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Ford Five Hundred/Mercury Montego



  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    From some marketing information, it seems Toyota is trying to place the new Avalon a bit more upmarket. it's mission, (and placement) is similar to the what the Maxima is to the Altima. But price wise (as well as gadgets) is placing it as an Acura TL/Infiniti G35 contender. Granted, this might work well for them since the Camry and previous Avalon were very similar to one another. Which is why in the past few years the Lexus ES300/330 has gone up in price, common sense will dictate it's to make room for the Avalon's pricing.
  • Does anyone have any information on how the Ford 500 (AWD) will perform in snowy conditions and especially on steep grades covered with 4-5 inches of snow?
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    It is just my opinion, but the new Passat should BLOW the Five Hundred away in many respects. Build Quality (current Passat already does that), features (e.g. Airbags), performance (won't be hard to do). The most important factor VW has to get right is reliabilty. They have sworn to improve reliabilty and I hope, for their sake, they do.

    If you read in the trade mags, they almost all say that the new 500 was modeled after the current generation Passat. Which isn't a bad thing in my book.
  • The new passat will have a couple issues to deal with...

    VW means "the peoples car", and they staked out that niche building nice, inexpensive german engineered cars. They are now moving upscale (Toureg/pheatun) in terms of price and features. Unfortunately, they have to overcome the "people's car" brand association. Hard to do when your car brand name means exactly that.

    I'm sure the Passat will surpass both the design and performance of the 500. It will have 2 engine choices (unlike the 500), and a more bangle-inspired design (so far on the vortex, there's 15 pages of replies to the Jetta design - most negative).

    And yes, the 500 is priced as an entry level car, with the option to go up in price and features. There will be some overlap and cross shopping on the higher end 500 and the lower passat. Then it will be an under-engined 500 with plenty of goodies versus the entry level passat (cloth, 2.0t, manual tranny). Apples to oranges, different target audience.

    And to answer the above question, of course the 500 looks like the passat, Ford hired VW's head designer.

    VW will need to outgrow it's namesake before it can be viewed as a luxury brand. And they will HAVE to improve reliability (or preceived reliability).
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    A current Avalon costs about $2,500 more than the loaded Montego (everything but the sunroof) I am considering. The current Avalon can go higher with things not available on the Montego, such as stability control. The new Avalon will have many features not available on the Five Hundred / Montego, but I doubt that the price of similarily equipped vehicles will be much different than now - a few thousand higher.

    As for Ford, it seems that they really are broke (out of money), as they did not even bother to offer many things on their brand new models which their competitors offer, and which people would be willing to buy (stability control, heated & cooled seats, dimming exterior mirrors, a more powerful engine, navigation, and so forth).
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Actually, since its introduction in its most recent version, the Lexus ES has had a very modest price increase while stepping up the standard equipment. Velour used to be the standard fabric, but world-class LS-grade (Lexus, not Lincoln, lol) leather is now the standard.

    The base price including MSRP of the 2002 ES300 (with no leather, smaller V6, 16 inch wheels) was $32,080.

    The base price including MSRP of the 2005 ES330 is $32,675.

    (Given the upgrades, I hardly feel $595 is significant. A 1.8% is hardly ahead of the very mild inflation the US has seen in three year's time.)
    One thing very interesting is that despite the new Avalon's significant power (280 hp and 260 foot pounds), and that it will lack a sixth ratio that the Five Hundred has, Toyota is estimating its MPG to be 22/30, from the leaked literature that has been posted on the Future Vehicles forum.
    Even if it comes in at 20/28, I'd take it as a happier compromise than the Ford powertrain, in terms of power and MPG portfolio.

    Personally, I do think it is a mis step for Toyota to not offer AWD, but perhaps this will be one point of differentiation for the Avalon and the lower strata Lexus models.

    Given Toyota's most recent introductions, I think the line will be held on pricing for similarly equipped iterations of the new vehicle. An XL with moderate equipment for $27,000 seems very reasonable. Its just that there will be 2 new trim lines (Touring and Limited) and many new options that will likely push the car, IMO, to $38,000 fully loaded. And likely worth every penny. The vehicle's interior looks exquisite.

