The Taurus is definitely made to be a throw away car. The car had a rebuilt transmission when I bought it and I had to replace the tranny again at 102,000 miles. Now at 140,000, it is slipping again. The oil pan is now leaking as well and the a/c just went out, Had to replace speed sensor as well, cost $500 bucks. It rides rough, is loud, and uses brakes up very fast. I take great care of my cars and wonder how much trouble I would have had if I didn't. I am now giving up on Fords.
Roomy inside and roomy trunk as well, controls easy to get to.
Different transmission, make it less noisy to drive and smoother to drive ... actually, just go back to the drawing board.
Because they depreciate so fast, especially with high mileage, I was able to buy this Taurus very cheaply. It is rated well in safety so I gave it as gift to my son. Excellent car with few problems until the tranny went at 120,000. I should not have replaced it. Since then it has been ball joints, struts, oil pan and gaskets and major brake work. Now at 150,000 it needs another tranny, serpentine belt pulley, exhaust, and wheel bearings. The Taurus is probably a good buy with low mileage, but sell it before it gets much over the 100,000 mark. Long term buyers should go with foreign makes.
Economical and reliable until it gets real mileage.
This is a great used wagon for the money if you can find one that has been used gently, i.e., was maintained on conservative intervals. There's easily enough room for 5 people, and the cargo space is truly enormous. The base Vulcan engine (145 hp) lacks power but is quiet and smooth. The upside of the car's tremendous weight is its stability and, while no one wants to go head to head with an SUV, this biggie wagon feels solid. I've been quite happy.
Space! Low-to-the-ground, so drives like a car instead of a mushy SUV. Engine is quiet, interior noise is low. Gains tremendous speed going downhill (probably because it's shaped like a torpedo and is the same weight as one).
Sturdier brakes, sturdier transmission, make certain basic maintenance items (replacing blinker bulbs, cabin air filter, etc.) easier to access. Remove open door sensors from actual latch (they get gummed up--WD40 fixes it).
The SHO is a fun-to-drive vehicle. Although the ride is somewhat harsh, it handles well and has more than adequate power. Mileage is decent for a car with this much power. The interior is well-laid out and the controls are easy to reach. The car is well-optioned, and includes climate control, which is nice to have. My major concern is the poor camshaft design, which really ruined the owning experience of this vehicle for me. Also, they could have made sure that parts are more readily available. For example, the electronically-controlled suspension has unique, expensive struts. They would have been well- advised to update the V6 from the previous SHO's rather than go with a new V8.
The drivetrain is the strength of the car. Ride is comfortable on long trips. A ton of optional equipment. Sound system is one of the best I have heard in a stock auto.
Where Ford really messed up is the splined camshaft sprocket. When mine failed at 46K miles, it caused $2100 worth of damage and took 7 weeks to repair. Parts are hard to come by (struts), and repairs that are straight-forward on other cars are difficult on this one: the spark plugs took 4 hours!
Ford hurt my feelings with this car. Have had lots of trouble with my Taurus. Thought it would be a nice, economy car with a long, worry-free life. Wrong! Lots of little annoying problems, like the door ajar switches sticking and making the lights stay on, numerous sensor problems, rotors, etc. Replaced the head and gasket at 80,000, radiator has "gunk" in it even after numerous flushes/cleanings. Can hear the "water" running when you turn. Now it is missing, again, after replacing spark plugs/wires 3 different times. Afraid the transmission will go any day. Other than that, I like to drive it and it is a comfortable ride. Just wish it was more dependable.