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.