What's New for 2007
The 2007 Ford Taurus has been withdrawn for purchase by the general consumer and is now available for fleet sales only. Within a year or two, some of these '07 models will turn up on used car lots, most of them ex-rental cars.
Back in the mid-'80s, Ford fielded the Taurus to battle the hot-selling Honda Accord and Toyota Camry for family sedan supremacy. And for many years, the Taurus made a strong showing in the sales race, though substantial fleet and rental sales numbers plumped up its figures. But the Taurus hasn't won a match since the mid-'90s, and indeed hasn't changed that much since 1996. Last year, with the loss of its 200-horsepower "Duratec" V6, the cancellation of the wagon body style and the debut of the handsome midsize Ford Fusion (a much more up-to-date sedan based on the Mazda 6 platform), the Taurus was essentially reduced to base rental car status. For 2007, that's exactly what happened, as the car will only be sold new to fleet customers.
This is not to say the Taurus is a bad car. It's roomy, safe and loaded with features for the price. But questionable build quality, an unrefined driving experience and expected poor resale value are the negatives. For fleet buyers, these qualities might not be much of an issue. General consumers, however, are advised to consider all other options for a midsize sedan before settling on what will almost certainly be a used 2007 Taurus that lived the first part of its life in a rental fleet.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
For the 2007 Ford Taurus, there a two trim levels: SE and SEL. The SE comes with keyless entry, air conditioning, cassette stereo, power windows and mirrors, cruise control, a trip computer and a front bench seat (allowing the car to seat up to six). Step up to SEL trim and you also get a keyless-entry keypad on the driver-side door, color-matched rearview mirrors with approach lamps, alloy wheels, an alarm system, a CD player, wood trim accents and front bucket seats with a center console, floor shifter and power seat adjustments for the driver. Options include the Preferred Equipment Package for the SE, with alloy wheels, rear spoiler and power driver seat, and the Premium Package for the SEL that adds a six-disc CD changer, automatic climate control, leather seating, rear spoiler, power passenger seat, HomeLink universal transceiver and auto headlamps.
Powertrains and Performance
The Taurus is equipped with a dated 3.0-liter "Vulcan" V6 that produces just 153 hp and 185 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard. Performance, as one might expect in this age of 260-hp family sedans, is rather meek. Mileage estimates are 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.
An optional Safety/Security package bundles front seat-mounted side airbags, antilock brakes and traction control. Overall, the Taurus earned respectable ratings in crash tests. In NHTSA testing, frontal crash tests resulted in four stars for the driver and five (the highest possible) for the front passenger, while side-impact testing garnered three stars. In 40-mph frontal offset testing conducted by the IIHS, the Taurus earned a "Good" rating (the highest possible) and was named a "Best Pick" among family cars.
Interior Design and Special Features
As this generation of the Taurus is essentially 11 years old, the cabin has a dated look and feel, though most controls are easy to use. Though not all that supportive, the large seats accommodate people of all sizes. Six passengers can be transported with the front bench seat version, which also includes a nifty flip-forward center section that offers cupholders and storage cubbies. The trunk measures a spacious 17 cubic feet.
With its architecture stretching back a few decades, the Vulcan V6 is noisy and lackluster, even compared to rivals' four-cylinder engines, some of which have 20 more horsepower than this V6. The transmission is likewise unrefined, as it's slow to downshift and not always smooth with its gearchanges. The ride is generally agreeable, though severe bumps and ruts can jostle occupants and handling is likewise "middle of the road." With drum brakes in the back, the Taurus' braking distances are on the long side compared to most competitors.