from, heh...

    You shouldn't recognize that many Ford details inside the cabin. The radio unit is the new unit being used in the F-150 which is very simply to use, not at all the roundy units found on the Taurus'. The window switches are not at all what you would find on typical Fords, more european than Ford. Climate control system different from Ford's typical units if it's the auto system. The manual variety is really the only item that might remind you of typical Ford units.

    Shiftgate lettering, instrumentation, etc. are different from most Ford units you might be used to. Yes the Duratec is Ford, as many other components within the vehicle. Waterpumps, starters, etc. might differ from Taurus' unit, only because they are much beefier or higher quality. But all parts will be easily available in the future, if need be.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    You are certainly correct for the recent past, but several years ago, for several years, C/D continued to call the Tahoe "the standard by which all full sized SUVs are measured", despite its antiquated architecture. Used to baffle me...
    At first, it was "the Expedition has quirky steering". Ok, Ford tightened up the steering, (which I didn't like), then it was, "The Tahoe rides smoother". And, that's makes it a more competent SUV? Then, it was, "The Expedition feels sluggish".

    I had a Navigator, my business partner had the same year Tahoe. We compared them all the time. The Navigator, trim levels aside, was more trucky, but clearly better engineered in our opinions. It just seemed the mags never gave Ford a break. That's all I was saying, and it was largely based on this experience.
  • I had two Tauruses. (Tauri?) One was a 1987 and one is a 1996 (which I'm driving right now because my Accord is in the shop). The '87 was lousy, but I thought the '96 was a great car... until I got an Accord. Driving my Taurus has been making me crazy, because it is so uncomfortable compared to the Accord. The Accord is a bit smaller, but it is still far more comfortable and is put together much better than the Taurus. I feel much safer in the Accord and I feel like I have far more control of the car. You can make the argument that it's not fair to compare a '96 Taurus to an '04 Accord, but let's face it: the Taurus is essentially the same car in was in '96 except for some square headlights and radio controls and the 500 doesn't look to me like a revolutionary upgrade from the Taurus. I was very seriously considering buying a 500, but I'm very glad I got an Accord instead. It's a shame, because I really thought the 500 was going to be a revolutionary car. But the lack of engine power, options, and lukewarm reviews suggest otherwise.
  • The CVT joint venture between ZF transmissions & Ford ended in March of 2004 with Ford buying out the 51% owned by ZF. The CVT became a 100% Ford product with outsourcing of parts. This occurred before the summer 2004 production of the Five Hundred/Montego/Freestyle.
    ZF Lemforder in a continued relationship with Ford supplies the front and rear axle chassis systems on the Five Hundred/Montego and the Freestyle.
    ZF maintains a 100,000 square-foot facility at the Ford Chicago Mfg. Campus half a mile east of the Chicago assembly plant.
    Others in the campus are:
    Lear Corp., makes the headliners;
    Tower Automotive, stampings;
    Visteon, instrument panels, bolsters, HVAC components and fuel tanks;
    SY Systems Technologies, wiring;
    Summit Polymers Inc., console (injected plastics);
    Plastech, injected and blow molded plastics;
    Brose, door components;
    TDS Automotive, sequencing and automotive assembly;
    Ford Parts Depot, which moved from its former location in Melrose Park,Ill.
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    zhelder: it seems that what you are really saying is that none of the Five Hundred's advantages over the Accord appeal to you. Others may find that one or more of the features the Accord lacks are more significant - the elevated and more chair-like seating position, the large back seat, the more formal looks, the huge trunk, and/or the AWD. The Five Hundred is a radically better car than the Taurus in areas such as handling, braking, safety, size, and looks. Also, if you want side & curtain air bags on a two door Accord, you are forced to buy the sunroof, making it impossible for me to fit without leaning the seat back to the extreme thump-thump idiot position.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Side Curtain Airbags are STANDARD across the Accord 2005 model line, so Honda has apparently made your criticism invalid (but whose comparing an Accord 2 door to a Five Hundred anyway?).

    nvbanker- I guess we'll agree to disagree. In my opinion, the Fords that merit accolades get them (Focus, Escape), and the new Mustang has gotten quite a buzz as well. The Expedition deserves to be panned, and it is, just like the laughably orchestrated Freestar (did they really think it'd move without 5 grand under the seats... guess not). Your sweeping statement that the mags rag on Ford was, as you said, based on one observation of a Navigator vs. Tahoe.

  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    As for Ford auto trans, many models require fluid changes at 30k intervals. Failure to do the change is deadly as the fluid actually breaks down. (one of the reasons why its scary to buy a used car.).

    That said, the 6 speed is a "sealed for life" unit require a fluid change at 150k...

