Overview & Reviews
After it hit the market for the 1986 model year, the Ford Taurus quickly became a sensation in America. This front-wheel-drive midsize family sedan looked like no other Ford before it and won over car shoppers with its comfortable and roomy cabin and affordable price.
Throughout its first decade of production, the Ford Taurus was consistently one of the best-selling cars in America. As the years wore on, however, the Taurus' popularity declined considerably due to stagnating design and more desirable competitors. As a used car purchase, we'd probably consider something else. Although Ford briefly killed the Taurus in the mid 2000s, it was soon resurrected as a revamp of the Five Hundred full-size sedan.
The current-generation Taurus is still mechanically based on that car, but looks entirely different and offers notable improvements in powertrains, interior quality and features. Although this Taurus is certainly a competitive car, other, more recently redesigned full-size sedans are generally more appealing.
Current Ford Taurus
The Taurus is a large sedan cast in the traditional American mold. In other words, it's unabashedly large, sports more than a few chrome accents and provides a plush, quiet ride. The Taurus is offered in base SE, midlevel SEL, plush Limited and sporty SHO trims.
The typical Taurus will be front-wheel drive with the base 3.5-liter V6, a solid engine that cranks out 288 horsepower. All-wheel drive is optional. Also optional is a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 240 hp and gets among the best mpg in the large sedan segment. If performance is on your mind, Ford offers the Taurus SHO and its twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 good for a healthy 365 hp and a sub-6-second 0-60 time. A six-speed automatic with manual shift control is the only available transmission for any Taurus.
Standard equipment highlights include alloy wheels, full power accessories, a power driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system. Higher trim levels add niceties like bigger wheels, the Sync and MyFord Touch electronics interfaces, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, a power passenger seat and leather upholstery. Taurus options, depending on trim level, include a sunroof, adaptive cruise control, massaging front seats, a navigation system (with HD radio) and a 12-speaker Sony-branded premium audio system.
In reviews, we've been mostly impressed by the current Taurus. The styling is distinctive, as is the cabin with its twin-cowl dashboard layout and ample feature content. Rear passenger space is a bit tighter than we expect from a large car and its rising beltline, thick roof pillars and tall center console can make the interior feel confining. On the other hand, the trunk is massive.
On the road, the Taurus provides a comfortable, quiet ride. Handling of non-SHO versions, however, isn't as impressive. Whereas other large sedans drive like smaller cars, the Taurus feels every bit its substantial size as it has a lumbering feel around turns. The sport-tuned suspension on SHO models, especially those with the optional Performance package, noticeably sharpens up the handling while still providing a good ride. Performance ranges from ample with the turbocharged four and base V6 engines to thrilling with the SHO's twin-turbo V6.
Used Ford Taurus Models
The current Taurus is representative of the sixth-generation Taurus that debuted for 2010. Although it shared its powertrain and accommodating cabin with the previous version, most agreed that the sixth generation was a big improvement in terms of design, inside and out. This generation also signaled the return of the potent SHO model, which sported the most powerful engine ever seen in a Taurus.
From 2010-'12, the Taurus' base V6 engine made 263 hp. For 2013, that engine's output was increased to 288 hp, the car's styling was refreshed, the turbocharged four-cylinder debuted and the SHO could be had with a Performance package that included a firmer suspension, upgraded brakes and stickier tires. That year also saw the MyFord Touch electronics interface make its way to the Taurus.
The previous fifth-generation Taurus was technically produced only from 2008-'09, although prior to that, this particular car was known as the Five Hundred. Those interested in a used Taurus should keep this in mind, since despite its flaws, the Five Hundred was indeed a better car than the Taurus that was sold alongside it.
The 2008-'09 Taurus was a full-size sedan available with one engine: a 3.5-liter 263-hp V6 mated to a six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive was available as an option. Trim levels included the base SE, the midgrade SEL and the loaded-up Limited. Even base models came nicely equipped with power front seats, a leather-wrapped wheel, an auxiliary audio jack, stability control and a full complement of airbags. The Limited came with items such as leather upholstery, driver-seat memory settings and the Sync system.
The interior hardly won design awards for its visual flair, but the controls were logically arrayed and there were plenty of storage areas. Legroom was plentiful front and back, and the distinctive driving position was SUV-like in elevation -- a boon for shorter drivers, but potentially a headroom-robbing annoyance for taller ones. This Taurus' trunk was nothing short of gargantuan.
