2010 Ford Tauras
Base price: $27,995 – $37,995
As tested: $31,890
MPG: 18 city/28 highway
- Premium look, feel and driving experience
- Innovative and useful technology features
- Ford didn’t take the bailout money
- Rump-aching seats
- Luxury car price when options are included
- Wide center console minimizes legroom
By Jim Prueter
Redesigned Taurus a brilliant new sedan
More than 6.7 million Tauruses have been sold since the moniker was first unveiled as a 1986 model. Between 1992 and 1996, it became the best-selling car in the U.S., besting nameplates like Camry and Accord. But a complete redesign in 1996 didn’t take with the buying public and Taurus became queen of rental car fleets rather than Americans’ driveways.
If that wasn’t enough to doom the brand, former CEO Bill Ford changed the name to Five Hundred in 2005 and essentially killed off one of the best known and successful Fords ever built.
New Ford CEO Alan Mulally didn’t take long to literally peel the Five Hundred name off the existing product and rechristen it with the iconic Taurus name, and at the same time order up a complete redo of the frumpy sedan. The result? An absolutely brilliant new sedan that brims with insightful details and eye-popping style.
To be sure, Ford detractors will nitpick over one detail or another, but the new Taurus is far too good a vehicle to be ignored and will pilfer sales from competitors Camry and Accord. This car is by far better than either in every way. It’s library quiet, thoughtfully designed and offers technology you’d only expect to find on the best German sedans.
For example all new Tauruses include MyKey, which allows parents to restrict audio volume and top vehicle speed (80 mph) when teens are driving the vehicle. The feature can also permanently enable the traction control system and set chimes for when the car reaches 45, 55, or 65 mph. Adaptive cruise control with collision alert ($1195) applies the brakes if you get too close to the vehicle ahead plus sounds a warning and flashes red lights atop the dash if an impact is pending. There’s a blind-spot information system incorporated into the outside rearview mirrors with an amber-glowing icon appearing to warn you not to change lanes when you can’t see a vehicle in your mirror.
An optional radar system notifies the driver of traffic and obstructions in the danger zones, including traffic that comes from either side as you back out of narrow parking spots. We think it’s a feature no vehicle should be without.
The new Taurus is larger and more luxurious than any previous Taurus and has exteriorstyling that is masculine and well proportioned. The roofline is lower than the previous model’s, which causes headroom woes for rear seat occupants who sit on raised theater-style platforms. There’s a crease about halfway down the doors that run the entire side of the vehicle. A fake vent on the front fender with the Taurus name looks overdone but the large rear end is pleasing.
What looks completely out of place is the new upper and lower grille bars that resemble the chomping teeth of a piranha devouring the blue Ford oval.
Inside, no corners have been gracelessly cut and everything has an upscale premium look and feel, even in our mid-range SEL trim level tester. The two-tone dash material is almost entirely soft touch and wood grain plays into both sides of the dash. A forward-leaning center stack features the climate controls, audio components, trunk release and engine start buttons. But as good as it looks, it’s wide and restricts driver and passenger side-to-side leg movement.
In terms of roominess, the Taurus is a bit snug with slightly less interior room than Camry and Accord but will still seat five adults. But if you haul lots of stuff, you’ll appreciate the huge trunk that Ford claims will hold eight full sets of golf clubs. The rear seat backs fold forward but not flat with the trunk floor.
The front bucket seats at first felt comfortable, but we noticed our bottoms fatigue just ninety minutes into a long ride. Passengers in the vehicle also complained about this and we were completely surprised. Taurus offers an optional massaging-seat feature and an optional multi-contoured front seat package that wasn’t included on our tester and perhaps takes care of the aching rump problem.
Taurus is offered in base front-wheel drive SE ($25,995, including shipping), SEL ($27,995 front-wheel drive; $29,845 all-wheel drive), Limited ($31,995 front-wheel drive; $33,845 all-wheel drive) and the high-performance SHO ($37,995, front-wheel drive only). All models are powered by a 263-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine, except for the SHO, which runs on a twin-turbocharged 365-horsepower V-6 engine (Ford calls it EcoBoost). All models use a six-speed automatic transmission.
Taurus is just now beginning to arrive at dealer showrooms. I can’t help but think Ford has a winner. We haven’t sampled all the Taurus models in the lineup, but found the SEL exceptionally satisfying. Sure, there are a few things that bother us about the car, but as a whole the entire vehicle feels solid, foundationally sound, well built and as mentioned before, incredibly quiet.
During my weeklong test drive, I received numerous unsolicited comments from people telling me how much they liked the new Taurus and that they were pulling for Ford because they were one auto manufacturer that didn’t take government bailout money. Some were even bold enough to say they’ll “never buy a GM or Chrysler product until the government gets out of the car business.”
Taurus is just one of a host of new vehicles that Ford is introducing in the next several months that we hope will help them on the road to financial recovery.