Once the king of new cars, the Ford Taurus has seen a major decline since it last topped the sales chart in 1996. The nameplate was actually dropped for 2007 but revived the following year replacing the Ford Five Hundred, but the car is now set for a triumphant return. Building off the safety that the fifth-generation Taurus became known for, Ford designers focused on creating a worthy successor to a car that essentially rewrote automotive designs when it debuted in 1986. Unlike the original, the 2010 Ford Taurus now features sporty, angular lines and a stylish cabin.
When the new 2010 Taurus goes on sale this summer, it will likely compete against the two cars that knocked it from its throne, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, but it is priced more evenly with other full-sized sedans like the Dodge Charger, Nissan Maxima and Hyundai Genesis. Ranging in between the Accord and Maxima, the Taurus’ $25,995 starting MSRP is about middle of the pack.
The overall theme of the new Taurus’ design is an aggressive, sporty design. Since the criticism that the third-generation Taurus brought Ford, the most recent two body styles were done very conservatively. With its sharp lines and hard creases, the 2010 Taurus has a design that is as fresh as the original. Except for the sleek front end treatment, it appears the inspiration for the new Taurus came directly from the gorgeous 2007 Ford Interceptor concept – one of Ford’s better concepts in recent history.
While the chopped look of the concept’s roofline probably wouldn’t have been a popular feature on full-size production car, the Taurus does get a high beltline and small side windows giving the slight impression of what the concept was all about. The high beltline and small side windows give the new Taurus a . Along the side, the Taurus has sharp character lines that cuts that seems to cut through the side of the car ending in some rather interesting looking dimples in the rear quarter panels. Even from the rear, the square-ish taillights intersected by a thick chrome bar and the bumper-less line from the decklid to the exhaust outlets, were obviously inspired by the Interceptor. As much as we loved the Interceptor concept and can appreciate the design themes that carried over, our favorite view of Ford’s new flagship sedan is definitely the front end. Replacing the concept’s squared-off frontal area, the 2010 Taurus is sleek and aggressive with thin, sporty headlamps and a new interpretation Frod’s three-bar chrome grille. Crisp, subtle lines give the fascia character and the bulging hood suggests this is more than a rental-special Taurus.
Similar to the redesigned exterior, the new Taurus’ cabin has a sporty tone. Just like the turnaround over at General Motors, the new Taurus features a stylish interior that hopefully shows what Ford has in store for the future. One of the more stylish aspects of the interior is the instrument panel. With a similar dual brow look that debuted on the 2010 Mustang, the Taurus’ dash flows smoothly into the door panels and center stack. Although the new Taurus gives off a sports sedan vibe, if it’s anything like the 2008-2009 Taurus, it will also be plenty capable of accommodating five adults.
As highly as the fifth-generation Taurus was regarded for its safety, the all-new model further builds on with available options such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Ford’s MyKey programmable parental control feature is also optional and allows for programable limits in speed and audio control as well as sounding a continuous alert if seat belts aren’t worn aimed at improving the driving habits of teenage drivers. Of course, SYNC is available but the Taurus also gets push-button starting and Sirius Travel link as additional convenience features to finish off the completely redesigned cabin.
One area that didn’t require such a drastic overhaul on the new sedan is the drivetrain. Ford’s proven 3.5-liter Duratec V-6 is still the only engine option (except in the 2010 Ford Taurus SHO) as is the case with the smooth-shifting six-speed automatic. With 263 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque, the Taurus has plenty of power to back of its sporty new look. A new feature in the transmission is the availability of SelectShift on SEL, Limited and SHO models. SelectShift allows the driver to enjoy either the conventional operation of an automatic transmission or the enjoyment of manually shifting gears using shift paddles mounted to the back of the steering wheel. One trick feature available when using the paddle shifters is that the engine automatically matches the revs when upshifting or downshifting to optimize engine responsive. Although final fuel economy estimates have not been released, expect the 2010 Taurus to do slightly better than its predecessor’s 18 miles per gallon city/28 mpg highway (FWD model) due to a sleeker, more aerodynamic shape. Carrying over the four-wheel independent suspension layout, the new Taurus should ride just as smoothly as the outgoing model.
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