2010 Ford Taurus SHO
2010 Ford Taurus SHO
2010 Ford Taurus SHO. Click image to enlarge
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2010 Ford Taurus SHO

North Vancouver, British Columbia – Is it possible to like and dislike a car at the same time?

After a week with the all-new 2010 Ford Taurus SHO, I came away both elated and disappointed: the SHO’s V8-like performance from its twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 engine is the highlight of this five-passenger performance sedan, not to mention its great driving dynamics, all-weather traction, roomy, comfortable cabin and huge trunk.

On the other hand, the Taurus SHO is a big, heavy vehicle (1981 kg/4368 lbs) with mediocre gas mileage and a fairly hefty price-tag, values that seem incongruous with the new, leaner times that we live in. Is this the kind of performance sedan today’s buyers want, or is it just a repackaging of old Detroit values?

The new-for-2010 Taurus SHO (which stands for ‘super high output’) is powered by Ford’s new “Ecoboost” twin-turbocharged all-aluminum 3.5-litre V6 engine with direct fuel injection, four valves per cylinder with variable camshaft timing on the intake valves, and dual overhead cams. This engine develops 365 horsepower at 5,500 r.p.m. and 350 lb.-ft of torque between 1,500 r.p.m. and 5,250 r.p.m. Premium gas is recommended, but it will also run on Regular 87-octane with slightly less horsepower. Compared with the regular, non-turbocharged Taurus, the SHO offers a substantial 39% increase in horsepower and a 41% increase in torque.

2010 Ford Taurus SHO
2010 Ford Taurus SHO
2010 Ford Taurus SHO. Click image to enlarge

Yet, according to Canadian Energuide fuel consumption figures, the SHO (with standard AWD) gets about the same fuel economy as the non-turbocharged Taurus AWD: 12.3/8.0 (L/100 km) city/hwy vs 12.3/7.9 city/hwy. During the week that I had it, my Taurus SHO test car averaged 14.0 L/100 km according to its onboard computer, and as high as 16 L/100 km according to my own calculations. It’s not hard to figure out why: put the pedal to the metal, wind up those turbos, and you’re sucking back gas like a Hoover vacuum! Bottom line: gas mileage in the SHO is directly proportional to your driving behaviour. Drive like a pussycat, and you might match those Energuide numbers, but if that’s your goal, you might as well buy the regular Taurus.

An argument could be made that the turbo V6 in the SHO offers the same horsepower but better fuel economy than its naturally-aspirated V8 competitors, principally the 368-hp Hemi-powered Dodge Charger R/T AWD which has Energuide numbers of 13.4/8.7 city/hwy; and the 359-hp Hemi-powered Chrysler 300C AWD also with 13.4/8.7 city/hwy. Using Energuide numbers for comparison, the SHO will save you about one litre of gas per 100 kilometres, or close to 10% on average. But as mentioned, much will depend on how you drive.

Speaking of saving money, keep in mind too that the Dodge Charger R/T AWD (2009) starts at $39,095 and the Chrysler 300C AWD (2009) at $44,545, while the 2010 SHO begins at $48,199.

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