    The CVT requires a fluid change at 60k. I'm sure that in 6 years, we'll start hearing from Peeps how the CVT is junk... when in reality the maintenance wasn't done.

  • Someone asked about which fords I had problems with...

    My current ford is a 99 taurus se...bad transmission at 80K.

    My father-in-law has a ford ranger (95?), bad transmission...replaced by week later THAT transmission went bad, replaced again.

    Also owned an escort (cheap car) and two others (forgot the model type...4 door built with Mazda...tracer?).

    All had some kind of transmission problem and are no longer owned by us (except the taurus, which is sitting in the driveway collecting dust (can't afford a new transmission).

    It's funny, my dodge avenger (hance the screen name) has been my most reliable car. Why ford had to build a transmission that needs fluid changes every other year is beyond me. My avenger needed a tranny fluid change at 60K, and my new suzuki XL-7 only needs to be inspected in the first 100K (and it's 4wd!).

    Regarding the interior, looking at the pictures, the radio is straight out of the mustang (2005) and the redesigned f150. The wagon version of the 500 (freestyle) is easier to see the parts-bin items (A/C vents, radio, gauges, etc). Not that it's a bad thing, as it would be stupid for ford to remake items like gauges they can use in other vehicles.

    Regarding the transmission choices, it's a hard decision. CVT's are new technology, and will need the bugs worked out. New 5 and 6 speed transmissions would be great, if they don't do what Nissan has done to save money...they reduced the fludid capacity of the auto trannys from 6 quarts to 2 (resulting in many transmission issues with 2004 vehicles. Maybe this is the reason for the recent Honda auto tranny problems as well.

  • my main beef with the interior is that for just tacked on the f150 radio without taking 15 minutes to design a front plate that hid this fact. Just look at the mazda 6 integrated radio and the 500 radio.

    I still like the design of the interior. In fact, I like the interior better than the exterior. You can see the volvo door pulls in the interior (people are already talking about it at

    Getting back to my origional question of reliability, do you think this vehicle will have electrical problems that the s80 has had over the last couple years. Not sure if using the volvo chassis carried over any of the electrical system.

    Also, thanks for the transmission update...if I consider the 500, i'll stay away from the cvt, as it will be a ford item.

  • S-Y Systems Technologies, headquartered in Dearborn Mi. with a 38,400 sq. ft. facility at the Ford Chicago Campus are the engineers and designers of the electrical distribution systems for the Five Hundred/Montego/Freestyle. I don't know, but I don't believe there is any connection with Volvo.
  • nedc2nedc2 Posts: 192
    "my main beef with the interior is that for just tacked on the f150 radio without taking 15 minutes to design a front plate that hid this fact. Just look at the mazda 6 integrated radio and the 500 radio."

    I've noticed on the Mazda boards there have been complaints about the way they integrated radio controls into the centre stack. It makes it more difficult to replace the unit with an aftermarket model, you're stuck with what you can get from your Mazda dealer. I like the look of the Mazda centre stack, and had been considering a Mazda 6 hatchback. but I really like the more conservative style of the Five Hundred better, and the seting position is world better in the Ford, the Mazda has good seats and adequate legroom front and back, better than the new Accord in spite of the numbers, but it still sits too low for liking, a pain if you're getiing in and out of the car alot during the day.

    I have no idea about the electrical system, I would imagine it's new to the Five Hundred/Montego/Freestyle as they're built in different palnts, use different engines, have different option, etc. I'm also not familiar with elictrical probems on the current S80.

    As for the transmisions, I've never had any transmission problems, of a regular nature, on any Ford I've owned over the past 30 years not with manuals or automatics, not with FWD or RWD. I'm not familiar with any problems from friends or family. The biggest series of transmission problems with any Detroit vehicle I recall as in the 80s with some GM models. The problem there IIRC seemed to be that someone decided to uprate a compact car trans. for use in midsize cars in order to save some money. Bad move. I really speak to much about the CVT other than it is considerably different in design from the one GM used in the Vue, it uses the same chain design that Audi uses, and is also very similar to the model in the Nissan Murano, where they've apparently been quite reliable. Ford has also been building a lighter duty version of their CVT in Batavia Ohio for close to a year for use in the European Focus C-MAX with a turbodiesel, and will be expanding that to the new Focus next year, I haven't heard of any problems with those either.
    My main concern about the CVT is as a stockholder; they may have capacity issues with it, it's a simpler design than a conventional automatic but needs special care in assembly, so they've been very slow to ramp up production. If they have to buy too many units from Aisin, or others it'll hurt them.
  • that most people who buy the taurus and soon, the 500, are not auto nuts who go over manual with a fine toothed comb. The taurus was my wife's car, and I had assumed that the tranny was sealed as was my 95 avenger. You would have figured "heck, it's a 2000, it SHOULD be sealed, right?". Nope, got to juck the car up every other year and change the tranny fluid.

