Used 1997 Ford Taurus SHO Review




what's new

A few new exterior color choices are added and there are minor changes to a couple of optional equipment packages.

vehicle overview

After last year's dramatic redesign of the Taurus, Ford is playing it safe, trying to keep costs down as their top-selling vehicle faces sharp criticism from the press and closed checkbooks of potential buyers who are less than captivated by this vehicle's startling new shape.

We have been able to spend some time with the Taurus and its stablemate the Mercury Sable and have found ourselves won over by this odd-looking family sedan and wagon. If you can get past the strange curves and odd snout, the Taurus still offers a lot of car for the money. Upon settling into the Tauruses cockpit, the first thing most drivers notice is the logical placement of the controls and the great outward visibility. Unlike previous Taurus's, which had an unpleasant dashboard and bad blind spots created by the C-pillars, the new model is easy to get acquainted with. The integrated control panel, which combines stereo and climate control functions, is a joy to behold when compared to most of the Taurus's competition. Interior room in the Taurus is great, offering comfortable seating for five full-size adults and their cargo. The Taurus has comfortable seats, a plethora of cupholders and ashtrays, nicely integrated armrests and optional rear-passenger air conditioningcontrols.

Not many people buy midsized sedans for their outstanding handling characteristics, and for the most part the Taurus does not address these people's concerns. Nonetheless, the Taurus is not a bad driver, offering capable acceleration with the Duratec V6 engine found on the LX sedan and wagon, and decent handling with the MacPherson front/quadralink rear suspension setup. Unfortunately, the redesigned Taurus SHO is a bit of a disappointment. Sure it has a V8, the first one ever squeezed into a Taurus, but its lack of a manual transmission and slower acceleration times are a poor substitute for the car that basically defined the American sports sedan segment for the previous seven years.

The Taurus still offers plenty of car, definitely our choice over the less-than-sophisticated Chevrolet Lumina or plain-Jane Buick Century. There are, however, a number of great choices from Europe, Japan and the US that are threatening the Taurus's headlock on the best-selling-car-in-America title. People that want to buy American should definitely put this near the top of their list, but people who are turned-off by its exterior styling may find comfort in the competitively priced Honda Accord or redesigned Toyota Camry being sold down the road.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.