Friday, December 09, 2005

ALL NEW AUTOS










Next up is the full sized Ford Five Hundred and the Mercury Montego. These two cars, beign almost identical, will be reviewed as one.

the 500/Montego is based largely on the Volvo S80 platform, and almost everything was left the same. The cost difference from the American to the Sweedish comes in standard fetures, and mostly in terms of safty, and engine proformance. Seeing how these two vehicals are Sweedish at heart, I'll start off with the safty side, and then go on to the rest.

The new 500/Montego come standard with four wheel anti-lock disk breaks, and GenII depowered front airbags. A safty consicious family can also opt for side curtian, and torsoe airbgs as well. If you live in a snowy, or mountianious region, then Ford and Mercury have you covered there as well with an AWD version of either car. (You may remember the comerical with all of the other cars sliding around a slick road while the Ford 500 manuvered around with out losing trackion.) there is also some very innovative engeering coming out of Volvo in the structure of the S80, 500, Montego that give this car full five star governtment crash test ratings.

As far as engine proformance goes, I personally feel it would have been benifical for Ford to have implanted the Volvo 5 cylinder 2.5L Turbocharged, and intercooled engine, in place of the Ford Duratec 3L V6. the Volvo makes about the same horsepower (208, compaired to 203 in the durstec) but the Volvo makes quite a bit more torque (236 compaired to 207 in the Duratec). The extra torque would allow the Ford/Mercury to better compete with other cars in it's class like the Chrysler 300c, with it's massive 3.5L V6, which makes 250 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. The one thing Ford has going for it in this area is that the 500/Montego is much lighter than the Chrysler by about 136 pounds.

As far as style goes, the Ford and Mercury (being the newest kids on the block) has everyone beat. the Honda Accord is almost due for a major face lift, and the Toyta is out right old. The G6 (which barely edges in this class) does not have anywhere near as comanding look, and the Chrysler 300c, although very impressive and comanding with it's gangster look, is dark and depressing from the inside looking out. The Ford/Mercury have a very innovative aproch to getting the driver comfortable, with what they call "commad seating". The dash is actually higher than the seat, but due to a more upright and higher mounting position of the seat it self, the driver feels like he is driving his old Ford Explorer, and not a Ford 500 sedan. The leater seats are refited from the outgoing Tarus/Sable, but feel upscale and firm. This is a very welcome feture, as I own two BMW's and got used to the firm German seats.

Some nice confort fetures in the Ford 500 and the Mercury Montego, are the driver control center, the 8-way power adjustable memory seats, and passanger seats that fold "flat". The driver control center is simple and easy to use, unlike some of the systems found in forgien cars, such as the BMW 5-serise with i-Drive controls on the stearing wheel. The power seat is just as easy to opperate, and has enough different positions to make vertully anybody confortable. The fold flat seats, fold even with the floor of the sapcious trunk (over 20 cu-ft) for extra long, like ladders, grandfather clocks, ski's or whatever you can think of.

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