The Sable, a corporate twin to the Ford Taurus, gets major styling, interior and safety changes this year. The most noticeable changes are on the outside, where more conservative sheet metal replaces the rounded contours of the 1996 through 1999 models.
Like Taurus, the front-wheel-drive Sable comes in four-door sedan and station wagon body styles. Though the two have different exterior styling, they share major mechanical components, including engines.
Interior dimensions change only fractionally in the Sable, and trunk space is unchanged at 16 cubic feet in the sedan. A conventional, rectangular control panel for audio and climate systems replaces the oval "integrated control panel" in the center of the dashboard and has larger buttons. Seats for six are standard on the GS sedan. The more-expensive LS comes with standard front buckets for five-passenger capacity. A front bench with a folding storage console is a no-cost option. Power adjustable accelerator and pedals with a 3-inch range are a new feature.
All exterior panels except the doors are new for 2000, and the Sable looks larger as a result. Wheelbase and overall length, however, are unchanged at 108.5 and 200 inches, respectively.
Though the overall look is much less round, the roof and pillars still have the same arch shape of the 1996-99 models. A larger, more formal grille and larger tail lamps give both ends a new look.
Under the Hood
Engine choices include two 3.0-liter V-6s, a 155-horsepower version (10 more than the 1999 model) with overhead valves and a 200-horsepower version (an increase of 15) with dual-overhead camshafts. Both team with a four-speed automatic transmission.
New front airbags that deploy at one of two inflation levels based on crash severity, whether the seatbelts are buckled and the driver's seat position are standard. When crash sensors detect that airbags are needed, they inflate at a higher rate in severe crashes and at a slower rate in moderate collisions.
Side-impact airbags that protect the heads and chests of front-seat occupants are a new option. Anti-lock brakes with a new all-speed traction control system also are optional. Also new are front-seatbelt pretensioners and retractors that remove slack in crashes. A warning system activates a red light and intermittently sounds a chime if either the driver and front passenger are unbelted.
A child-friendly emergency trunk release that glows in the dark is a new standard feature on all 2000 Ford cars.