There are two different engines offered on the Taurus sedans. The standard engine on all but the SHO is a 288-hp 3.5L V6. A 237-horsepower, 2.0L EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is optional. While the output is rated somewhat less than the V6, the fuel economy improvements are significant. The V6 is estimated at a combined 21 mpg, while the Ecoboost 4-cylinder manages 23 combined mpg and an impressive 29 mpg highway.
At the base SE level, the Taurus is a relatively well-equipped comfortable sedan, including a rearview camera system, cruise control, Sync Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio connectivity, air conditioning, rear-seat heater ducts, power front seats, and a 6-speaker audio system with CD player and aux-in port. SEL models add dual-zone climate control, upgraded upholstery, LED supplemental lamps, remote start, reverse parking sensors, heated mirrors with puddle lamps, satellite radio compatibility, and 18-inch painted aluminum wheels.
Limited models feel like true luxury cars, as they include features like 10-way power front seats with lumbar, power-adjustable pedals, perforated leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, ambient lighting, Intelligent Access with Push-Button Start, a universal garage-door opener and the full MyFord Touch system which includes an 8-inch touch screen with smaller reconfigurable instrument displays; a media hub with USB in ports, an SD card reader and input jacks, as well as a long list of additional Sync Services.
The Taurus SHO includes a strong, 365-hp, 3.5L EcoBoost turbocharged V6, as well as a sport-tuned suspension, steering-wheel paddle-shifters, aluminum pedals, a dual exhaust, HID headlamps, Piano Black (glossy black) mesh grille and lamp bezel details, a rear spoiler, fender vents, special leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and badging throughout. A popular equipment package adds a rear window sunshade, automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers, second-row heated seats, a heated steering wheel and a Sony stereo that includes HD Radio.
An SHO Performance Package adds a stiffer suspension tune, performance brake pads, a sportier steering calibration, a Track Mode (fully disabled) stability control, an Alcantara steering wheel and 20-inch machined-and-painted wheels with summer performance tires.
Other options include Multicontour Seats, which gently massage the backs of front-seat passengers, helping to prevent fatigue and the available Lane-Keeping System that helps warn the driver should the vehicle veer from visible lane markings.
The big sedan, that icon of American roads, became an endangered species as gasoline prices climbed, and drivers were not so keen on dumping the entire contents of their wallets in the tank. The 2013 Ford Taurus looks like an attempt to save the big sedan, modernizing the vehicle to fit our current economic and ecological circumstances.
Although almost 17 feet long and featuring slablike sides, the Taurus' front-wheel-drive platform and independent suspension mark a big departure from its massive, road-crushing forebearers. A V-8 does not appear on the menu, but the Taurus' V-6 produces more than equivalent horsepower compared with those old behemoths.
As a further slap at the past, Ford offers the Taurus with a four-cylinder engine. However, with direct injection and a turbocharger giving it 240 horsepower, Ford's EcoBoost engine puts much of the past big iron to shame.
The Good The big, comfortable 2013 Ford Taurus features a well-tuned and fuel-efficient electric power-steering system, along with a host of driver assistance features that help prevent collisions, and automatically park. An advanced voice command system gives control over navigation, phone, and stereo.
The Bad The MyFord Touch cabin tech suite reacts sluggishly to touch controls, and the navigation system is prone to poor GPS reception.
The Bottom Line The 2013 Ford Taurus presents cabin technology rich in features, from navigation to automatic parallel parking, in an easy-driving large sedan package, but the sluggish touch-screen response can be aggravating.
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