Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book
KBB.com 2004 Ford Taurus Overview
Ford's Bullish Family Sedan Hangs Tough
The Ford Taurus must be the most tenacious family sedan on the planet. It continues into the 2004 model year relatively unchanged, yet after nearly an eight-year model run, the Taurus still manages to remain among the best-selling sedans in the country. If ever the old adage "why mess with a good thing" seems apropos, this must be it.
The Taurus sedan and wagon have achieved their success for a number of good reasons. Beyond the solidly-loyal owner base that returns to the showrooms year after year, Ford's attractive financing deals, heavy discounts and an increase in the car's standard content have also helped spur sales. Yet the most apparent reason for the Taurus' success is clear; it's a dependable, solid automobile that does everything its owners ask of in style and comfort.
For 2004, the Taurus line remains varied, with a number of trim levels that includes the LX, SE, SES and top-of-the-line SEL. Ford has improved upon the Taurus' look by giving it a new egg-crate grille design, freshened front and rear fascias and a number of interior upgrades that include premium cloth seating, a revised instrument cluster and some better fitting interior trim pieces. Engine choices for the Taurus line remain limited to two different V6s. The 155-horsepower Vulcan V6, an engine that certainly can get the job done, but is not really inspirational when it comes to overall power and performance, powers the LX, SE and SES. The one advantage to owning the Vulcan is that it can be ordered in either regular or flexible fuel mode; flexible fuel vehicles can burn gasoline, methanol, or any number of alternative fuels.
Ford's other V6 offering, the 24-valve 3.0-liter Duratec, is optional on the SES and standard on the SEL. With 201-horsepower, this engine seems far better suited to pulling the Taurus and its complement of passengers. You'll find that the Duratec runs quieter, responds quicker and overall just feels more in tune with the Taurus than does the base V6. If you can swing the extra cost, this is the engine you'll want under your hood. All Taurus' use the same electronic four-speed automatic transmissions that feature an adaptive shift control program. Simply put, the Taurus' transmission is able to learn your driving habits and adapt its shift patterns to better suit your needs. So, for example, if you have a lead foot, the transmission will delay upshifts for better off-the-line performance while less anxious drivers will find that their gearing is set to conserve fuel.
On the road, you'll find the Taurus' ride and handling to be well within the acceptable limits set by today's cars. Its aging suspension and somewhat vague power steering won't be inspiring any fast switchback runs, but then again most Taurus owners spend their time either cruising the highway or shuffling the kids to and from appointments, so a rally-tuned suspension isn't really necessary. Most people simply want a quiet place they can relax in, with comfortable seating, an interior that is attractive to the eye and a really good stereo; the Taurus provides all of these things and more. Interior dimensions are generous when it comes to head and legroom, though some might find getting three persons in the rear seat to be a bit of a squeeze. If cargo carrying capacity is a high priority, we suggest you opt for the wagon version which will not only provide you with a larger cargo floor but also gives you the option of seating more passengers with its available third-row seat.
On SES and SEL models, the Taurus interior can look downright plush, with woodgrain appliqus on the dash, steering wheel and doors and the option of leather seating surfaces. Among the many features designed to accommodate the needs of multiple drivers is a set of electrically-adjustable foot pedals, a tilt wheel and optional power seat adjustments for both the driver and passenger. Standard equipment for the Taurus LX includes air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, AM/FM stereo and intermittent wipers. SE, SES and SEL models have even greater content and offer such options as side-impact airbags, traction control, power moon roof, leather interior and a six-disc in-dash CD changer.