The 2010 Taurus: Ford's Latest Sedan is No Bull
by Jim Corbran
If you were around back in the fall of 1985, you may remember Ford’s introduction of its brand new 1986 Taurus as a ground-breaking event in automobile styling. Its rounded shape was thought by some to resemble a jellybean, but apparently the car-buying public was into driving jellybean-shaped cars, because Ford sold over a quarter-million units that first year—along with over 95,000 of its Mercury Sable cousin. Ford went on to sell over two million Tauruses (Tauri?) before a restyle came along for the 1992 model year. The Taurus would even spend some time atop the best-selling car list before it was taken over by Honda’s Accord and Toyota’s Camry.
The Taurus eventually fell out of favor with the buying public, and the 2006 model year was its last. Or so we thought. Ford’s replacement for the Taurus was the Five Hundred, which was pretty much born in 2005 already out of favor with the buying public. For 2008 the Five Hundred’s name was changed to—are you ready—Taurus! And now, for 2010, we have a totally new Taurus, one that has arrived to the accolades of the automotive press everywhere.
And why not? The Five Hundred/Taurus and its Mercury twin(s) the Montego/Sable were pretty boring. Competent? Yes. But these days you’ve got to be more than just competent. You’ve gotta have sizzle. And the new Taurus sizzles. (Where’s the new Sable, you ask? It has fizzled. Gone. RIP Sable. Maybe another nail in the Mercury coffin.) For one thing the new Taurus looks like something buyers might actually desire, instead of merely put up with. And the 2010 model year brings with it the return of the Taurus SHO, a high-performance model which has appeared a couple of times over the years, and was a real sleeper in the stoplight race circuit.
Big Brother makes an appearance in the new Taurus via Ford’s MyKey feature. This allows an administrator (parent, boss, wife) to activate what Ford calls a restrictive driving mode. It will signal the “buckle seat belt” reminder to chime until the belts are buckled; turn on the low-fuel warning light sooner for those persistent run-out-of-gassers; keeps the stability control, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, and forward collision warning engaged at all times; and allows for audio volume restrictions, as well as a top speed of 80 miles per hour, with chime warnings at 45, 55, or 65. Like having Mom in the back seat the whole time.
The new Taurus is powered by Ford’s Duretec 3.5-liter V-6, rated at 265 horsepower, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Upper echelon models get steering-wheel-mounted shift control paddles. The front-wheel-drive model is EPA-rated at 18/28 miles per gallon city/highway; there is also an available all-wheel-drive version. Four-wheel disc brakes, ABS, and 17-inch wheels are standard; 18-, 19-, and 20-inch wheels are also available for those who desire a bit more bling. The Easy Fuel® Capless Fuel-Filler System allows you to fuel your new Taurus without having to unscrew a gas cap—just open the door and stick in the gas nozzle. (I’m assuming—no, hoping, that this will eliminate those annoying “check engine” lights which are the product of not tightening the gas cap enough.) All Tauruses come with MyKey; moving up from the base SE to the SEL adds dual-zone automatic temperature control and Sirius satellite radio; the Limited adds Ford’s SYNCH communications system and a six-disc CD/MP3 player. SE prices start at just over $25,000, while the Limited goes for around six grand more.
This one, although not quite a jellybean, has the potential to bring Ford back into the fullsized sedan sales race. If the quality’s there, it’s a real competitor to the Accord and Camry, which seem to be turning into—dare I say it—mere competent sedans.
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