Time waits for no man and few machines. As the current Ford Taurus enters its eighth year of production it remains a competent, respectable, and comfortable long-distance cruiser. But styling and packaging issues underline its age, especially compared with more recently revised competitors.

Pricing and Equipment

The 2017 Ford Taurus is available in four trim levels, with prices starting at $28,220 (all prices listed here include an $875 destination charge) for a base SE. Most customers, though, will likely gravitate towards the well-equipped Taurus SEL for $30,650. Standard equipment includes:

  • Rear-view camera
  • Sync infotainment with SiriusXM satellite radio
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Remote start
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Ford's MyKey system, which allows parents to program speed/volume limits for teen drivers

The Limited includes a few upgrades – push-button start, leather upholstery, heated/cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, 19-inch alloys, and blind-spot monitoring – for a base price of $37,730. Buyers can select between the standard 3.5-liter V6 – 288 horsepower, 254 pound-feet of torque, and up to 27 miles per gallon on the highway – or an optional, $995, 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-four with 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, but up to 29 mpg highway. All-wheel drive is available on V6-powered SEL and Limited models for an additional $1,850.

And then there's the Taurus SHO, for those that need a bit more. Its twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter V6 puts 365 horsepower through a standard all-wheel-drive system to 20-inch wheels held in place by an appropriately upgraded suspension. The SHO also looks the part with a more menacing front fascia and a more stylish rear, while sporty upgrades carry through to the cabin's seats and steering wheel. Standard comfort and convenience equipment is essentially the same as the Limited with a few detail changes (aluminum pedals, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the transmission) for an asking price of $43,395.

Performance Pros

Ford Taurus
  • Both the V6 and EcoBoost turbocharged inline-four provide plenty of power for everyday use, with good response from a standstill.
  • Ride is pleasingly firm and well-controlled, and handling – assisted by systems like Torque Vectoring Control and Curve Control – is stable and predictable.
  • The SHO still brings the muscle. It accelerates with authority – zero to 60 miles per hour is a five-seconds-or-so proposition – and its big tires and stiff suspension tuning provide enough grip in sweeping corners.

Performance Cons

  • The Taurus's backroad moves are ultimately limited by the car's significant weight and size. The lightest Taurus weighs just under 4,000 pounds, while the optional all-wheel drive system adds about 200 pounds, further hampering responsiveness.
  • Opting for the larger wheels means opting for increased ride harshness. The lower-profile tire sidewalls don't absorb lumps and pothole impacts as well as the standard tires.

Interior Pros

  • The interior is constructed of solid, durable materials that are pleasing to the touch.
  • The standard front seats are all-day comfortable, and the upgraded seats in the Limited and SHO will handle a very wide variety of body sizes.
  • The trunk is simply huge, with a measured volume of 20.1 cubic feet – the largest in the Taurus's class.

Interior Cons

Ford Taurus
  • The Taurus' cramped cabin doesn't correlate with its overall size. The cheaper, smaller Ford Fusion has more overall passenger volume – 102.8 cubic feet to the Taurus' 102.2 – and more second-row legroom. The only thing Ford's smaller sedan sacrifices is four cubic feet of cargo space.
  • Nowhere is the Taurus more cramped than in the one place you want room to operate – the pedal box. Those with larger feet need to exercise care.
  • Visibility, especially to the rear, is unsettling. The standard rearview camera is more necessity than convenience.
  • Instruments are clear and controls are well-placed, but overall interior styling is dated to the point of being unfashionable.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The original Taurus featured a relatively firm ride and composed road manners – a radical idea for a Ford sedan in the 1980s. Although the current Taurus is a few sizes larger than its ancestor and that tuning approach is no longer controversial, it still happily holds to the same sense of solid directness, with a tidier feel than rivals like the Chrysler 300.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

How the heck is the Taurus so big on the outside and so small on the inside? A Chevrolet Impala has almost two more inches of backseat legroom, a larger overall cabin volume, and 18.5 cubic feet of trunk space, but it's over 1.5 inches shorter than the Ford. Yes, the Taurus has a huge trunk, but if cargo space is more important, you're better offer just buying a crossover with a fold-flat third row – and no, the Taurus' big-boned sibling, the Explorer, doesn't count. It suffers from many of the same ills as this aging sedan.

The Bottom Line

If you can live with the dated lines and smallish rear seat (or you have small feet), the Taurus is a substantial and agreeable large car (and a respectably fast one in SHO trim). We do recommend a look at more modern competitors like the Chevrolet Impala – and we wish Ford would do the same.