2010 Ford Taurus SEL AWD: Full-size and elegant
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Ford’s Taurus, in its second go-round in the Blue Oval line-up, has added advanced tech and vanguard styling to its personality.
A solid hit in its first life with Ford through four generations from 1986 through 2006, the Taurus fell from grace and was discontinued after the 2006 production year (2007 model year). It was a short hiatus, though, as the nameplate returned only a year later.
To buoy sales for the Ford Five Hundred, that now-defunct flagship was given a Taurus badge in 2008, and now, new life has been breathed into the stellar nameplate with an elegant-yet-athletic-and-powerful exterior design, a roomy interior, a quiet ride and a treasure chest full of electronic upgrades.
Built at Ford’s Chicago, IL assembly plant, the steel unibody Taurus is all-new for 2010. Taurus began life as a mid-size, but has evolved into a 4224-lb. full-size measuring 202.9 inches long, 76.2 inches wide and 60.7 inches high on a 112.9-inch wheelbase.
Its exterior design is sculpted, graceful and athletic. From its assertive three-bar grille and its new “look-at-me” headlights with recessed parking lamps, to its lowered roofline and pronounced fenders and fascia, Taurus had the look and feel of a car that is reliable for family, but one that places a premium on the driving experience.
My Cinnamon Metallic test ride was matched to a Light Stone interior, and the exterior was enhanced by dual chromed exhaust tips, dual power-heated mirrors with security approach lamps, projector beam halogen headlamps, supplemental park lamps and 18-inch painted Sparkle Silver wheels covered with Goodyear Eagle RS-A all-season tires
Moving away from the “family-sedan” perception, Taurus has sported-up in the power department and in driving dynamics. My AWD test Taurus came standard with a 263hp 3.5-liter DOHC Duratec V-6 engine that nets 249 lbs.-ft. of torque (the SHO model and its 365hp /350 lbs.-ft of torque twin-turbo V-6 for an additional $8000 in option costs). Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, my best track tests in this 4224-lb. flagship yielded a zero to 60mph trip in 7.8 seconds and the quarter-mile accomplished in 16.1. The SHO upgrade is said to jet from 0-60 in 5.2 seconds.
The automatic transmission has its rev points set properly, and while there is substantial body roll during quick turns, the power rack-and-pinion steering is responsive and grip is solid. The suspension is confident and smoothes out most road nuances, thanks to MacPherson struts and rear-facing L-shaped lower control arms with isolated subframe and stabilizer bar up front, and independent multi-link rear suspension with coil-over shocks, stamped-steel lower arms and cast upper control arms.
Fit and finish and sound-dampening materials help make the ride is a quiet one with cabin noise reduced to a minimum. The weight makes for a confident ride, but the size makes parking and tight city maneuvering a challenge, and while you sit high and upright behind the wheel, rear visibility is not clean and unobstructed.
EPA rated at 18 mpg in city driving and 27mpg on the highway, my week of tests in mixed-use scenarios yielded an average of 21.7mpg.
Inside, Taurus is a comfortable, upscale, tech-heavy fortress with such advanced electronics as adaptive cruise control, a collision warning system, rain-sensing wipers, automatic high beams, blind-spot and cross-traffic warning systems, and Ford SYNC.
With seating for five Taurus’s interior cabin is roomy. Headroom is 39.0 inches in the front seats and 37.8 inches for the passengers in the second row; legroom shows 41.9 inches in row one and 38.1 behind and shoulder room is 57.9 inches up front and 56.9 in row two.
Cabin accouterments include 60/40 fold-flat rear bench; 6-way power driver’s seat
8 cup/bottle holders, dome lamp and map lights, AM/FM/CD player with clock, MP3 audio input jack and SIRIUS, dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control, message center with compass and tilt/telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Interior electronics include Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning, Intelligent Access with Push Button Start, MyKey™ parental programmability, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with Cross Traffic Alert, Rain-Sensing Wipers, EasyFuel™ capless refueling, Ford SYNC® and Voice-Activated Navigation with SIRIUS® Travel Link™. Sony® Audio components deliver sound from a variety of sources, and have an integrated 10 GB hard drive for storage of up to 2,400 songs. This package also includes an available 12-speaker premium audio system. Multi-Contour Seats with Active Motion™ is also available.
Safety is an important part of the Taurus package with such items included as front airbags, front and rear head airbags, front seat side airbags, 4-wheel ABS brakes, traction control, stability control, rollover protection, electronic brakeforce distribution, perimeter alarm. Ford’s personal safety system and safety canopy for both rows, SOS post-crash alert and tire pressure monitor system.
Packaged with the above, my test vehicle came at a base price of $29,020. That included the $1850 AWD set-up … the FWD SEL is priced at $27,170. Add to my vehicle the destination charges of $825, and my test Taurus stickered at $29,845.
That is quite a lot of flagship elegance for under $30,000.
Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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