Unfortunately, the 2.0L EcoBoost version of the 2013 Taurus was not available for testing at Portland. Personally, this is the car that would have the most interest for journalists and consumers alike; everybody’s intrigued to know how the big Taurus drives with this diminutive engine, although expectations are that it should be sufficient given the high output. A $1,000 premium will be charged for this engine, which will be available in all Taurus models except the SHO.
We did get to drive the mildly enhanced SHO (Super High Output), however. As you may know, the SHO debuted in 1989 with a Yamaha-engineered V6 engine that made, for the time, an impressive 220 hp. Initially, the SHO was only available with a five-speed manual transmission, but a four-speed automatic was added to the second generation.
2013 Ford Taurus; photo by Paul Williams. Click image to enlarge
No manual is available in the current SHO, which uses a paddle-shifting six-speed automatic, but this is a fully realized high-performance large sedan nonetheless. Sophisticated and powerful, we drove the SHO in often-torrential rain, finding it stable, fast, finely balanced and luxury-car quiet.
The multi-adjustable seats are particularly noteworthy, providing excellent support, comfort, and stability. Outward visibility is excellent and interior design, especially the well-designed instrument panel and sweeping centre stack and console, are a model of function and form.
On the occasional dry sections of road, we found the SHO’s acceleration and passing performance to be almost as visceral as that of the Mustang GT. I know, these are two completely different cars, but if you could have only one as a “reward” car that you’d use everyday… well, that was our topic of discussion behind the wheel at one point. There’s an argument that the SHO would give you all the performance you’d need, the exclusivity of a special edition model, and complete practicality. True, it’s not a Mustang, but it is an SHO!
2013 Ford Taurus; photo courtesy Ford Motor Company. Click image to enlarge
Similarly, would a performance-luxury buyer (Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, for instance) look at an SHO? Anecdotally, I’m told, yes. The SHO adds an attractive price to the performance/exclusivity/practicality package, although for mainstream buyers its $49,199 starting price would be steep indeed.
Big as it is, the Taurus is easy to handle and manoeuvre. Park assist, intelligent cruise control, blind spot assist, collision warning with brake support, cross traffic alert, rearview camera and active motion seats are some of the driver aids available. Nor is there a shortage of “infotainment” options available via the enhanced-for-2013 MyFordTouch and SYNC interfaces.
If you’re not sold on an SUV, the full size sedan is still an option. Taurus has successfully reinvented itself after some false starts, but there are some competitors in the Chrysler 300, Chevrolet Impala, Buick LaCrosse, and perhaps Toyota Avalon. At this point, the Ford Taurus seems the most modern of them.
2013 Ford Taurus pricing