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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: $27,110
|$27,110||288-hp 3.5L 6-cyl||6-spd auto||18 / 27|
|$29,540||288-hp 3.5L 6-cyl||6-spd auto||18 / 27|
|$31,390||288-hp 3.5L 6-cyl||6-spd auto||18 / 27|
|$34,460||288-hp 3.5L 6-cyl||6-spd auto||18 / 27|
|$36,310||288-hp 3.5L 6-cyl||6-spd auto||17 / 24|
|SHO Search New||$40,275||365-hp 3.5L 6-cyl||6-spd auto||17 / 24|
For its age, the Taurus behaves well. Despite impressive road manners, however, a Taurus can feel big and heavy, thus less engaging than some lighter sedans. Road feel falls somewhat short, due to that excess heft.
Because of recent ride/handling improvements, the suspension is more progressive, with less harshness over bumps. A Taurus rides more firmly than other big, comfortable sedans, remaining smooth even though the body can lean significantly when cornering. Taurus tires grip the pavement effectively, but optional 20-inch wheels yield a harsher ride without discernible benefits. Electric power steering is precise, providing more direct feedback than many rivals. Brakes feel confident. Optional automatic Park Assist works better than the system Lexus offers.
The four-cylinder EcoBoost engine is a bit short of power with a passenger or two aboard. Acceleration is better with the V6, though it’s not the most refined engine. Helped by a low first gear, the V6 conveys a powerful feel at low to medium engine speeds. Paddle shifters, standard on SEL and Limited, seem unnecessary.
In the SHO, the engine and transmission cooperate to keep power delivery while upshifting. Acceleration to 60 mph takes a little more than 5 seconds. The SHO suspension uses stiffer shock absorbers and springs, plus thicker anti-roll bars, resulting in pleasant balance and crisp.
Taurus carries on with a low profile, sleek roofline, and crisp lines throughout the body. Wheelbase is long and the car is wide, with substantial overhangs at each end, totaling 203 inches in overall length. Those abundant dimensions actually strengthen its low and powerful look.
Strong rear flanks and sculpted character lines and add some interest to the overall design. In short, Taurus remains stylish, but it’s a shape has been around for a long while.
Helping to acquire a distinctive appearance, the Taurus SHO leads with a black mesh grille, substituting for the horizontal bars used on other models. Lower front body moldings include a substantial air dam.
Despite its mainstream history, the Taurus interior comes across as near-luxury, at least. Materials quality and finishes, ranging from soft-touch plastics to simulated wood and chrome, produce an upscale aura. Even the base Taurus SE suggests attention to detail.
What Taurus lacks is space. It’s simply not as roomy as expected for a car of its size. The wraparound instrument panel and the wide console create well-defined areas for the driver and front passenger. Because that console occupies a lot of space, the cabin feels smaller than it should.
Three adults fit in the rear, but they might feel claustrophobic. The low roofline restricts headroom, and legroom is skimpier than expected. Outward visibility is limited, too. Thick roof pillars and a relatively high beltline make rear windows surprisingly small, and the turret-like back window doesn’t help.
Getting in and out of the back seat also is challenging, demanding substantial ducking below the low roof. On the plus side, the trunk is huge, offering more than 20 cubic foot of luggage space.
Large front seats are both comfortable and supportive. Optional multi-contour seats are helpful for drivers who differ from average size.
Ford Taurus is an older product than some of the competition. Still, in addition to refinement and quiet running, you can expect a firm but comfortable ride, and be assured of excellent safety ratings.
Driving impressions by The Car Connection. Mitch McCullough and James M. Flammang contributed to this report.
The 2016 Ford Taurus is offered in four trim levels; SE, SEL, Limited, and SHO. Taurus SE ($27,110) comes with V6 engine and front-wheel drive, cloth upholstery, rearview camera, power front seats, keyless entry, SYNC with MyFord, and 17-inch aluminum wheels.
Taurus SEL ($29,540) gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, reverse sensing, and 18-inch wheels. SYNC 3 is optional. SEL AWD ($31,390) has all-wheel drive. The more fuel-efficient 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is an option ($995).
Limited ($34,460) comes with leather upholstery, heated/cooled front seats, SYNC 3, power-adjustable pedals, pushbutton start, and 19-inch wheels. Limited AWD ($36,310) has all-wheel drive.
SHO AWD ($40,220) gets a more powerful turbocharged V6 engine, all-wheel drive, a sportier suspension, suede sport-seat inserts, and high-intensity headlights.
Standard safety features include Curve Control, which reduces power when the driver enters a turn too quickly. Blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert are available for Limited.