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Actual rating will vary with options, driving conditions, habits and vehicle condition.
The standard features of the Ford Taurus SE include 3.5L V-6 288hp engine, 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, Safety Canopy System curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, airbag occupancy sensor, air conditioning, 18" aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, AdvanceTrac with Curve Control electronic stability.
Starting at: $27,345
|SE Search New||$27,345||288-hp 3.5L 6-cyl||6-spd auto||18 / 27|
|SEL Search New||$29,775||288-hp 3.5L 6-cyl||6-spd auto||18 / 27|
|SEL Search New||$31,625||288-hp 3.5L 6-cyl||6-spd auto||17 / 24|
|Limited Search New||$36,855||288-hp 3.5L 6-cyl||6-spd auto||18 / 27|
|Limited Search New||$38,705||288-hp 3.5L 6-cyl||6-spd auto||17 / 24|
|SHO Search New||$42,520||365-hp 3.5L 6-cyl||6-spd auto||16 / 24|
The standard V6, with its 288 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque, moves the Taurus with relative ease. It’s responsive and ready to roll at lower rpm, and the 6-speed automatic transmission is geared low in first gear to improve the takeoff. The Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger have a bit more horsepower, but respond slower.
The ride is relatively quiet and comfortable. In previous models, we’ve found that the optional bigger wheels make it slightly less comfortable. With those tires carrying 4000 pounds, the Taurus feels its weight.
The V6 can be mated to all-wheel drive, but not the 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder EcoBoost, which makes 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, using the same 6-speed automatic.
The SHO, with its turbocharged V6, makes 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque over an impressively wide range, from 1500 rpm to 5000 rpm. Having no turbo lag, the strong acceleration is always there.
With stiffer shocks and springs, and larger anti-roll bars, it turns in crisply, especially for a big sedan. The steering delivers good feedback and a precise, direct action. It feels nicely balanced and grips the road well, although the body leans when driven hard in corners.
The Ford Taurus makes the most of its 112-inch wheelbase, adding 80 inches of front and rear overhang to try to make it look sleek. That might add character, but not sleekness, just bulk. Its sharp lines and strong haunches aren’t unattractive, but they are old.
The Taurus cabin boasts quality materials and a good finish, to help justify its price, but you still have to add more to get the SEL and up, for the acceptable SYNC3 infotainment system. The standard simply-SYNC is difficult to use.
A wide center console and a wraparound instrument panel divide the front seat into driver and passenger zones, a design found more often in coupes than sedans. The front seats are supportive and generally comfortable for average sizes, but despite being large, they could use more contour. So the option of multi-contour seats adds welcome adjustment if you’re big or small.
The Taurus might make the most of its wheelbase with the exterior design, but not inside. Passengers might struggle to get in and out of the back seat because of the sedan’s low roofline; and the smaller Ford Fusion actually has a fraction of an inch more legroom than the Taurus’s 38.1 inches. Three adults can fit in the rear, but not for long, at least not happily.
Trunk space is huge, 20.1 cubic feet.
It’s good that a rearview camera is standard. Rearward visibility is particularly poor, with wide pillars and a small rear window.
It’s hard to find a reason to recommend the aging and backseat-impaired Taurus, except for the turbocharged V6 SHO, but even there, the competition is stiff, especially for the price.
Sam Moses contributed to this report.
Taurus models are SE ($27,345), SEL ($29,775), Limited ($36,855), and SHO ($42,520). The turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine costs $995 more, and adding all-wheel drive is $1850.
The SE comes with fabric upholstery, rearview camera, frustrating Ford Sync with Bluetooth connectivity and a 4.2-inch screen, six-speaker stereo, 18-inch wheels, and power adjustable front seats.
SEL includes dual climate control, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Options include the better SYNC3 infotainment with 8.0-inch touchscreen ($1050), 20-inch wheels and sunroof.
Limited models get SYNC3, leather seats that are heated and ventilated in front, keyless ignition, and wood trim. Options include Sony premium audio, heated steering wheel, and advanced safety features such as blind-spot monitors with cross-traffic alert.
The SHO is fully loaded.
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