2008 Ford Taurus X
Ford’s crossover lineup has grown a tad confusing of late. Between the Edge
and the hot new Flex
, there’s not a whole lot of room for the Taurus X
to differentiate itself, and once you factor in the Explorer
SUVs, the situation becomes even more confusing. Originally released as the Freestyle in 2005, the Taurus X is a front- or all-wheel drive, seven-passenger vehicle that combines the conveniences of a wagon with the versatility of an SUV. While it resembles a shorter version of the Explorer, the Taurus X is designed more for daily urban activities than it is for winter ski trips over snowy mountaintops and gravel access roads on the way to your favorite fishing hole.
What's to Like
There’s plenty of room for both passengers and cargo inside thanks to the fold-flat rear and passenger seats and third-row seating. SYNC adds some technological flair and a six-speed gearbox keeps the engine in the sweet spot at all times.
What's Not to Like
Interior styling feels bland and dated when compared to Ford’s newer models such as the Edge and Flex. The mixture of a 3.5-liter V-6 powerplant and all-wheel drive don’t bode well for fuel economy numbers.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
While the Taurus X is no athlete, it’s got more than enough power to move itself down the road, and will only feel sluggish if you’ve filled all seven seats with passengers, in which case you’ll have to use all six forward gears to your advantage. While the car itself is relatively low for its size, the driver sits in a high, SUV-like position for a better view of the road, a product Ford calls Command Seating. The Taurus X doesn’t drive like an SUV though, and remains as nimble as a large wagon, making city parking a breeze compared to a full-size ‘ute. The suspension is smooth and shuffles out any bumps or potholes the road throws at you.
Engine and Drivetrain
The Ford Taurus X is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 Duratec engine which produces 263 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. Power can be driven to either the front wheels or all four wheels depending on the chosen drivetrain, both of which work through a six-speed automatic transmission.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
Ford’s AdvanceTrac stability control system comes standard on the Taurus X, ensuring maximum grip should you find yourself in a bad situation. All of the rear seats and even the passenger seat can fold flat, allowing for maximum cargo capacity. A DVD-based in-dash navigation system is available for $2,000, but unfortunately its last-generation technology and has become obsolete when compared to Ford’s new, real-time SIRIUS Travel Link system featured in the new Flex.
Key Technology Evaluation
The Ford/Microsoft co-developed SYNC system is available on the Taurus X, and makes accessing your iPod, Zune or Bluetooth-enabled phone as easy as pressing the SYNC button on the steering wheel and issuing a voice command. If you plan on taking a lot of road trips, and you likely do if you’re buying a seven-passenger car, a DVD Family Entertainment unit is available as a $995 option and promises to keep the kids entertained once the scenery has subsided on long rides.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
The Taurus X is a thirsty car in either drivetrain guise, with the front-wheel drive model returning 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway and the bulkier all-wheel drive model doing slightly worse with 15 mpg city and 22 highway. Expect to see lower numbers if you’ve got it packed to the brim with passengers and/or cargo.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
With comfortable seats and an attractive wood-trimmed center console, the Taurus X provides the driver and front passenger with a cozy, if somewhat outdated, interior. In the middle row of seats, there’s plenty of legroom, but overall the second and especially third rows feel very utilitarian. There’s plenty of room inside the car, but it doesn’t feel overly cavernous the way a large SUV does.
Style-wise, the Taurus X comes in somewhere between the Taurus wagons of yesteryear and the modern day Explorer, suffering a somewhat common crossover affliction of not being able to decide whether it’s a wagon or an SUV. The front-end features the same chrome horizontal-bar grille as the Edge and Flex.
Market Segment and Pricing
With a starting MSRP of $27,030, the Taurus X competes directly with the $27,045 Hyundai Veracruz
, $27,500 Toyota Highlander
and $27,595 Honda Pilot
. Taurus X prices can quickly reach out of this bracket though, and an SEL model with all-wheel drive will easily reach into the mid- to high-$30k range. Also worrying is the fact that with prices of $28,295 and $25,735 for the Flex and Edge respectively, the Taurus X may be competing with its own brethren.
What We Think
If you need the space of and SUV and want the comfort of a wagon or sedan, the Taurus X is a good proposition. With optional all-wheel drive and SYNC, it has some great selling points, but with such a robust SUV and crossover lineup including the Escape and Explorer and newly engineered Flex and Edge, it’s hard to argue that Ford hasn’t engineered the Taurus X right out of its lineup.