2012 Taurus New Car Test Drive
The Ford Taurus was all-new for 2010 and continues into 2011 with no substantive changes. 2011 is the year of the Taurus for those who believe the best time to buy a car is in its second year of production, the theory being all the bugs have been worked out.
The Taurus is impressive, well-equipped and extremely competent, a charismatic full-size sedan that could establish Ford as America's premier auto manufacturer. It is powered with a Duratec V6, delivering a generous 263 horsepower and 249 pound-feet of torque.
At the top of the 2011 Taurus line is the high-performance Taurus SHO, with a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 rated at 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. The SHO, which stands for Super High Output, delivers enough power and cornering poise to leave pricier import sport sedans coughing in the dust.
All-wheel drive is available, making Taurus AWD models a good choice for foul weather.
Dramatically different and advanced in comparison with the previous version, the Taurus offers brisk performance, precise and reassuring handling, lavish comfort, and a comprehensive occupant-safety package. The Taurus and Taurus SHO are the flagships of Ford's entire line. And since, at long last, sedans are once again outselling trucks nationally, Ford has every reason to be optimistic about the Taurus's role in Ford's future.
We found the Taurus to be a responsive, comfortable, and protective family sedan, whether in SE, SEL or Limited trim. But this car is far more than a dull, utilitarian appliance.
Ford refers to Taurus's world-car styling as emotive and bold. Its looks have magnetism and a sleekly contemporary appearance designed to win owners who take seriously how they appear to the outside world. Judged on price alone, this is no luxury car. Yet its visual impact will go a long way toward making its occupants feel very good about themselves. This is a car to be seen in.
The Taurus is packed with innovative technology and electronics, beneficial driver-assistance provisions, and safety packages that outstrip import sedans costing half again more. Among these packages are comprehensive warning systems programmed to alert the driver to obstacles front, side and rear, a boon in crowded parking lots. A brilliant adaptive cruise control system lets the driver relax on the highway, while it automatically controls the gap to the car ahead. Beyond the new technology, impressive as it is, it will still be the car's over-the-road driving character that determines its ultimate appeal.
We drove Taurus and Taurus SHO models on freeways and backroads in the twisty hill country of Tennessee and checked them over further in Southern California. We found the Taurus to be an altogether exemplary world sedan, while the SHO is a full-bore, high-revving demon, taming difficult roads with racecar grace.
The 2011 Ford Taurus comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6, 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
Taurus SE ($25,170) comes with cloth upholstery, air conditioning manually controlled with air filter, six-way driver seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with six speakers, three auxiliary power points, message center with trip computer, programmable performance-limiting key, illuminated visor mirrors, power windows with driver one-touch up/down, black exterior mirrors, rear window defroster, capless fuel filler, chrome exhaust tips, halogen headlamps with automatic windshield wiper activation, remote keyless entry, keyless entry keypad, floor mats, and 17-inch wheels.
Taurus SEL ($27,370) adds paddle shifters for the 6-speed automatic, body-color heated exterior mirrors, 18-inch wheels, Sirius Satellite Radio, message center with trip computer and compass, auto-dimming mirror, leather-wrapped shifter knob and steering wheel, and anti-theft perimeter alarm. The Taurus SEL AWD ($29,220) is equipped the same but includes all-wheel drive.
Taurus Limited ($31,770) upgrades with leather-trimmed seats with 10-way power in both front seats, driver seat memory, leather-wrapped steering wheel with wood inlay, woodgrain applique, SYNC hands-free communications and entertainment, 6CD changer, universal garage opener, global-open window controls, chrome mirrors and taillamps, ambient interior lighting, cargo net, mirror with microphone, reverse sensing system, and 19-inch chromed aluminum wheels. The Taurus Limited AWD ($33,620) adds all-wheel drive.
Options include voice-activated navigation with Sirius Travel Link ($1,850), adaptive cruise control ($1,195), leather-trimmed seats for SEL ($1,395), multi-contoured front seats ($595), rear window power sunshade, auto high beam headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, power moonroof ($895), cargo organizer ($160), remote start ($425), all-weather floor mats ($75), 12-speaker Sony audio, and adjustable pedals with memory.
Taurus SHO ($37,770) features a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, all-wheel drive, electric power-assist steering, sports suspension, high-intensity discharge headlamps, rear spoiler, 19-inch premium wheels, door-trim color matched to seats, SHO floor mats, push-button start, aluminum pedals, leather seats with Miko suede inserts, and leather steering wheel with perforated insert. The SHO Performance Package ($995) includes performance brake pads, EPAS-calibrated steering, ECS Track Mode/True Off, 3.16:1 final drive ratio, and 20-inch painted wheels with 245/45YR20 performance summer tires.
Safety features include dual front airbags, front-seat side-impact airbags, canopy airbags, collision warning with brake support, blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, tire-pressure monitoring system, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, SOS post-crash alert, traction control, reverse sensing system, and anchors for child seats. Optional all-wheel drive enhances safety in slippery conditions.