What's New for 2000
Many changes are in store for the 2000 Taurus. Styling is the most obvious, with a new look for both the front and rear. Improved safety comes from a new airbag-deployment system, adjustable pedals, seatbelt pre-tensioners and child safety-seat anchors. The ride has been made more comfortable and the powertrain has been updated for more power and less noise. The V8-powered SHO has been dropped from the lineup.
It's like the WWF, but for cars. Each year, Ford's Taurus jumps into the ring to duke it out with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. The goal? To earn the title of No. 1. You know that each company's marketing department can barely contain itself over the chance to call its respective car the "best-selling car in America!"
In hopes of putting the Taurus on top for 2000, Ford put its main contender through the automotive equivalent of a Tae-Bo class, endowing it with better safety, styling, power and suspension.
Topping the safety list is Ford's Personal Safety System. It's a collection of components that allows the car to more fully understand the nature of a crash and factors in whether or not the seatbelts are in use. With the system, the dual-stage airbags inflate at two different rates, depending on the situation. Additionally, safety belts are equipped with pre-tensioners that are designed to help reduce the risk of force-related injuries in a crash. Taurus also becomes the first car in North America to offer power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, allowing drivers of smaller stature to move the pedals toward their feet rather than moving the seat too close to the steering wheel.
The styling changes are a welcome improvement. All exterior panels on the 2000 Taurus are new with the exception of the doors. The grille opening is wider to give the car a larger, more substantial front-end appearance. Headlamps are larger and 20 percent brighter. Additional changes add headroom and a bit of cargo room to an interior that already received high marks from us.
Ford says the chassis has been revised to give a smoother ride without adversely affecting handling. The company also says steering and alignment refinements give Taurus better on-center feel and directional stability. Larger 16-inch tires and wheels are standard.
The 2000 Taurus powertrains have been refined to increase power, improve midrange torque and reduce NVH. The Vulcan and Duratec V6s now generate 155 and 200 horsepower, respectively. Transmissions have been updated for smoother shifting. Both the Vulcan and Duratec engines meet low-emission vehicle (LEV) standards in California and the Northeastern states.
The Taurus has always been a good value. Will the changes to styling, safety, horsepower and handling be enough to pin the Accord and Camry to the mat for a three-count? You, the consumer, will be the one to make that final decision.