After it hit the market for the 1986 model year, the Ford Taurus quickly became a sensation in America. This front-wheel-drive midsize family sedan looked like no other Ford before it and won over car shoppers with its comfortable and roomy cabin and affordable price.
Throughout its first decade of production, the Ford Taurus was consistently one of the best-selling cars in America. As the years wore on, however, the Taurus' popularity declined considerably due to stagnating design and more desirable competitors. As a used car purchase, we'd probably consider something else. Although Ford briefly killed the Taurus in the mid 2000s, it was soon resurrected as a revamp of the Five Hundred full-size sedan.
The current-generation Taurus is still mechanically based on that car, but looks entirely different and offers notable improvements in powertrains, interior quality and features. Although this Taurus is certainly a competitive car, other, more recently redesigned full-size sedans are generally more appealing.
Current Ford Taurus
The Taurus is a large sedan cast in the traditional American mold. In other words, it's unabashedly large, sports more than a few chrome accents and provides a plush, quiet ride. The Taurus is offered in base SE, midlevel SEL, plush Limited and sporty SHO trims.
The typical Taurus will be front-wheel drive with the base 3.5-liter V6, a solid engine that cranks out 288 horsepower. All-wheel drive is optional. Also optional is a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 240 hp and gets among the best mpg in the large sedan segment. If performance is on your mind, Ford offers the Taurus SHO and its twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 good for a healthy 365 hp and a sub-6-second 0-60 time. A six-speed automatic with manual shift control is the only available transmission for any Taurus.
Standard equipment highlights include alloy wheels, full power accessories, a power driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system. Higher trim levels add niceties like bigger wheels, the Sync and MyFord Touch electronics interfaces, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, a power passenger seat and leather upholstery. Taurus options, depending on trim level, include a sunroof, adaptive cruise control, massaging front seats, a navigation system (with HD radio) and a 12-speaker Sony-branded premium audio system.
In reviews, we've been mostly impressed by the current Taurus. The styling is distinctive, as is the cabin with its twin-cowl dashboard layout and ample feature content. Rear passenger space is a bit tighter than we expect from a large car and its rising beltline, thick roof pillars and tall center console can make the interior feel confining. On the other hand, the trunk is massive.
On the road, the Taurus provides a comfortable, quiet ride. Handling of non-SHO versions, however, isn't as impressive. Whereas other large sedans drive like smaller cars, the Taurus feels every bit its substantial size as it has a lumbering feel around turns. The sport-tuned suspension on SHO models, especially those with the optional Performance package, noticeably sharpens up the handling while still providing a good ride. Performance ranges from ample with the turbocharged four and base V6 engines to thrilling with the SHO's twin-turbo V6.
Read the most recent 2016 Ford Taurus review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Ford Taurus page.
For more on past Ford Taurus models, view our Ford Taurus history page.