Used 1996 Ford Taurus Sedan

1996 Ford Taurus
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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

The biggest automotive story for 1996 is the total redesign of the Ford Taurus. Longer, wider and larger inside than the old Taurus, the 1996 model sports sleek and modern styling; almost as unconventional as that of the original Taurus, which debuted to much fanfare and acclaim in 1986. Four trim levels, G, GL, LX and SHO, are available as well as two body styles. Wagons can be had in GL or LX trim only.

Ford claims that the new Taurus sports 87 percent greater torsional stiffness. Part of this increase is directly attributable to the fact that the entire side of the new Taurus is a single stamped section of steel, except for the doors, of course. Glass area is up 28 percent lending the Taurus a lighter, more airy feel than its predecessor. MacPherson struts hold up the front of the new Taurus, while a quadralink rear suspension, similar to that found on the 1995 Lincoln Continental, keeps the rear of the car in line. Standard tire size on GL and LX models is P205/65 R15.

An improved Vulcan 3.0-liter V6 powers the G and GL models, pumping out 145 horsepower. Order LX trim and get an all-aluminum twin-cam 3.0-liter Duratec V6 good for 200 healthy ponies. SHO models will be infused with 240 Yamaha-built horses produced by eight cylinders; it will be the first time a V8 will be offered on the Taurus. LX models run to 60 mph in about eight seconds.

Front disc and rear drum brakes are standard. Anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes are optional on G, GL and LX; standard on SHO. Sporting the same steering rack as the Lincoln Continental, Ford says that steering feel and response is much improved over the old version.

Standard equipment includes air conditioning, five-mph bumpers, dual power heated mirrors, rear seat heat ducts, split-fold rear seats and a battery saver system. Innovations on the 1996 Taurus include an Integrated Control Panel which combines stereo and climate controls in one easy-to-use pod. Stereo componentry has been relocated to the trunk. A patented three-way flip-fold console is available in cars equipped with six-passenger seating. In its upright position, the console is a seating position. Flip it down, and it's an armrest. Flip it once more, and it turns into a handy storage bin with cupholders and room for audio cassettes. Optional on Taurus Wagon is an integrated child seat.

We must admit that we're a bit skeptical about the fishy-faced styling of the new car, but our initial shock has diminished to a vague distaste. In time, we'll likely find it to be quite attractive. Preliminary reports indicate that the Taurus is indeed a much improved sedan, ready to go head-to-head with the best in this class. Time, and a test drive, will tell.

1996 Highlights

All-new Taurus debuts in sedan and wagon format, available in GL, LX and SHO trim levels. New or substantially revised engines and suspensions improve the performance of the Taurus, while several functional innovations make the car easier and more enjoyable to drive.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Ford Taurus.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Solid Piece of Metal
I purchased this in 2013 with only 46,000 miles on it for only $2,000. Needed $500 worth of work to pass inspection, which had to do with the front stabilizing rods. This car is extremely reliable, although at times the transmission slams when going from park to reverse because of its high idle function. Had to put another $200 in a few months after purchase to repair ruptured brake line. Starts right up and has a really great hum to it. I get better gas mileage than its rated for, about 22mpg combined compared to the 18 or so its rated for, but I drive gently. UPDATE: Unfortunately, with only a little over 70k miles on it, the Engine started to make a weird knocking or tapping noise sporadically when the engine was under load and at lower RPMs although it still ran fine. I could definitely tell something was starting to go wrong, not to mention a bunch of check engine codes. I took it to a bunch of engine mechanics and they all said by the time they could tell me what was wrong, I might as well just get another engine and with the age of the car there was no way I was doing that. Put it on Craigslist and somebody purchased it locally -- they were willing to take their chances on the repair costs given a very reasonable price. All in all, happy with this car but wish I would have gotten a few more years out of it.
The Green Monster
Bought this car as a replacement to my 98 Suzuki . Got it from a friend for $600 with about 140,000 miles. Needed a new battery, catalytic converter, ball joints, and AC system. Through all this I got the car and loved every second of it. Only thing I ended up fixing was the battery, all others were too expensive a repair. In the time I had it the left front turn signal burned out probably twenty or thirty times. But this car drove like a dream. I drive 50 miles a day and only had to fill up once every week and a half. Sadly I hit a deer after 6 months of having it. Tiny deer hit the airbag sensor at 40MPH and to fix would be $1,000, on top of the other fixes. But now I'm looking for another
96 Taurus LX
This is a great car. The Duratec engine has more than enough power (the response is amazing when you put the hammer down), and the ride is very smooth, and the seats are very supportive and comfortable on a long drive. Being tall, this car fits me well. Unlike similar Japanese competitors, this car actually feels like it has substance to it. The steering is tight, the 4-wheel disc brakes are powerful and the doors close nicely. It's well built. The controls are well placed, and the standard casette non-JBL stereo is great. I don't know why people hate these cars so much. If you take care of it, it will last a long time. No problems so far...knock on wood.
It Won't Die!
This car was originally purchased by my dad in teh fall of 1996 (I was only in middle school, but I remember going with him to buy it). Since then, the car has been driven by my mom, my sister (took a lot of abuse, as she learned to drive in it), and finally me. I use it primarily as my second car, particularly to transport my big dogs back and forth to the park (hard to lift them into my suv). It has 217,000 miles and is still going on the original engine and transmission. Sure, it's definitely showing its age, but it amazes me how well this thing still drives. Also, I'm amazed at how many of these things (96-97 model years) I still see driving around.
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Features & Specs

15 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
240 hp @ 6500 rpm
18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
145 hp @ 5250 rpm
18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
200 hp @ 5750 rpm
See all Used 1996 Ford Taurus Sedan features & specs


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1996 Ford Taurus
Used 1996 Ford Taurus Sedan Overview

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Find a used Ford Taurus for sale - 12 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $11,316.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Ford Taurus?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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