Back in the day when Taurus reigned, it was the whip du jour for the 40+ crowd, especially women, who knew they had it going-on and only bought American. Scratch all of that for the sixth and current generation Ford Taurus, which hit the streets in 2010.
Leading the pack of designers was Earl Lucas, an African American brother from Dallas, Texas, as Ford has flipped the switch and followed suit behind the Koreans, taking direct aim at the Germans in terms of the ride and handling of the latest Taurus. In fact, of all the mid-priced American cars I’ve driven, Taurus now stands in a league of its own.
Introduced in 2010 at $26K, mid priced at the SEL trim level for $28K, with the top of the line Limited at $32, never before had Taurus appealed to the public as so chic and elite from the outside-in. And with behind the wheel features like all wheel drive, blind spot monitoring, collision warning, adaptive cruise control and more, it felt the part as well. Then came the grande dame of them all: The Taurus SHO. From $38k to $45K when fully loaded, the Super High Output Taurus delivers 350 lb-ft of torque, from an impressive 3.5 liter V6, twin turbocharged EcoBoost engine with 365 horses of power, delivering 17 miles per gallon in the city / 25 highway via all wheel drive.
For model year 2013, Taurus—now priced from $26K to $39K, has received several visual enhancements. Still sleek and elite in overall design, the front fascia now has a three bar chrome grill up to (but excluding) the SHO trim level, which has a more cleaner, honeycomb type of grill, versus last year’s grill with a lot going-on. SHO or not, all trim levels for 2013 have a more crisp and sexier looking set of LED fog lights that appear like slits of light beneath the headlamps. The rear lights were made LED for 2013 as well. On the interior the instrument panel displays bold, crisp and all digital, to include Ford’s personalized MyFord Touch to the Ford Sync system—a recently updated system that garnered an initial on the fence, kind of love/hate relationship from many consumers.
In terms of performance, I drove the Limited $33K Taurus Limited. In particular, it was the $34,895 Taurus Limited with all wheel drive, in Kodiak brown, with charcoal black leather interior. Never had I ever imagined that a brown car with black interior could have looked this good! But the drive is what did it for me. The handling was extremely German-esque in terms of a solid, steady, dampened feel. Notably appealing was the turning radius. So precise and agile, I was able to make the sharp turn into my garage in just one take. Speaking of the steering, I’d also have to make note of the ability to take a curve at speeds above 30 miles per hour, with the utmost of precision and control. It was a total contrast to the flimsy handling of my experience with full size Ford’s from back in the day.
Finally, the engine in the Taurus Limited—a 3.5 liter TiVCT V6 with 288 horses under the hood producing 254 lb-ft of torque yields 19 city/29 highway, with 23 miles per gallon as a combined average using regular unleaded. A new option for model year 2013 is a 3.5 liter EcoBoost turbocharged V6 engine with just 240 horsepower and yet 270 lb ft of torque, delivering 22 miles in the city, 32 on the highway, for 26 combined.
The two things about Taurus that did not resonate well with me began with the sight lines. There were times when it seemed quite challenging to judge distance when attempting to maneuver. Second, a standard moon/sun roof is missing at the Limited trim level. That’s something no German car (unless at the high performance level) would be caught without!
So for those of us who were never really “feelin” the Taurus of yesterday, big ups to brother Earl, for the Taurus that’s here to stay!