2009 Taurus X New Car Test Drive
If you've never heard of a Taurus X before, it's only because this is a new name for an existing product, the crossover SUV that used to be called the Ford Freestyle.
However, the 2008 Ford Taurus X offers host of improvements inside, outside and underneath when compared to the old Freestyle. So it's ready to compete in the hotly contested crossover segment with a whole bunch of new arrows in its quiver.
Like the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable sedans, the Taurus X is loosely based on the same architecture as the Volvo S80 luxury sedan and Volvo XC90 SUV and it uses the same Swedish Haldex all-wheel-drive system as the Volvo on AWD versions. The Taurus X offers some detail changes to the suspension, however.
Last year's 3.0-liter V6 engine has been dropped in favor of a new, 3.5-liter, 24-valve V6 that makes a full 30 percent more horsepower and more load-pulling torque. Likewise, last year's continuously variable transmission has been replaced by a new 6F six-speed automatic.
This new powertrain makes the 2008 Ford Taurus X a whole lot more fun to drive than the Freestyle crossover was. The new engine makes more power, and accelerates the truck much quicker (Ford says up to 44 percent quicker), but it also gets about 10 percent better fuel economy, even after adjusting for the new, stricter 2008 fuel economy rules that the EPA is using for fuel economy numbers on the window sticker.
The Taurus X fits into the product lineup above the five-seater Ford Edge crossover SUV that's built on the same platform as the Fusion, and under the upcoming 2009 Ford Flex, a larger, more luxurious, square-cornered family truck.
The Taurus X is designed to compete with the Nissan Murano, Mitsubishi Outlander, Buick Enclave, Saturn Outlook, and GMC Acadia, among others.
The 2008 Ford Taurus X comes in three models and each offers all-wheel-drive versions: SEL ($26,615), SEL AWD ($28,465); Eddie Bauer ($29,355), Eddie Bauer AWD ($31,205); Limited ($30,335), Limited AWD ($32,185). (All NewCarTestDrive.com prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices and do not include the destination charge ($750). Simple math tells us that makes the Haldex all-wheel-drive system an $1850 option on all models.
SEL comes with cloth upholstery, manually controlled air conditioning, AM/FM/CD, six-way adjustable driver's seat, power windows, power locks, and 17-inch aluminum wheels.
The Eddie Bauer edition adds leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic temperature control, power adjustable pedals, 6CD, front consoles, eight-way adjustable driver's seat with memory, woodgrain applique trim. Eddie Bauer carries a distinctive two-tone paint job, plus 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels and tires, wiper-activated headlamps, and Eddie Bauer logos inside and out.
Limited adds premium audio system with subwoofer, second-row consoles, chrome interior trim, auto tilt-down in reverse for outside mirror, heated front seats.
Options for the Taurus X include voice-activated DVD navigation system ($1995), reverse sensing system ($295), power liftgate ($475), auxiliary HVAC system ($650), DVD entertainment system ($995), AdvanceTrac electronic stability control ($495), power moonroof ($960), heated seats ($240), Sirius satellite radio equipment ($195), and 18-inch seven-spoke chrome wheels ($695).
Safety features include front, side and curtain airbags, ABS and traction control. Taurus X has been awarded five-star ratings in all four crash categories and a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). All-wheel drive is optional. LATCH child seat anchors and rear safety locks are standard.