• Mar 30, 2006
Ford Motor Co., surprised by the popularity of the AWD versions of its Ford Five Hundred, Freestyle, and the Mercury Montego, forecasts sales of such equipped vehicles from automakers to reach 500,000 a year with eighty percent to be crossover vehicles (SUV or CUV). The company has plans to jump on the opportunity.

"When Ford introduced the new AWD vehicles," says Robert Parker, car marketing manager for the Blue Oval, "demand outstripped supply during the initial launch. Customers saw that AWD really provided the best value for the dollar. Based on our experience with those cars, Ford has set about bringing the technology to a wider range of vehicles and expanding the consumers' choices."

The company will be releasing AWD versions of its Fusion/Milan/MKZ (formerly Zephyr) mid-sized sedans by 2007. Ford's foreign subsidiary Volvo offers AWD in most of its lineup while Mazda's Mazdaspeed6 comes standard in AWD. The feature will also be available on the company's upcoming lineup of CUVs.

[Source: Ford]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm sold on AWD- and I live in a state that sees about 2 inches of snow a year.

      The reason I passed on any domestic cars is that none offered AWD. The Fusion would have been a candidate, Mazdaspeed6 wasn't available. Magnum was too big and no manual transmission.

      Any others- Pontiac Vibe, possibly Caliber offer AWD on the less than performance models. Pass.

      2wd cars offer traction control, but there nothing like having 4 tires scrambling for traction.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Do not confuse rear four wheel drive, the one with a center differential with traction adding only clutch pack systems.
      Ford-Haldex 2.0, front wheel drive until you loose traction is the primary way things work here. Sure it can run a predictive program to help prevent front wheel slip, but that isnt' going to work at 75mph on the highway.

      Why bother with this, when most people don't bother with winter tires. See that little snowflake on the side of blizzaks.
      And now that is starting to appear on [REAL] all-season tires.
      http://www.tirerack.com/winter/tech/techpage.jsp?techid=125
      • 8 Years Ago
      #1- The 500 is already FWD, so actual weight penalty comes from adding a rear driveline, which ironically, provides a better weight balance F/R, so more balanced handling.

      Almost every carmaker, except Toyota, Honda and Nissan, offer AWD throughout much of their lineup. MB (all of it's sedans), BMW, Audi (all of it's cars), Subaru (ditto), Volvo, Porsche, Jaguar and others have some AWD models for years. Even the Big Japanese three have begun to offer AWD luxury vehicles.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "AWD sedan probably handles better and burns less fuel than AWD SUVs of similar passenger compartment size, and may be attractive to those looking at SUVs but feeling pinched by rising fuel prices."

      Ford Five Hundred AWD:

      108 ft^3 interior volume
      22 ft^3 cargo volume
      3649 lbs curb weight
      200hp DOHC 24 valve 3.0L V6, 6 speed automatic.
      19 city, 26 highway.

      Honda CR-V AWD:
      103 ft^3 interior space
      34 ft^3 cargo space
      3406 lbs curb weight
      156hp DOHC 24 valve 2.4L I4, 5 speed automatic
      21 city, 25 highway

      So comparable mileage, from a heavier car with a more powerful engine? I'd say your hypothesis checks out in this case.

      However, look at this one:

      Toyota RAV4
      108 ft^3 interior, 36 ft^3 cargo
      3527 lbs curb weight
      269hp, DOHC 24 valve 3.5L V6
      21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway

      In this case, the 500 loses to the Toyota.

      Still, it is at least comparable, and offers a good (if not rocket hot) engine-tranny combo, with a Volvo-sourced safety cage and a lower center of gravity. And, if you compare it to truck-based SUV's, or even unibody SUV's like Jeeps, it still wins by a long shot.

      The real shame is that they couldn't let the Mercury have the "understated" styling and a stronger design statement on the Ford.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hmmm.. I had a 91 Subaru Legacy with AWD, and the Fuel economy between mine and the standard FWD was very very close.
      The FWD only model net 2 MPG better in the city, and 1 on the Hwy with the Manual trans.
      At least with Subaru, they figured out how to make a lightweight and efficient AWD layout without sacrificing alot of space in the "driveline hump".
      AWD improves handling dynamics in every way.
      Better on slippery roads, including snow, ice, rain, sleet, mud.
      Not to mention gravel.
      Its not "just" for snow states.
      There is a definate place for AWD, and I feel it should be standard equipment or at least available in more vehicles.
      4wd vehicles are everywhere, but some would rather have the ease of use with a simple AWD system.
      If you want to compare weights with a conventional Partime or Fulltime 4wd, then you can bitch about gas mileage and excessive weight because they are far more complex, expensive, and less reliable than a simple AWD.
      Now, for true off roading, AWD isnt good because there is no low speed crawling gear to choose, nor locking differentials, but that may change in the next few years.
      For most intents and purposes, 95% of the population never takes their 4WD rigs off road anyway.
      So, AWD has my vote 100%.
      Ford shouldnt be suprised that people are buying them.
      Subaru has been doing it for years.

      • 8 Years Ago
      So much for favorable gas mileage or fine riding autos. The additional weight of a front axle makes for a rougher ride as well as hindering perfomance. Though, if people were stepping out of Ford SUVs to transition to sedans - that would be a step in the right perfomance direction.

      http://www.automobilesdeluxe.blogspot.com
      • 8 Years Ago
      did you posters ever notice that most ALL cars, even front drives have transmission humps running through the center? My '90 corolla had one, don't know why, maybe the electricals and exhaust piping ran down the center toward the back. You would think that for a front drive car the rear seat floor would be flat all the way across.
      • 8 Years Ago
      While a lot of people may not want or need it, it's great that Ford is at least providing the option to those who do. They may burn more fuel than 2WD versions in some cases, but an AWD sedan probably handles better and burns less fuel than AWD SUVs of similar passenger compartment size, and may be attractive to those looking at SUVs but feeling pinched by rising fuel prices.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This didn't indicate that Ford will be only making AWD vehicles.... It did say and I know for fact that Ford will be offering AWD as an option in more of its vehicles lines. You will still be able to have Front or Rear wheel drive in most vehicles.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #17 -

      I'm not going to get into a debate about FWD or RWD, but you are absolutely wrong. You, and most enthusiasts don't want FWD. But you are far and away in a minority. FWD is cheaper and better in low traction situations - or at least people have that perception. These are much more important to 90% of car buyers than the advantages of RWD handling.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Jay: Agree that if some people buy the Ford 500 AWD instead of a box-monster SUV, it's an improvement.

      Sometimes when I see cell phone Sallies in their huge SUVs in the city, I wish that gas would rise to $10 per gallon and squeeze these weapons off the roads.

      For people who need SUVs, they're OK. But so many SUVs and trucks don't seem to be doing much of anything other than taking up space and looking butch. If the owners of those things are moaning about $80 fill-ups, they deserve every penney of their pain.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Interesting, I'm working on a project in Albany, NY and all the Ford ads for the 500 and Freestyle are for no downpayment with cheap monthly payment leases for the awd versions of those vehicles.
    • Load More Comments