By Gaywheels.com Staff
Dorothy, you better hold onto Toto, we are in for a wild ride! That is what Gaywheels.com staff was saying along with clicking our heels and wishing we were home in Atlanta during a recent trip to Nashville, TN. The radio was warning of severe weather in the Nashville area and they were not kidding. As if the rain and wind weren’t enough, Mother Nature offered up some tornadoes to boot. With the driver concentrating on forward motion, the passenger’s duties included 360 degree tornado watch. Our trusty transport on this trip to the hub of country music was a 2006 Ford Five Hundred Limited. After arriving safely and regaining the ability to speak, we commented on how solid the car felt despite the chaos that was going on around us. Thanks to a solid, Volvo-inspired platform and all-wheel-drive our new best friend delivered us with all the calm assuredness of Glenda, the good witch.
Despite the dramatic end to our trip, the majority of the 3.5 hour drive was uneventful. The 2006 Ford Five Hundred is a very capable highway cruiser. We were all pleasantly surprised at the ride and handling. Compared to the road trips of our childhood in the back seat of floaty American sedans, the Five Hundred is almost European in its manners. The ride was firm yet comfortable and the mountainous curves were approached with confidence rather than fear thanks to nicely weighted steering and a suspension worthy of the task. The interior is well-laid out with all the requisite gadgets and conveniences. The stereo was good and the navigation system was a blessing when we needed a quick detour to our destination around the funnels that were dropping from the sky.
In Nashville we picked up our friends for a night on the town in the hip gay area of Nashville. The Five Hundred had enough room to fit 4 of us very well. There is plenty of room and the rear seat is almost limousine-like. The only complaint heard from all was in relation to the seats themselves. They are very plush, yet they had a very short bottom cushion, which made them quite uncomfortable.
All Five Hundreds come with Ford’s 3.0 liter Duratec V6 engine. When you chose AWD like our tester, it is mated to a CVT transmission. Once we got used to just holding the pedal down and watching the RPM’s stay in one place until we reached our desired speed, we began to appreciate the technology. It is not by any means a rocket, but had enough power to get you moving and delivered more than respectable MPG. We saw a registered 28 MPG during our trip.. A more refined power plant would make all the difference as it got a little noisy at higher RPMs.
Our tornado buster came loaded with standard and optional equipment. Some of the standard features include: 18-inch alloy wheels, 8-way power driver seat, 4-way power passenger seat, auto temperature control, ABS and remote keyless entry, just to name a few. We also had several optional features as well including: universal garage door @ $150, safety package (side curtain airbags and side airbags) @ $595, Navigation system @ $1,995, reverse sensing system @ $295, family entertainment (rear DVD system) @ $995 and memory adjustable pedals @ $195. The total sticker was $33,130, which we felt was reasonable for a full-size, AWD sedan with navigation and rear entertainment.
Pulling back into Atlanta a few days later we channeled Dorothy and realized there really is no place like home. We were, however, happy to have made the trip to Oz and back in the comfort of the Ford Five Hundred rather than a rickety old prairie house powered by funnel clouds. The only thing Dorothy has left on us are those fab ruby slippers.
- Build quality
- AWD option – felt very safe in inclement weather
- Price tag – even when loaded with options
- Highway ride
- Taught handling
- Seat comfort – bottom cushion is too short
- Engine Noise – adequate but certainly not refined
Ford is a gay-friendly company.
Read other Ford reviews by Gaywheels.com’s writers