I bought my Taurus a little bit ago, and overall so far its been a good car. Transmission has not failed yet (knock on wood - has 148k on it), but it does shift quite hard and abruptly. Check engine light has been on since I've had brought it to be looked at and apparently its nothing, so I don't know about that issue. If your looking for something cheap to go from point A to point B, go for it, if your looking for something for road rrips, get a Honda.
The radio control on the dashboard.
No improvements - just make the newer models much better than the 94!