July 21, 2011

Ford Taurus


Notice the scorched Earth!  Please, rain...  Please...

                The last Ford I drove was my mom’s 1987 baby blue LTD station wagon.  At the time, I was terrified because I was a few months from getting my license and I didn’t want to be cursed to drive the “Baby Blue Bomber.”  The car wasn’t the reason for the bomber moniker; it was more to do with the frequency of a certain someone passing gas in there (Might be true…).  This Taurus was an upgrade over the Bomber by light years.  We’re still not sure if we would pursue having one for ourselves, though.
Not blue, but the same shape...  Thank God, we live in the future!

                The driver’s seat felt like sitting in an organized cockpit.  It didn’t have a push button start like the Maxima or the Charger (reviews to come shortly), but one button doesn’t make a car.  The coolness of the push button start has worn off on us.  We get it and understand why some think it’s still cool.  The fact that it comes standard on the Prius makes it totally lame… 
                The driver’s seat feels like the Taurus is wrapping you in a perfect hug of comfort and convenience.  The steering wheel controls were simple and straightforward.  We even used the voice-activated Sync system to search for music on the salesman’s USB drive.  He did not have Indigo Girls, Green Day, Tiffany, AC/DC, or KD Lang.  We asked.  Asking for AC/DC got us Sting.  Not the same thing at all, but the computer can only do so much when the band we’re asking for isn’t there.  After asking three times, the Sync gave us four options.  We picked Jack Johnson and the music fit our mood very well.
That would be the Shelby GT 500 that they wouldn't let us drive in the background!
                For a car as large as this one is, we were underwhelmed with the rear legroom.  With the driver’s seat left in Chris’ extreme/all-the-way back driving position; it was a tight fit for a full-sized adult behind him.  This car would be great on a long road trip.  For a family, we think this car would work very well with two car seats in the back, plus luggage in the trunk.  If you are travelling with four full-sized adults, it would work, but it isn’t going to be as enjoyable.  We don’t know if there is a structural design feature in the way, but our first move would be to decrease the trunk space to add legroom.  Ford is amazing at finding ways to have impressively large trunks.  We could have fit at least four Steve’s (5’8”, 190lbs.) into this trunk.  One Steve fit with so much extra space around him that we were in awe of the vastness of trunk.  We went looking for the black hole that had to be in there; we didn’t find it…
We could fit 4 to 5 fun-sized adults in there!
                One feature we did enjoy on this 100 degree day was the ventilated leather seats.  That’s right; leather!  First car we’ve driven in the 4-door $30,000 series that had leather seats.  The seats are only ventilated for your bottom, but it still makes your rear comfortable and cool.  We wished that the upright portion was ventilated since we have so many issues with back sweat.  
One way to help keep the heat out
                This Taurus had the option of a sun shade in the rear window.  With the push of a button, a shade extends from the rear window to shade the back seat.  We really liked this feature and felt like the cockpit of the Taurus could almost double as our own little Star Trek helm.  The gear selector reminded us of the Warp drive handle, and we could even raise the “shields” in the back glass.   We are nerds, but Comic-con’s this weekend and we’re having withdrawal issues…

Back dat up!
                The Taurus was redesigned in the 2010 model year.  The look that we see now reminds us of a cross between the Ford Five Hundred and the old Taurus.  From the front the Taurus looks poised and unconcerned like an English Duke who knows his serfs are being kept in check and will not impede him as he tramples them (Where do they get this crap…).  The back end is another story.  Having an impressively large trunk lends the Taurus to having a back side worthy of an Outkast video.  After popping the trunk (that sounded dirty…) we had some difficulty finding a place to lift.  We’re used to a handle or the license plate being around the middle to lift with.  This trunk is so big, that we had to go way down to lift up.  That does mean that it has a low load height, and that saves back muscles.  Right there, Ford, is your new campaign slogan.  “Buy a Taurus, save back muscles!”  We’ll keep working on it and understand if you don’t use it…
Seriously cool!
                The backup camera was great!  Not only was the view great from the camera, but the monitor was located up on the rearview mirror.  We used it twice to fit perfectly into a parking space.  The color coded lines help you know how close you are to something and the lines show where the edges of the vehicle will go.  Very well done!  Our only suggestion for the engineers is to have the lines curve, when you have turning while backing up.  We know that’s just software code and that you guys will nail it for the mid-cycle redesign!
                The Taurus is available in 8 different exterior colors and two different interior colors.   We took the Silver one because we really like Silver.  Gold is gaudy, while Silver is refined and effortless.  Sadly, we wear a lot of gold jewelry and can’t explain it.  Maybe we’re part Italian (please don’t hurt us, in-laws…). 
                Overall, we like the look of the Taurus.  It’s a modern look for a car that when we were younger was kind of an old-lady car; at least, most of the people we knew who had one seemed really, really old.  Now, though, it doesn’t come off that way at all.  Can you imagine your Gran using anything voice activated, a backup camera, or a push button sun shade?  

                We didn’t know what to expect on the performance side of this car.  To be fair, it’s a big car.  A touring car is the best way to describe its performance.  Something designed to go a long way and get you there comfortably.  There is an SHO model that is sportier with a twin turbo V6, but it is more expensive than the $30,000 range we put in place for this series.  As a touring car, it works well.
                The ride of the Taurus is smooth.  It isn’t the smoothest car we’ve ever been in (Porsche Cayenne), but it doesn’t have to be.  We just need it to be comfortable and it is.  We found some gravel roads and were impressed with the very small difference in ride between the tarmac and the gravel.  It rode smooth on both surfaces.
                The 3.5L V6 is not the most powerful engine we’ve driven lately, but it had enough power (263 horsepower) to get the job done.  Do you remember the 3.8L from Jeep that only turned out 202 horsepower?  Well done, Ford engineers!  The Taurus won’t be taking anyone off the line, but it won’t be jamming up traffic either.  Its power plant is suitable for the type of car it is; one that will take you a long way in comfort and style.  The 0 to 60 time is not listed on Edmunds.com.  We agree that the acceleration is a little slow and in fact aren’t really worried what the 0 to 60 time is.  This isn’t that type of car.  It is not a car for people in a hurry! 
The mpgs are 18 city and 28 highway.  We did watch our range increase as we drove.  The computer was doing some good math and kept re-calculating our speed and rate of fuel consumption.  Cruising at higher speeds help extend the life of a tank of gas.  This car should be able to average close to 28 and maybe almost 30 on the highway.  A thirty thousand dollar car that can almost get 30 mpgs on the highway…  That would be something!
               
We gone!
The Taurus feels like a cruiser and it does that very well.  We told the salesman we’d be back in 20 to 30 minutes and 55 minutes later came back with a dusty and dirty car.  At one point we were on I-35 headed north with the cruise set just over 70.  We didn’t consciously do this.  We think it was the car; ready to roll. 
Overall, the price gets in our way.  $34,950 is a lot of money and even with the dealer rebate that takes off 2 grand; it’s still a lot of money.  At least in the Taurus you felt like you received as much car as you were buying.  We’ve driven two other sedans around 30 grand lately and one of them didn’t justify the price tag.  The Taurus lives up to the price tag and if we had an hour long commute at highway speed, we would definitely consider this car!  We were very pleasantly surprised.

Remember, we aren’t taking any money from Ford, GM, or anyone really…  Remember to “like” us on Facebook, so we can justify our opinions!  Please pass us on to everyone you know, so we can eat!  Gas is getting close to unbearable…  Hehe, bears...

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