The Ford Five Hundred drops a trim line for 2007: the SE base line of 2006 has been discontinued, leaving the SEL and Limited. Seat-mounted side airbags and curtain airbags are standard on all models (late availability); a six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all front-wheel drive models; and SIRIUS satellite radio is now standard (late availability).

New available options include a chrome package with 18-inch chrome-clad wheels and chrome mesh grille, and a navigation system and heated seats are available on SEL models. New exterior colours are Alloy Metallic and Dune Pearl Metallic.

Both Five Hundred models use a 3.0-litre Duratec V6 engine; FWD models use a six-speed automatic transmission, while the optional all-wheel drive comes with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The all-wheel drive system automatically delivers power to all four wheels, and features self-levelling shocks.

SEL models include 17-inch aluminum wheels, air conditioning, power mirrors, message centre with compass, wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls, auto-dimming rearview mirror, CD stereo, leather-wrapped wheel, six-way power driver’s seat, two-way power passenger seat with fold-down feature, woodgrain trim and fixed rear-seat head restraints.

Limited models add 18-inch bright aluminum wheels, leather interior, automatic headlamps, fog lamps, perimeter alarm, heated mirrors with memory and puddle lamps, reverse sending system, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable pedals with memory, garage door opener, Audiophile six-CD/MP3 stereo with subwoofer, four-way power passenger fold-down seat, eight-way power driver’s seat with memory, heated seats, and adjustable rear-seat head restraints.

Placed between the Fusion and the Grand Marquis, the Five Hundred rides on a platform similar to that of the Volvo S80, which it shares with the Ford Freestyle. The Five Hundred features SUV-like upright seating, wide doors, a tall roofline, considerable rear legroom, numerous storage cubbies, fold-flat seats and a huge trunk that Ford says is the largest currently offered on any sedan.

It hasn’t set the world on fire, and deserves to sell better than it does: it’s roomy and comfortable, it’s powerful enough for the job, and it’s intelligently priced. Its tepid styling works against it with many buyers, but it deserves consideration.

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