The 2016 Ford Taurus will weigh less and deliver better fuel economy and performance, but should still further its legacy as a bona fide full-size American sedan.
Should continue to offer a long list of standard features and cutting-edge options, a quiet and comfortable ride and all-wheel-drive availability.
Current model's cabin feels confining; handling is not as alert or responsive as competitors.
The 2016 Ford Taurus will be thoroughly updated. It should be lighter, faster and more fuel-efficient.
Nearly every automaker strives for a lighter, faster and more fuel-efficient model when it comes time to redesign a car or truck. Lighter begets better fuel economy, which pleases shoppers and government regulators, while faster usually pleases everyone. Ford hopes to nail this trifecta with the 2016 Ford Taurus, a full-size American sedan that has grown too full.
The Taurus is one of the roomiest sedans around, thanks to a vast interior and expansive trunk. It's also one of the heaviest sedans around, thanks to a decade-old chassis based on a modified Volvo design. The current model weighs about 4,050 pounds (nearly 4,500 pounds if you count the high-performance SHO version) and outmasses competitors like the Chevrolet Impala and Kia Cadenza by between 200 and 300 pounds.
To shed weight, Ford will move the Taurus to a longer, wider version of the Fusion sedan's chassis. Expect handling to improve as well. For all of its big American sedan attributes -- that spectacular 20-cubic-foot trunk among them -- the Taurus mostly lumbers like the 2-ton sled that it is.
The 2016 Taurus should carry over upgraded versions of current engine choices. Notably, look for the turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder offered in the new Mustang to migrate to the Taurus. A turbocharged V6 is also likely for the base model; currently, only the high-performance SHO trim level offers a turbo V6. To further boost fuel economy, the new Taurus will offer a nine-speed transmission. The current V6 model returns 23 mpg combined (19 city/29 highway).
Ford also needs to address interior design to make the Taurus competitive. The cabin itself feels classy, the seats are comfortable and the MyFord Touch system lends a high-tech edge. But the car's tall doors, tall center console and thick roof pillars feel confining, giving the Taurus an almost race-cockpit feel up front with poor visibility out of the sides and rear. Other full-size sedans like the Buick Lacrosse, Dodge Charger and Nissan Maxima offer better-packaged interiors that are less dense with plastic and panels.
The redesigned Ford Taurus goes on sale in the fall of 2015. Check back for a full review of the new Taurus, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.