Refreshed Taurus has more style, bigger cabin
By IRA SIEGEL For Sun-Times Media December 10, 2012 1:48PM
2013 FORD TAURUS
ENGINE: 288-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6
TRANSMISSION: six-speed automatic
DRIVE TYPE: all-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY: 18 city/26 highway
BASE PRICE: $34,850
AS TESTED: $39,940 (includes $795 for destination)
Having sold more than 7 million copies since its introduction in 1986, the Taurus has become one of the best-selling nameplates in Ford’s history.
While the current rendition hasn’t enjoyed the sales volume experienced by previous generations, this sixth-generation Taurus is a remarkably pleasing and more refined sedan than its predecessors.
Because this is a crowded and competitive segment, the Taurus will likely never see the market share it once enjoyed. Yet I find the Taurus to be pleasing to the senses, and I like the tweaks Ford has made for 2013.
The 2013 Taurus features a sportier, more muscular profile. Its cabin is quieter, more refined and more inviting. An available turbocharged four-cylinder engine helps this large sedan get an impressive 31 mpg highway. It also oozes technological advancements. Improvements have been made to the steering and braking systems to dramatically improve its driving mannerisms.
The 2013 Taurus has better curb appeal thanks to a new front fascia, a more muscular hood and updated rear fascia.
For enthusiasts, the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO offers a more performance-inspired design to differentiate it from the rest of the lineup. Plus, the SHO features a pavement-pounding 365-horsepower turbocharged V-6 engine, beefier brakes and performance-tuned suspension.
The 2013 Taurus is the first car in Ford’s North American lineup to offer the advanced 2.0-liter EcoBoost (turbocharged) four-cylinder engine. Rated at 240 horsepower, this engine offers V-6-like power and impressive fuel economy.
The 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V-6 now delivers 288 horsepower. That’s a 10 percent increase over its predecessor. Plus, fuel economy has been improved to 19/29 mpg (front-wheel drive) thanks to efficiencies like a standard electric power-assisted steering system and active grille shutters that reduce aerodynamic drag at higher speeds.
Fuel economy drops slightly, to 18/26, when opting for the available all-wheel-drive system. All Taurus models come standard with a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission that offers a manual shift mode. SHO models feature steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
You can get the 2013 Ford Taurus in SE, SEL, Limited or SHO trim levels. My tester was a well-equipped 2013 Ford Taurus Limited AWD.
I like the revisions to the braking and steering systems. The brakes feel better thanks to a larger master cylinder and revised booster tuning. The electric steering system reduces sources of noise and vibration along with improving steering dynamics and road feel.
Ford has added torque vectoring control, which applies a slight amount of braking force on the inside front wheel when accelerating through a corner to help the vehicle feel sportier and more maneuverable.
Another technology that has been added is curve control, which helps reduce vehicle speed if it senses that the driver has entered a curve too quickly.
There are a number of available technologies, too, like adaptive cruise control, collision warning with brake support, blind spot detection, active park assist that automatically parks the car and cross-traffic alert to warn drivers when backing out of a parking space.
Inside, the 2013 Taurus looks and feels more refined. The level of craftsmanship has been enhanced.
There’s room for a family of five or four large adults. The cabin is quieter and the seats are comfortable and supportive. The 20.1 cubic feet cargo area is spacious, offering plenty of room for groceries or luggage.
The MyFord Touch interface has been updated with a new version of Ford’s SYNC system, combining voice control for vehicle functions, Bluetooth devices and various external media sources.
Pricing for the Taurus starts around $26,000. The Limited AWD begins at about $35,000, and the SHO is priced around $40,000.
Last year’s Taurus was a fine car. But Ford has made dramatic improvements for 2013, making the Taurus even better and more appealing.
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