These are all core attributes shared with the Five Hundred it replaced, along with outstanding crash test scores, good outward visibility and competent handling that didn't detract from ride comfort. But the Taurus' meatier power, quieter cabin, comfier ride and higher level of feature content (including the excellent Sync electronics interface) make it a more attractive choice than the Five Hundred.
The previous (fourth) Taurus generation ran from 2000-'06. Although the basic body shell was identical to the third-generation Taurus, this version dispensed with many of the oval-themed components used before and the result was a more attractive car.
A pair of 3.0-liter V6 engines (155 hp and 200 hp) were the engine choices and a four-speed automatic remained the lone transmission. Four trim levels were offered: base LX, midlevel SE models and luxury-themed SES and SEL. Even the LX provided air-conditioning and power windows, while springing for the SEL meant you got the 200-horse V6, an in-dash six-CD player and automatic climate control. By the end of this generation, just two trims remained (SE and SEL) and the wagon was dropped. Also, in a fit of American carmaker rationale, the better of the two engines (the 200-hp V6) was discontinued as well.
In an Edmunds.com 2000 family sedan comparison test, the Ford Taurus finished a respectable third out of nine cars, thanks to strong performance (it had the 200-hp V6), solid handling and ride dynamics, and a user-friendly cabin. Six years down the road, however, it was easily eclipsed by more competent rivals from Japan and Korea.
The 1996-'99 third-generation Taurus was an odd duck that considerably softened the formerly best-selling car's appeal. Evidently using Ford's oval symbol for inspiration, the Taurus designers went overboard on ovals, with the car's grille, rear window and dashboard's center stack having the ellipsoid form. Trim levels were comprised of base G, midlevel GL, luxury LX and high-performance SHO.
The high point of this third generation was the debut of the Duratec V6 that made 200 hp. It was offered alongside the dated, 145-hp Vulcan V6. The high-performance Taurus SHO was fitted with a 3.4-liter V8 that made 235 hp. No manual gearbox was available, however, so like every other Taurus, the SHO had a four-speed automatic. In our road test of a 1999 Taurus (with the base V6) we found performance acceptable but unrefined, the transmission sometimes slow to downshift and the ergonomics confusing. On the upside, the seats were comfortable, handling was composed and the brakes (with optional ABS) were strong and progressive.
The second-generation Ford Taurus ran from 1992-'95. An evolution of the original, its lower-profile nose and slightly crisper lines tastefully updated the car, while hardware improvements included new safety features such as antilock brakes and a passenger side airbag. Trim levels initially stood pat at L, GL, LX and SHO, though a sporty SE debuted in the last year (1995) of this generation.
Most Taurus sedans and wagons came with either a 3.0-liter V6 or 3.8-liter V6. Horsepower was the same at 140, but the larger engine provided more torque. This generation's SHO was available for the first time with an automatic transmission. (It was manual-only before.) Auto-equipped SHOs had a larger version of the muscular V6 (3.2 liters versus 3.0), though engine output (220 hp) was the same for both SHO engines.
The first-generation Ford Taurus ran from 1986-'91. Compared to the boxy architecture of its competition, the jelly bean (and aerodynamically efficient) look of the Taurus was a breath of fresh air. A 90-hp inline-4 (with either a manual or automatic transmission) and a 140-hp V6 (automatic only) were offered. The former engine was a joke in a midsize family sedan, so it was eventually cancelled. On the other end of the spectrum was the hot-rod SHO, which featured a ripping 3.0-liter V6 designed by Yamaha that made 220 hp and sent this family sedan to 60 mph in around 7 seconds. Thanks to its handsome looks, solid overall performance and accommodating cabin, the first Taurus was a home run for Ford that rode the top of the sales charts for much of its early life.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 1,954.00
Love my Taurus - 2005 Ford Taurus
By Steve Book - January 1 - 6:58 pm
Solid Car - its a tank in the snow, and for a 3.0L engine, has lots of low end power.