  • nedc2nedc2 Posts: 192
    It looks like Ford was not so much "out of money" by not offering nav. cooled seats, etc. but rather than that they were rally trying to keep the top end price below $30K. There are bufget and scheduling issues on the power train side to be sure, but all those other goodies are available from the Ford parts bin now.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    You don't want to load up the 500 with too many toys just yet, when Lincoln will have it's own version....
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    How can "don't load it up now" be anything more than "don't make money now." Why not sell things people would buy? Or, do they really think that enough of us will pay $15,000 more for a Five Hundred / Montego just to have a Lincoln instead of a Ford or Mercury badge? If so, that is an insult to buyers. Yes, there will be some who will fall for it, but enough?

    I have almost overcome my resistance to the lack of power, and the tight leg/foot space (crosswise) of the Ford products. I just looked at a Montego Premier AWD in French Silk with the two tone pebble interior on Sunday, but couldn't drive it, since it was in the showroom. It is a very attractive car.

    I have known that the new Avalon was coming and would probably be at the January auto shows, but did not expect it to be much more than different front, rear, and instrument panel designs on a current Camry. Instead, it is full of significant technologies and features, and has a downright beautiful interior. It will be out just when I am buying (January / February), and I will definitely not buy a Montego before driving the Avalon.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Thats right- the Avalon redesign is a full makeover, with the switch from the previous Camry platform (92-01) to the current. The Avalon right now, like most 5 year old designs, is a decent car, but eclipsed by the competition at the price.

    Glad Toyota decided to make side curtains and airbags standard on all trim levels. I would have at least thought Ford would have gone this route with the Montego.

  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    This is a perfect example of how someone just makes assumptions about quality without the facts.

    For instance, the 2002 Passat is know for its engine problems, including ignition coil failure and mass air flow sensor problems, and water pump failure. amp;src=vip#Engi

    MSN gives the same overall reliablity rating for the 2002 Ford Taurus which is known for fuel pump problems and DPFE sensor failure.

    THEN there is the oil sludge problem.
    here is an August 04 article from autoweek titled: Oil sludge woes plague VW; automaker to pay for engine repairs, extend warranties

    First you had car companies requiring you to put PREMIUM gas in your family hauler. Now VW goes one step further and makes you use FULL SYENTHETIC oil. Any one know what a dealer charges for a Passat Oil Change?

    ALL FORD CARS and TRUCKS (excepting maybe the T-Bird and the GT) are designed to use 87 octane gas. THIS includes the new Mustang GT!

    FORDS also use a syenthetic BLEND motor oil (5w-20).

    My dealership will change the oil and rotate the tires for under $40.00.

    Anyway, if Ford has a problem, its that in the past, it let its reputation get tarnished and it has failed to get its quality message out.

    FORD never gets the credit it deserves.
    For instance, NOT only did FORD launch a brand new pick-up truck with redesigned engines and transmissions, it raised Initial Quality over the old model which was already highest in its class!

    So I say if your idea of quality is paying $60.00 or more for an oil change then i say ENJOY.

  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    I dont find the plastics to be shiny as much as they have a very rough grain these seems to be a European thing but I don't like it.

    I like a smoother grain over all like in my 02 Mazda Protege and 97 Escort wagon.

    We just got in a Freestyle Limited Black with Black interior. This is a sharp car.

    I still say that the value of the FIVE HUNDRED is greatest at the lower trim levels. An SEL FWD has a base sticker of $24,995.00. With dealer discount, you can still get Leather and a moon roof and be UNDER 25k

    AND you know a rebate HAS to be in the future. I think a 2k rebate on these cars would totally seal the fate on the competition...

    As for comparing the FIVE HUNDRED AWD to front or rear drive cars this really isn't fair.

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    "AND you know a rebate HAS to be in the future. I think a 2k rebate on these cars would totally seal the fate on the competition..."

    More like seal the fate on drastically reduced profits for the vehicle line and its extensions, given that these brand new models will be around for at least 5 years largely unchanged save the new engine. Not to mention a negative impact on resale/perceived value.

    The Five Hundred seems a very good car. But in 2004, all newly introduced cars are very good. IMO, Ford was very smart to offer AWD, as it can serve as a point of differentation, especially given the value equation. Still... the car car suffers from several "misses"... optional equipment, power, and style among them. But if carrying 8 golf bags is your dream....

    For me, the Five Hundred shows that Ford is in the right direction, they just need to progress down the path. Hopefully that will occur with coming models such as the Fusion and Zephyr. The Mustang looks tremendous as well. But the Five Hundred class leading? No, not quite.

  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    I do not think Ford even requires a semisynthetic oil, unless they changed something in their specs since I bought my 2000 Taurus SES Duratec.

