NEW FOR 2008:

– All-new model

An all-new model for 2008, the Taurus X is the reborn Freestyle; just as the Freestyle was based on the Five Hundred sedan’s platform, the Taurus X is related to the all-new Taurus sedan, and includes three rows of seats, in six- or seven-passenger configuration.

A single engine is offered, a 3.5-litre V6 with six-speed automatic transmission, also found in the Ford Edge. The base system is front-wheel drive; both the SEL and Limited trim lines can be optioned with an all-wheel drive system, similar to that of the Edge, that uses an electro-mechanical central coupler to send up to 100 per cent of torque to either axle.

Features on the SEL include 17-inch aluminum wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, perimeter alarm, power locks with keyless entry, driver’s door-mounted entry keypad, engine immobilizer, tire pressure monitoring system, six-way power driver’s seat, fold-flat front passenger seat, second-row reclining fold-flat 40/40 bucket seats, third row 50/50 folding split bench seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror, CD stereo with auxiliary jack and SIRIUS satellite radio, floor mats, power windows, heated mirrors, fog lamps, roof rails, leather-wrapped wheel, and message centre with compass and outside temperature display.

The Limited adds 18-inch aluminum wheels, heated leather seats, second-row centre console, six-CD stereo, power sunroof, power liftgate, driver’s side memory, eight-way driver and six way passenger power adjust, power-adjustable pedals, garage door opener, and reverse sensing system.

Available options on both models include seven-passenger seating, rear-seat DVD, Ford SYNC voice-activated communications system and navigation system; the SEL can be further optioned with power-folding second-row seats and a wood trim package.

Virtually the same length and width, but taller than the model it replaces, the Taurus X benefits immensely from its new powerplant, replacing an engine that wasn’t always up to the task of pulling around this heavy vehicle; many buyers also didn’t care for the Freestyle’s CVT, now replaced with a conventional transmission. The Taurus X is extremely roomy for first- and second-row passengers, with "Command" stadium-style seating; the third row is a tighter fit, with small, hard seats. Fold all the seats, and you’ve got a small van that will handle loads that could be too long to fit in a pickup truck.

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