2010 Ford Taurus
When the people at Ford make a move to reinvent the Taurus nameplate, you know they mean serious business. Let us not forget this is a car that was, for an extended run in the 90s, America’s best-selling sedan. That gives it a brand image within contemporary Americana that is as easily recognizable as Apple’s iPod or Kanye West’s Shutter Shades. Or MC Hammer pants if you want to go old school. And brand recognition is exactly why Ford is relaunching the Taurus as its flagship sedan. The marketeers reckon this is the perfect way to show North America what “New Ford” is all about – quality construction, plenty of tech and a sporting drive. While we agree with Ford’s new automotive philosophy, we’re not so sure the Taurus name brings with it the proper sense of revolution. But one step inside this new sedan and you won’t care what name they have slapped on the trunk. A plush, luxurious interior provides a great place to spend plenty of time, and convenient tech features like adaptive cruise control, voice-activated navigation and Ford’s ever-improving SYNC system make living with the new Taurus that much easier. From styling to technology, this is a modern American sedan that gets just about everything right.
What's to Like
Interior quality has risen leaps and bounds over the previous generation Taurus. Where hard plastics and dull styling cues once lingered you will now find soft-touch materials, plush leather, ice-blue backlighting and one of the industry’s top tech packages. At 20.1 cubic feet, the trunk is utterly cavernous.
What's Not to Like
The blind spot warning system has a tendency to detect objects on the side of the road, such as trees and posts. All-wheel drive is a welcome option, but at over 4,200 lbs the AWD version of the Taurus is no lightweight, as is evidenced by the mediocre fuel economy. Use of the Taurus name badge may present a perception barrier for some consumers – what was once a humdrum everyday sedan is now Ford’s four-door, luxury and tech-laden flagship.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
Significant improvements have been made in efforts to lift the Taurus’ driving experience, and we’re glad to say they won’t go unnoticed. Removing some lift from front suspension and adding larger sway bars has resulted in more front-end feel and increased cornering confidence. The steering ratio is a bit long and inputs through tight bends will be long, sweeping efforts, but the helm fits the overall relaxed feel of the car well. Brakes and calipers have been upsized in the front to compliment larger calipers in the rear, though the squidgyness of the brake pedal remains a confidence-sapping nuisance. Ford has put a lot of effort into isolating the Taurus’ cabin from outside noise by using three door seal layers, minimizing exterior seams between panels and fitting acoustic laminated glass. The good news is they’ve succeeded – the Taurus is a silent, cosseting touring sedan if we’ve ever driven one.
Engine and Drivetrain
The Taurus uses a 3.5-liter all-aluminum Duratec V-6 with 263 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque to motivate it down the road. A new six-speed automatic with SelectShift and paddle shifters on SEL and Limited models is the only transmission available. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available as an option.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
Ford is introducing a new technology called MyKey, a Big Brother type system that lets owners assign permissions to specific keys, allowing them to limit maximum speed, maximum stereo volume and traction control settings. Even without the navigation system, getting around is easy thanks to the addition of traffic and turn-by-turn directions to Ford’s SYNC system. With nav, Sirius Travel Link provides a plethora of information, from weather updates to gasoline prices, news and sports scores. A power sunshade and rearview camera can also be optioned out.
Key Technology Evaluation
The Taurus is equipped with a personal safety system that checks front occupant weight, seating position and seat belt usage and tension to optimize air bag deployment. New to Ford’s arsenal are radar systems that run not only adaptive cruise control, but also a collision warning system and Blind Spot Information System (BLIS). Collision warning senses an impeding collision provides drivers with both an audible and visual warning, while brake support pre-charges the brakes for increased stopping power. BLIS not only illuminates the standard side-mirror light when a vehicle is detected in the car’s blind spot, but also displays warning text in the message center.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
Considering it’s powered by a hefty 3.5-liter V-6, the Taurus returns surprisingly decent fuel economy. In front-wheel drive guise, it delivers 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, while in all-wheel drive form it returns 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. The car uses Ford’s new capless Easy Fuel system (basically a spring-loaded flap), which helps reduce the amount of fuel vapor escaping into the open atmosphere.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
The interior of the Taurus is stylistically modern and comfortable, with a sweeping center console littered with cup holders and storage space. The dash is notched to create an overhang where it meets with the gauges and glove box, a stylistic cue that we think will split opinions. Dash-mounted buttons are attractively lit with ice-blue backlighting, and the footwells get seven selectable shades of lighting.
The Taurus has finally bid adieu to the boring lines of yesteryear. In their place is a modern and sporty exterior that won’t blend into the background of contemporary automobilia. There is a bit of a “power dome” contour on the hood, and the high beltline gives the car a muscular appearance.
Market Segment and Pricing
Taurus SE models start at an MSRP of $25,995, while the volume-selling SEL model begins slightly higher at $27,995. That pits the Taurus up against cars such as the Mazda6 Grand Touring
($25,110), Chrysler 300 Touring ($26,915), Toyota Avalon
($27,845) and Volkswagen Passat ($28,300). The full-up Limited model will set you back $31,995.