CHICAGO - Ford Motor Co. hopes to lure baby boomers with a tall, all-wheel-drive sedan that traces its origin to Volvo.
The 2005 Five Hundred is the Ford brand's new flagship. It's a mid-sized car with European-inspired handling and interior design.
To woo SUV enthusiasts, the vehicle offers an optional Haldex awd system from the Volvo XC90. The Five Hundred's front seat is 4 inches higher than that of a Taurus.
The Five Hundred and the front-drive 2006 Ford Fusion sedan will replace the Taurus.
The Five Hundred is based on Volvo's fwd P2 vehicle architecture, modified to cut cost.
The architecture is used in the Volvo S80 and XC90.
The architecture was re-engineered for the 2005 Ford Freestyle sport wagon.
The Five Hundred and the 2005 Mercury Montego sedans were added as derivatives, said Ray Nicosia, vehicle engineering manager, at a media event here.
Ford calls its version of the architecture D3. For the Ford and Mercury vehicles, "we needed to lessen the cost. We couldn't copy Volvo or use all Volvo components," Nicosia said.
For example, the rear suspension cradle is nearly identical to Volvo's. But the Ford uses steel while the Volvo uses costlier cast aluminum.
The Five Hundred is longer and wider than Volvo sedans. But the size adds weight - the base Five Hundred is 337 pounds heavier than the 2005 Taurus SE sedan.