Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Flagship Refined: 2013 Ford Taurus

MSRP: $26,600; price as tested: $32,795

Though it made its mark as a middleweight, Ford’s Taurus moved up in class three years ago. It was fully redone in 2010, when it vacated its title as perennially popular midsize, in favor of a new role as a contender in the large car ranks.

If the 2010 makeover was a reinvention, the byword for 2013 is refinement. Ford’s flagship rolls into showrooms with a bagful of tasteful tweaks and new technology.

Taurus is offered in one body style (four-door sedan) and three trim levels (SE, SEL and Limited). Front wheel drive and all wheel drive versions are available, with a high performance SHO model rounding out the 2013 lineup. Prices start at $26,600. My test drive was in a Taurus Limited with all wheel drive.

The most obvious changes to the new Taurus are those that the eyes can see. The latest look is more aggressive, and starts with a shield shaped front grille. Active shutters embedded there reduce aerodynamic drag at speed, which in turn helps boost gas mileage. The grille is bordered by a pair of long, narrow projector headlamps, and capped by a new, beveled hood, with a lowered, muscular form. The stand-out differences in back are the LED taillights, which provide an upgrade in both looks and visibility.

Sliding inside, the interior’s improvements for 2013 key on comfort and convenience. A carryover from the 2010 redesign is plenty of cargo space and passenger room. The trunk measures a generous, 20.1 cubic feet. The narrow trunk opening hinders the loading of bulky items, and the liftover height to access the space is moderately high.

Leaving the luggage behind, Taurus very comfortably accommodates adults in both rows. It’s a little quieter in the cabin now, thanks to added insulation behind the dash and inside the A-pillars. Soft-touch material is wrapped around most anything you come in contact with, including the sides of the center console.

MyFord Touch (the company’s electronics interface) and SYNC (Ford’s voice-activated communications and entertainment control system) have improved functionality for 2013. The driver can check system information on the eight inch display atop the center stack, as well as in a pair of 4.2-inch color screens nestled on either side of the speedometer. You can also access this system via voice activation, or the five-way toggle switches on the steering wheel.

Speaking of touch, the HVAC system is controlled by touch pad buttons mounted low on the center stack. The buttons are a fairly small target to zero in on while driving, and tough to hit accurately — especially with a winter-gloved hand. Upsizing would also help the font size of the temperature readouts on the main display. Their small size is potentially distracting for the driver. Highlights from the option sheet include a heated steering wheel, power, rear window sunshade, auto high beams, rain sensing wipers and contoured, massaging front seats.

The performance-minded SHO (which we will feature in a future test drive) gets Ford’s 3.5 liter, 365 h.p. EcoBoost V-6 engine. Newly available for 2013 is a 2.0 liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. Taurus is the first, North American model to receive this motor, which, like the other EcoBoost offerings, employs direct injection and turbocharging. It also offers the promise of up to 31 mpg’s on the highway. We’ve not yet had access to the 2.0 liter for testing, and it will be interesting to find out how the four-cylinder feels when powering the two-ton Taurus. My drive time was spent with the volume leading, 3.5 liter DOHC V-6. Standard on all SE, SEL and Limited models, this six is rated at 288 horsepower, and 254 lb. ft. of torque. Like all Taurus models, it’s matched with a six speed automatic transmission. The six/six engine/transmission combo work well together, and return very solid mileage numbers, too. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 19 city/29 highway (FWD), and 18/26 (AWD).

The real corner carver in the Taurus family is the SHO. But, extensive driving of the Limited over twisty, wet and sometimes gravel covered roads revealed it to be very competent and stable feeling. New technology lends a hand, in the form of torque vectoring control and curve control. The former feature places a slight amount of braking force on the front, inside wheel when accelerating out of a corner, for greater control. The latter slows the car if you’re carrying too much speed into a turn (note: these are safety aids, not a license to Drive Dumb. No system is enough to overcome a truly meat-headed motorist). Still on the topic of “whoa,” a bigger brake master cylinder and revised booster tuning give the driver better pedal feel. All Taurus models now enjoy Electronic Power Assisted Steering. Ford has also retuned the hard mounted steering rack, spring and damper rates for balanced ride and handling.

The Taurus competes in the full-size segment with cars like the Buick Lucerne, Hyundai Azera, Toyota Avalon, Chrysler 300 and Nissan Maxima. While this sector may be low key, it’s filled with high quality offerings. Ford’s slant with Taurus is to take the traditional full-size sedan values — room, comfort — wrap them in handsome, new sheet metal, and enhance the package with smart technology. The bigger, bolder Taurus was impressive when it first rolled out three years ago. The latest version is a better car, not thanks to any one big splash, but rather by waves of refinements.

Read more:

2013 Taurus SHO details released

Ford’s 2013 Taurus SHO performance package will feature a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine mated with the automaker’s 6F55 six-speed transmission and torque-sensing all-wheel drive.

Other features include a sport-tuned suspension with stiffer-than-normal springs to enhance traction, and a special braking system with high-performance pads and 18-inch calipers.

This enthusiast’s Taurus can deliver 365 horsepower at 5,500 r.p.m. and 350 pound-feet of torque from 1,500 to 5,250 r.p.m.