    Oh well, live and learn. Now I'm so paranoid I don't believe Suzuki's manual when it says only to inspect the fluid for the first 100K.

    Regarding the radio, I dont like the mazda 6 radio being integrated either. I was just hoping they would have made a false front to hide the unit behind the center stack. You could still replace the radio this way if you want, but give it an integrated look.

  • fdcapt2fdcapt2 Posts: 122
    Even though I've had Ford/Mercury cars with the Audiophile radios, I can't find any info on the ones being used this year. Does anyone know the output and the power of the radio, speakers and woofer?? My Acura TL has a Bose system that is amazing!!! I want to know how different these 2 systems are. Also, I picked up the brochures for the 500 and Montego. The Montego Premier has only 2?? options. The safety package and the moon roof, I think. The 500 brochure talks about how good the Duratec 3.0 is. It makes me wonder if they are second guessing themselves for using this engine. I was able to sit in a 500 Limited, and to put it plainly, very nice ! The interior was really nice and well put together. All this car really needs is a nice 427 up front.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    The Duratec 3.0 is an excellent engine - no apologies needed for using it. It's thoroughly up to date, and very reliable and smooth running.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    It's an extremely reliable engine, so best to stick to something proven. It'll be awhile before the 3.5L is phased in when the next redesign (front fascia to look like the Fusions) comes in, so this is what there is to work with till then.
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    By the time the Motorweek test drive airs on the 17th, most of the October car magazine should be on the racks, so we will soon have much more data to discuss. From my short test drive and review of the specifications, I'll bet the braking distances are very good.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Braking should post excellent numbers, and with none of the major nose-drive or drama associated with most panic stops.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    While I don't know the exact specs for the stereo of the 500, I'm quite sure it will be more than good, since most Ford systems are not bad, even in my current '02 Windstar with just 4 speakers.

    What bothers me, is the layout of the stereo controls. True, it's the same as the F-150, and similar to the new Freestar, Focus, and some other Ford models. They all share on design flaw: Small buttons (especially the AM/FM CD controls). I like large, clear labeled & illuminated controls. There are many good examples, but one I like very much is Toyota Solara's system (2004-2005). Simple, clean, large typefaces, is all I need. - - - - 3460&mime=JPG

    Or click here, and enlarge the last photo.

    Compared to this (enlarge to have a better view): ERIOR&num=5
  • fdcapt2fdcapt2 Posts: 122
    Once again, does anyone know anything about the 500/Montego sound system? In the past I've had the Mach audio system, and also JBL audio. I'd like to see how close they are to the Bose system in my Acura TL. I'm hoping they aren't to different. If these cars are as quiet as they say, it'll be nice to listen to the radio without hearing all sorts of noises.
  • Up until now I thought I was in the market for a Freestyle because of the versatility of a wagon, however from what I've heard so far it has less legroom in the 2nd row than the 500 and has a less fine or shall we say more "trucky" interior. The only problem is that I frequently carry Kayaks on my Taurus wagon roof rack. Will there be a roof rack available for the 500 that is capable if carrying Kayaks? Are these type of "clip on" roof racks difficult to hook/unhook, and do they damage the rubber seals on the car? Just thought I'd ask in case anyone has any knowledge/experience.
  • nedc2nedc2 Posts: 192
    As to roof racks, that's up to tha rack manufacturers, e.g. Yakima, Thule, etc. and whether they think that there'sa market for racks on this car. I hope they offer them, but it could take months even to find out.

    I personally didn't notice any shortage of legroom in the 2nd row of the Freestyle, and I'm over 6'2" and have 34" + inseam and wear size 12 boots. The specs do show the Freestyle as having 1.1" less legroom than the Five Hundred, but that's 40.2" v. 41.3", very generous anyway. I really didn't notice any difference in interior quality between the two vehicles, they are different in style, and the Freestyle is more "trucky" but hardly spartan. The heavily textured faux carbon fibre dash trim on the Freeestyle SE and SEL is notably better than that on the Five Hundred SE where it's flat,virtually identical to the stuff on the Mazda 6. Optioning is different too, auto climate control is only standard on the Freestyle Limited.
    Drive both before putting in an order, the Freestyle is noticably heavier, and slower off the line, though not that slow,and costs quite a bit more. BTW the roof of the Freestyle is at least 6" higher than your Taurus, though still more convenient than most SUVS or minivans.
This discussion has been closed.