    I use standard 5W30 of any brand name that is on sale and buy OEM Motorcraft filters, usually less than $4.00 each(not from the dealer, of course, but from a discount auto parts store). I usually buy my oil with rebates for $.59 a quart or less. Total cost for changing my own oil is about $8 or less, and I have the convenience of scheduling it myself, right in my own driveway.

    Since it is so cheap to do myself, I do change oil often, at about 3000 miles or so.

    I agree, VW's are not a model of reliability, and they usually are overpriced as well, for what you get.

    Incidently, the DPFE sensor is subject to an extended warranty on my Taurus and I have had no fuel pump problems, or for that matter, much of any other issues except some minor things that were covered under warranty. So, in 42K of miles to date, no non-routine maintenance costs at all.
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    Yes, the Five Hundred comes with a semisynthetic oil. Continued usage is neither recommended nor required. Go figure. And yes, Ford has changed MANY things since a 2000 Taurus.

    Meanwhile, a couple of ouches:

    On the other hand, the CVT is NOT slow to shift when cold. It doesn't shift at all while in motion. Silly reviewers!

    The other ouch:
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    The CVT does shift in the sense that it changes ratios very often and through a very wide range. The mechanism and electronics must impose some sort of minimum step size on the shifts / ratio changes.

    The best seating position for me - 6'1", 195, 34" inseam - is to lower the back / raise the front of the seat bottom cushion. It helps keep my right leg from hitting the overly wide and square Montego center console. However since Ford decided to leave out a telescoping steering column, it seems that position leaves my arms straighter than I like. I will need to drive one for a decent amount of time to see if I would be comfortable. What in the world was Ford thinking when they left out something as common as a telescoping steering column? Also, has anyone else noticed the bump in the floor to the left of the dead pedal. To me it is a nuisance - the lump needs to be removed and the dead pedal moved further left.

    I also think that Ford will soon have $1,000 to $2,000 rebates on the cars by the beginning of 2005.
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    I think you will find there is a wheel under that bump.....
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    John: the wheel housing is further forward. This is some sort of bump in the floor. As I mentioned after going to the auto show, the Volvo S80 has the exact same bump and a center console which is just as wide and square and the Ford-branded cars. Both would be less of a problem with a telescoping steering wheel. The cnter console of the Freestyle is narrower and tapers, so is less of a problem.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    The "bump" is structural and there for a good reason.... It protects your leg on severe frontal impacts, and prevents the wheel itself from entering the cabin.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I was at a Ford dealership servicing my Windstar, and looked around on the new cars in the showroom, and tried out the Five Hundred between them.

    The dealer disconnect the battery of all vehicles in the showroom so the battery should not lost its life while customers are trying out all the power features. Not a wise thing, IMO. But anyway, let me go to the point.

    Of course I also wanted to look at the big trunk, but it was closed. I tried to open it, but THE ONLY way to open the trunk is to push a power button on the dash, and the trunk pops open, Since the battery was shut off, I wasn't able to open the trunk.

    I asked one of the salesman if he could open it for me, so he took the keys and started looking around to find out where to put the key into. Of course, he did not find any since there isn't any. He tried with the remote, but no battery no remote.

    So he brought jumper cables, jump started the car, and then pushed the button on the remote, and voila, it finally opened up.

    what do you think about that? It's a big mistake from Ford. Once you drain your battery, you can't open your trunk, until you jump start your 500. And most people carry their jumper cables in the trunk!

    I wonder why Ford did it?


    About the design of the 500 - I think it's really nice and not bland. The only problem is it looks like the Passat, so what? It may be boring, but not bland! The Passat was always rated as one of the most beautiful sedans! The 500 is fur sure much more stylish, and more attractive than the Camry, Avalon or Accord! And almost as good as Nissan Altima!

    Anyway, that's just opinions. To each his own. I myself think that the Chrysler 300 looks very funny - true, it's outstanding, different, but I wouldn't want to own such a car for years to come. Maybe a rental for a few days and that's it. The 500 looks much better, and have much more useful features and better visibility.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Ford's been deleting unnecessary keyholes since 1998 at least. You may not have noticed it, but you may not have had a passenger keyhole on your sedan or coupe since 98. Bout time the trunk lock went away. Frankly, the whole key thing is way out of date in my opinion. It's long past time for the chip to replace the key in my opinion. High line cars already use it. Benz does it, Some GM cars do it already, for Pete's sake. I say, scrap the old fashioned key, go to chips, and yes, you're gonna need power to enter the car. Or a slim jim. Which is the old fashioned way......
  • nedc2nedc2 Posts: 192
    "what do you think about that? It's a big mistake from Ford. Once you drain your battery, you can't open your trunk, until you jump start your 500. And most people carry their jumper cables in the trunk!"

