2008 Ford Taurus
You can look at the all-new 2008 Ford Taurus
in two ways. It can be praised for its incredible redesign from its former life as the Ford Five Hundred, complete with an updated interior and exterior, a more powerful V-6 and 500 other changes to the dated model of yore. The dramatic transformation is akin to that of the new Chevrolet Malibu’s and surprises buyers who expect all things yawn-inducing. On the other hand, you may still find yourself stifling a yawn or two when comparing it to competitors like the Chrysler 300
and the Honda Accord
. The ride, strengthened by the upgraded engine, is still lacking and the interior fails to deliver a “wow” factor. However, there are some features that might tickle your fancy: the Taurus sports incredibly comfortable seats and room for five people who really want to spread out. It’s also carrying Ford’s baby: SYNC, the hands-free communication and entertainment system. So like most comparisons, it’s all relative.
What's to Like
The most critical judge will love the huge, well-bolstered seats and extra inches of legroom – this car is built for spry mid-westerners. Crisp transmission shifts give the heavy car a sportier feel, and handling is nice and tight. The IIHS pronounced the Taurus as a Top Safety Pick for 2008.
What's Not to Like
No telescoping function for the steering wheel, and the cheap looking wheel was dug up from the Focus parts bin. Wood grain trim, while pretty, won’t appeal to the younger set of buyers.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
Contrary to the Taurus’ translated name, the sedan is about as far from bull-like as you can get. There’s nary an aggressive movement and the drive is far from stubborn. This is precisely, despite naming it so, as Ford designed it to be. Those of us interested in the Taurus want a soft, cushioned ride that glides gently over bumps instead of charging through them. However, the ride does become a bit too floaty at times, resulting in a detached drive experience. A fair amount of body roll appears when making quick turns, and coming to a stop harkens back to squat and drive of yesteryear. Steering is happily precise; we found direction changes to be accomplished successfully. Hills reveal the heft of the car, but prompt transmission shifts when the foot nudges the throttle ease the Taurus through underpowered situations.
Engine and Drivetrain
A 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 engine powers all trims of the Taurus and pulls the sedan along with 263 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels or all four wheels if you choose to add AWD as an option.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
As an IIHS top safety pick, you’d expect good things in terms of standard safety features. The Taurus delivers airbags galore, rollover sensors, tire pressure monitoring system and Ford’s Side Protection and Cabin Enhancement architecture (SPACE) to combat forces from an impact. The only optional item is the stability control.
Key Technology Evaluation
While the Taurus hasn’t yet nabbed that new navigation system found in the Flex, getting to your destination can still be accomplished. With simple touch screen and button controls, you can search for the closest gas station or restaurant with relative ease. SYNC also gives you voice command control of the entire system, including the audio system that features Sirius satellite radio and MP3 capability.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
If you’re worried about fuel economy, the SULEV emissions rated Taurus’ front-wheel drive is your friend. At 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway those road trips seem less daunting. In all-wheel drive form, the Taurus still isn’t too bad with its 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway, but spend more time on the freeway and you’ll be stopping at the pump more often than its FWD companion.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
While there are a few quality issues with the interior (the steering wheel and dash-based cubby), the overall look is quite pleasing – especially with the optional navigation system in place. The wood trim, while not for everyone, certainly adds a touch of glamour to the interior. Leather seats are standard on the Limited trim and you’ll be getting 21.2 cubic feet of trunk space.
Not many cars in this class excite the optic nerve, so the Taurus won’t be alone in this grouping; however, it does feature a swooping roofline and minimal body lines to give it a clean look. The front grille is a design standout, setting it apart from vanilla noses that dominate the class. The Taurus is long though (thus accounting for its large amount of interior room), 201.8 inches to be exact - stretching further than both the Honda Accord
and Toyota Avalon
Market Segment and Pricing
Unlike other cars, the Taurus has just two trims to worry about. The SEL starts at $24,635 and the Limited’s base price is $27,620. Options can see the price reach over $33,000 – at those prices you’re bordering on BMW 3-Series territory. A crowded class means competitors include the $31,265 Chrysler 300
, $25,000 Buick LaCrosse
, $23,935 Mercury Sable
, $27,845 Toyota Avalon
, $26,455 Honda Accord
and $24,770 Hyundai Azera
What We Think
The Taurus can safely be classified as a comfy cruiser. The drive is soft and unfussy and legroom will never be an issue here. Options add heft to the final tab though – our Limited trim tester was about $33,000 - so make sure to price it all out. All-wheel drive and a pleasing interior make this car a worthy shop.