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What Should Ford’s Next Taurus Be?

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It’s been about a year since Ford took its full-size Five Hundred sedan and renamed it Taurus. The move hasn’t won over new converts - Taurus sales were off 19 percent this year -- and in the meantime, competitors like the Nissan Altima and Chevrolet Malibu have taken a bigger chunk of the four-door market from Ford.

Now Ford may be prepping a response in the form of a new Taurus. Ford CEO Alan Mulally confirmed a new Taurus is in the works at a recent appearance in Detroit, and let it slip that the new version will be introduced next year.

"The new Taurus is the one we should have made originally," Mulally said during a speech in Detroit.

We’re not sure if he’s talking about the 1986 Taurus or the faltering 1996 version or the resurrected 2008 iteration. But one thing’s sure -- the Taurus is in for more dogfighting if it’s being planned as a larger alternative to the likes of the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Chevy Malibu and Honda Accord. Combined, those vehicles sold more than a million copies last year.

Though it has the dated silhouette of the Five Hundred, the current Taurus does have some strengths--including nimble handling, great interior room, and a 260-hp V-6 coupled to a six-speed automatic.

But to make a dent in sales, what will the next Taurus need to be? Will it have to take major styling risks? Come in hybrid and clean-diesel forms? Should it be bigger, smaller, front- or all-wheel drive?

Let us know what you think. Tell us three things the next Taurus has to have in the comments section below -- and stay tuned for more on the next Taurus as details emerge.
 
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