So Ends My Great Relationship with My '07 Taurus - 2007 Ford Taurus
By flin1 - December 31 - 9:56 am
This car was great. All I ever did was get good tires for it and put in full synthetic oil. I bought it about 6 years ago with 36K on it and sold it with 87K and it never gave me a minute of trouble. I babied it and kept it sparkling clean and garaged and it's great condition was a big reason why I was able to sell it for top dollar. They're all getting old now so I won't be getting another but I'll always have fond memories of this car. It never broke.
Our 2015 Taurus Limited is Awesome - 2015 Ford Taurus
By KB Jolley - December 29 - 10:05 pm
My wife is extremely happy with the looks, performance, handling, comfort and equipment of her 2015 Ford Taurus Limited. We find the car to be an extraordinary value for the money. She is a retired DMV Statewide Training Officer for and has trained many Examiners and accident investigators... She also holds a California CDL and has given drive tests in everything from big rigs to Motorcycles and was very impressed with the how her 2013 Taurus withstood being rear ended. She had driven her 2013 Taurus SEL in excess of 50,000 problem free miles prior to being rear ended at a stop light by a Large raised 4 wheel drive pickup. Her vehicle was propelled into 2 other cars which were in line in front of her. In spite of the severity of the crash and damage incurred totaling her vehicle, it absorbed the collision remarkably well and automatically dialed 911. She and 3 teenage girls in the car escaped without major injuries. My wife and one of the girls were taken to the hospital for observation but were released later that night. At least one person in a vehicle in front of her was also hospitalized at least overnight.. We looked, researched and test drove several other vehicles of various brands and sizes including some SUV's, but my wife found nothing she like nearly as well as the Taurus. FYI the Taurus thru 2015 is built on the Volvo chassis which Ford owned until recently. We are very pleased with this vehicle as we were with the prior one. It is a comfortable vehicle which drives well and has decent but not great fuel economy. We hope this helps
Solid Sedan - 2013 Ford Taurus
By Matt - December 28 - 9:02 pm
Couldn't be happier! The car rides smoothly with very little outside noise and the cabin is big, comfortable, and reasonably well finished. The trunk is massive also! It is very attractive and surprisingly efficient and powerful. No problems passing and get 21 mpg city/30 mpg hwy but have gotten up to 39 MPG at one point. Handling isn't fun but is very secure and steers right where you want it to.
Ok in the city gave me money's worth. - 2005 Ford Taurus
By bob - December 16 - 4:05 am
1990 to 1996 had transmission problems and Ford paid out generously to repair. After improving design they decided in mid 2000's to use the old style transmission and they went out again, but Ford refuses to repair past 36000. That cost me 2000.00. The rack and pinion steering handles well on the road and at high speeds. I've gotten 185000 out of vehicle. The accelerator pedal sticks when starting out from a stop. If you expect it just pump the pedal and that unsticks it. The catylictic convertor is bad and their design requires 3 converters be replaced at cost of 3500.00(happened at 150,000). I didnt replace instead use mystery oil in the gas tank eliminates any performance problems(8 oz per week)
Nicve Car overall -- Poor resale - 2015 Ford Taurus
By Steven Foster - December 1 - 2:56 pm
The 2015 Taurus SEL AWD Stickered at $40k, wanted the new Mustang....trade in value at dealer $20k -- 50% depreciation in one year and 11k miles
Midsize Station Wagon - 2004 Ford Taurus
By Rolland Elliott - November 24 - 10:18 pm
Transmission failure was way premature. Little things quit working including left outside mirror vertical control and radio won't work in hot weather. Theft prevention works great. Somewhat smaller than Sable wagon.
Doesn't deserve bad press - 2010 Ford Taurus
By Jim - November 11 - 3:00 pm
Good looking great value - 2013 Ford Taurus
By Bill - November 10 - 9:05 pm
The car feels solid when I drive it. I like the driver position. It feels more like a sport sedan than a land barge. I'm 6 ft 220 and fit perfectly.long trips are a pleasure with no fatigue. I feel safe in this car and it's stylish in all black. a lot of features for the money. Fuel economy is good. I like the my ford touch system. Traded my 8 year old f150 which was fantastic and this was the only vehicle that made me even think about trading for.I'm very pleased
Inner tail lights don't light up - 2011 Ford Taurus
By David - November 8 - 11:17 am
I just bought a 2011 Taurus SEL and was very dissatisfied to find out that the inner tail lights that are on the outside of the trunk are basically just there for decoration since they don't light up.