I bought my 96 Taurus in 2003 with 65 K on it. I paid $3500 for it. I had it up to 200K and it was still running great. Replaced the normal stuff like brakes, a radiator, oil sending unit. Had to replace valve cover gaskets but that is about it other than standard maintenance for 8 years. I got rear ended and because of the age it was totaled. Sorry to see it go. On average I put about $300 to $500 into it. I loved this car even though the seats hurt my back but I cut out a piece of foam for back support. It's not stylish or cool but what was really cool was the total cost of ownership which is the most important to me.
I just bought a 2003 Taurus SES. I hope it's half as good as my 96.