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The Ford Five Hundred s doors are the cheapest feeling portals I ve experienced outside of a high school stage set. If closing an Audi is like slipping on a pair of Ugg slippers, concluding a 500 is like wedging your foot into rented skates. There s nothing particularly wrong with the 500 s doors. They do exactly what doors are supposed to do. Their flimsy feel is probably a reflection of some high-tech production technique that assures both light weight and crash survivability. But it s just another sign that the 500 is one of those instantly forgettable bread-and-butter sedans that makes an enthusiast wonder about his or her place in the automotive universe.

Just as millions of neurotic mothers were reassured by the good enough mother movement, hundreds of thousands of US drivers will look at the Ford 500 and say, yeah, OK, sure, fine, got it, thank you. Those of us who love cars will no doubt be offended by the 500 s aesthetic invisibility, asthmatic engine, dextropropoxphenal steering and maritime handling. Those of them who buy cars because, well, they need one, will be delighted — make that satisfied — by the 500 s non-ugliness, fuel economy, command seating, available all-wheel-drive and purchase price. So, basically, the 500 s close enough for rock and roll — of the MOR variety.

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Right um that s that. Hey, you know what? This thing will make an awesome cop car. For one thing, it s friggin enormous. You know how you always hit your head on the roof when the cop shoves you into the back? The 500 s Audi-on-stilts design means meth dealers need never duck their heads in shame again. Once inside, unsubs won t be sitting inches away from that spittle-encrusted Plexiglas divider. They ll be luxuriating in a cabin spacious enough for Biggie Smalls entire crew; you know, if him and Tupac hadn t got into one.


Can you sue the police for not putting your seatbelt on if they crash on the way to the slammer? I mean, you can t very well buckle up with those damn Hiatt-Thompsons wrapped around your wrists. Anyway, the 500 s trunk is also XXXXL. While creatively-challenged pundits like to measure boot space by corpse capacity (I m thinking six goombas at a pinch), cops need to put a whole lot of shit in their trunk: flares, cones, vests, radar guns, rifles, a Halliburton Zero with $100,000 in confiscated drug money, etc. The 500 will swallow it all like a coke mule, and still have room for desert.

And the 500 s got air shocks. The heat can load-up with all those heavy electronic gizmos and not porpoise like a low-rider when pulling away from Dunkin Donuts. Of course, the 500 will need a proper V8; that 3.0-liter Duratec couldn t catch a paraplegic perp in an Invacare Tracer EX2 (which fetch good money on the black market, BTW). And I reckon the 500 won t blow-up when you rear-end it — if only because insurance companies aren t putting up with that shit anymore.

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In fact, I bet the 500 will make the best cop car ever. It won t look anywhere near as mean as a modded Charger, but my police pal tells me most cop shops won t buy anything other than a Ford, ever. For them and like-minded civilians, the 500 is a sure thing. And what the Hell s wrong with that? [by Robert Farago.]

Jalopnik Reviews: 2006 Ford Five Hundred SEL AWD, Part 2, Part 3 [internal]