Exterior changes are more pronounced, including a black mesh grille, with SHO-specific HID headlights. There are also 20-inch painted premium wheels.


New York 2011: 2013 Ford Taurus and Taurus SHO bow in the Big Apple

The current Ford Taurus may only be two years old, but the Blue Oval folks haven’t wasted any time enhancing its design, powertrains and levels of content. The 2013 model year mid-cycle refresh encompasses more aggressive styling tweaks for both the base Taurus and high-end SHO, and Ford’s executives aren’t afraid to admit that they’ve used the Audi A6 as the benchmark car in the Taurus’ segment.

Under the hood, a new 2.0-liter EcoBoost inline-four is available in the non-SHO Taurus, and the powertrain is estimated to achieve up to 31 miles per gallon on the highway. The standard 3.5-liter V6 now has bigger stones as well, ringing up at 290 hp (+27). The disappointing news in all of this, however, is that the SHO’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 has not been enhanced in any way – it still produces 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Sorry, folks – no 400-horsepower SHO for now.

Ford says it has fitted an upsized master cylinder to the brake system for improved response and feel, and the brake pads are new as well. From our vantage point, the SHO’s brakes have been its weak link, so we’re hoping these alterations result in a meaningful bump in performance.

The updated 2013 Taurus range is making its official debut here at the New York Auto Show, and we’ve just returned from seeing the cars live in the metal. Click through our high-res image galleries below to see Ford’s refreshed flagship for yourself.

For image galleries and full article please visit Autoblog.

2013 Ford Taurus SHO looks better, but no bump in power [w/video]

Those of you hoping for a 400-horsepower Ford Taurus SHO are about to be severely disappointed. The 2013 Taurus SHO will continue to produce 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque from its 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. Sure, that’s still plenty of oomph for the SHO, but with rumors of a higher-output version now dashed, all we can say is, “shucks.”

 Let’s not dwell on that, though. There are still plenty of improvements for the 2013 SHO to talk about.

 Much like the rest of the refreshed Taurus line, the SHO features styling tweaks at both the front and rear. Unlike the base model, the SHO uses a unique mesh grille pattern up front and adds a new rear spoiler out back, as well as chrome-tipped dual exhaust pipes. A new 20-inch dark wheel option is also part of the SHO package, matching the black finish found on the mirrors and body trim. We like what we see.

 There may not be a bump in power, but the 2013 Taurus SHO does get a new performance package option that is said to improve the car’s performance prowess. Most notably, a 3.16:1 final drive ratio means initial acceleration is enhanced, and revised suspension tuning features new dampers and springs specific to this package. Additionally, the electronic steering system has been tuned, the stability control now has a track mode with a true ‘off’ setting and performance brake pads are now available with unique, “track-tuned” calipers. Still, we’d love to see an additional 40-ish horsepower.


For full article and more photos please visit Autoblog.

Ford Lets Real Police Get Some Track Time Part 2 & 3



Ford Lets Real Police Get Some Track Time Part 1



Cops to get EcoBoost… We get.. More legroom…

Jay Leno has been a busy little denim-clad bee lately. The late-night host and car aficionado managed to get up close and personal with what Ford is hoping will become law enforcement’s vehicles of choice in the near future – the Ford Police Interceptor and its Utility counterpart. Leno was lucky enough to get a full walk around both bruisers as well as a stint behind the wheel in the rain. The man with the chin managed to run down the current-generation Crown Victoria-based interceptor during a lead follow, so the footage from the track is a little more entertaining than your run-of-the-mill hot lap.

Airaid Cold Air Intakes for EcoBoost are ready!

Airaids MXP series Cold Air Intakes kits are now available for the 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engines found in the Ford Flex, Ford Taurus SHO, and Lincoln MKS – part numbers:

450-260 and 451-260 (oiled and non-oiled air filters)

Ford Police Interceptor quickest in LA Sheriff’s Department testing

The battle for law enforcement domination rages on. A gaggle of would-be police cruisers showed up at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department for public testing recently, and of all the competitors, the Taurus-based Ford Police Interceptor with its twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine managed to turn the quickest lap time of the bunch by beating out the V8-powered forces from Dodge and Chevrolet. It also ran from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.8 seconds. Ford isn’t saying exactly which other cars were on hand for abuse, but we can probably guess they were the Caprice and Charger.

The new 3.7-liter V6-powered Police Interceptor Utility, which is based on upcoming 2011 Ford Explorer, also managed to turn a lap time that was a full two seconds quicker than the new law enforcement Chevrolet Tahoe. Both vehicles were laden with a 400-pound cargo box at the time.

SEMA 2010: Ford Taurus SHOx

Rick Bottom Designs was given the keys to a 2011 Ford Taurus SHO and the custom car builder decided it wanted to hear more from the Blue Oval sedan. The 365-horsepower EcoBoost V6 has been bumped up by a Hahn Racecraft Stage 1 upgrade package, meaning this SHO is now putting out 465 hp. Re-christened as the SHOx, further modifications include a performance exhaust system, cold air intake kit, large Baer brakes hidden behind 22-inch Axiom forged wheels and a custom body kit.