    I suppose you could use your key to open the driver's door and crawl into the trunk after you've dropped the rear seatbacks ;) There is that handy internal emergency release in the trunk.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Actually you might laugh, but I had a friend who drained their battery, and the battery was actually stored INSIDE the trunk. This was on another vehicle, kindly revered for all it's techno gizmo. And I ended up doing just that, entering thru the rear seatback with a flashlight, and using the emergency release handle inside to get it open.

    The thinking behind this is sometimes car alarms can blare for hours and drain the battery, so they still try to make it difficult for someone to break into the vehicle. Which I say, if a theive is willing to wait that long to still the vehicle, just GO Ahead, your welcome to it, you earned it, VOILA!
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...Mercedes has retained the outside latch and key access to the trunk, for precisely this reason.

    When our C is unlocked, the trunk has a separate hand latch that opens the lid, not requiring the key at all. In addition, the valet key can be used to lock out the hand latch, for use in valet parking situations.

    Thus, not ALL "high end" cars are doing away with separate, non-electronic, trunk access. As noted above, there can be a real Catch-22 problem here - most of the things I have to deal with a dead battery problem are in the trunk.
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    I do not want to carry those bulky transmitters in my pocket, and have no use for car alarms. One of the greatest irritations of owning my '02 Mountaineer has been the lack of key locks for the trunk/cargo and the passenger door. If Ford is so poor that they can not make the key locks standard, they should at least offer them as options - I'd pay quite a few hundred dollars for them.
  • fdcapt2fdcapt2 Posts: 122
    After many, many test drives, I have finally made up my mind. I was really worked up waiting for the 500/Montego to hit the showrooms so I could test drive my new Montego. I was really bummed when I finally drove the car of my dreams. Some of you here know my feelings on how much I think Ford screwed up this much anticipated release. I test drove both the 500 and Montego MANY times, in different configurations. There are issues with these cars (no hood struts, mast antenna, no light in the glove box, no light on the lower portion of the doors, the dash bin, the feeling that the engine was working way to hard to haul all the weight, and the cheapness of the interior to name a few), that steered me in other directions. Being a Ford man for over 40 years, I was really expecting much more from cars that were touted as being the saviour of the "Blue Oval". I tested the Infiniti G35, Chrysler 300 Hemi, Nissan Maxima, and a few other cars. When I saw that a loaded Montego Premeir would price out over $30,000, I made up my mind. I will be ordering an '05 Acura TL shortly. I'll be paying a few dollars more then the Montego, but the quality between the 2 isn't even close. I can't figure out how Acura does it, but what you get for the price, and the quality of what you get just amazes me. I hope those of you that have, or will be buying the 500/Montego have nothing but good luck, and many trouble free miles.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Just curious- it is more along the size lines of the Montego than is the TL, and looks to be an outstanding redesign. But the TL is by far the best combination of luxury and sporting precision in the class. That is one outstanding engine. And the dealership experience will likely be a lot better than at the L-M dealers. Plus, you're getting a significantly longer warranty, and stability control, which to me weighs more heavily in everyday driving than AWD. The TL is worth every penny. And at the price, there is not a vehicle that I can think of that bests the value.

    Best of luck!

  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    fdcapt2 - if you are still reading, I hope your TL gives you many miles and years of good service.

    The only real advantage the Five Hundred / Montego has over the many other cars in the same price class is the big trunk, and that is the only reason I am still considering it.

    The AWD option may be considered an advantage by some people who live in places with bad winter climates, but other cars offer it, and front or rear wheel drive with traction control or a limited slip differential, stability control, and good snow tires really make AWD unncessary.

    I initially thought that AWD could also help in situations on dry or wet roads where the front wheels can not handle both steering and driving tasks, but I have owned two FWD cars and had no such problems. The first one I owned was turbo-charged and had a manual transmission, plus unequal length front driveshafts, so it exhibited strong torque steer, but I had no problems handling it, even thinking it was fun to drive ('84 Sunbird).
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    I just remembered that a Ford document on Marketing Strategy and Mix Recommendations for dealers I have seen shows that Ford only thinks and recommends that 16.25 percent of all Five Hundred's be ordered with AWD.
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    But...Ford has already admitted that both Limited and AWD models are far exceeding their sales expectations...What, if anything, that means this early in the model history is a subject for debate.
This discussion has been closed.