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Driven: 2010 Ford Taurus

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The 2010 Ford Taurus is definitely different enough to warrant another look if you've considered one in the past, or if you're in the market for a large sedan.

Although the mechanicals are basically the same as 2009 and before, the Taurus gets such a thorough reskin that you wouldn't be able to tell it. For all cosmetic considerations, the 2010 Taurus is an all-new car—a flashier-looking one.

The well-detailed grille and headlights, along with the creased hood, certainly bring a distinctive look, though the chromed side gills seemed a little gimmicky. From some angles, it's as if Ford has surrendered to the blocky, high-wasted look that Chrysler has been preaching with its 300C. To Ford's credit, the new Taurus has finally shed its frumpy side that it carried since when it was called the Five Hundred. The automaker has been attempting to frame the Taurus as its flagship model rather than the mainstream sedan the name referred to in the past (that's now the Fusion).

A couple inches off the top, a little tight inside

While the pre-2010 Taurus had a relatively high seating position, low beltline, and tall greenhouse—for an excellent view outward—the latest iteration of the Taurus could feel a little more secure—or a little claustrophobic, depending on the point of view. Two inches of roof height have been lost, and it's a difference you can feel.

All the styling changes that Ford made to the Taurus for 2010 altogether make it feel considerably tighter inside. The wide center console and curved instrument panel design leave the driver and front passenger with remarkably small areas, with those front seats seemingly wedged against the center console. The front seats themselves could be adjusted to an ideal position for a wide range of drivers, but the lower cushions felt unduly short, especially for a full-size car. The backseat area isn't so perfect, either; while wide and capable of holding three across, it's surprisingly tight for both legroom and headroom; the smaller Ford Fusion might be roomier, by some gauges. Overall, though the trunk is mammoth, there's a feeling that that some of this vast real estate could have been better spent.

We like the simple yet elegant look of the instrument panel, with brightly lit deep-dish gauges and a relatively simple layout. The only exception is that in looking down quickly, it's easy to get the four like-sized, like-feeling climate-control and audio knobs confused.

In the city, the Taurus rides and drives like a large vehicle, and the inability to see the front corners can be tough in tight spaces. The ride quality is a little odd—simultaneously jarring over potholes, pavement breaks, and the like, but also almost bouncy over the largest potholes or railroad crossings. We briefly had four aboard, and the Taurus' ride felt slightly more buttoned-down. For 2010, there have been extensive suspension changes, and to its credit the Taurus handles quite well for a more comfort-oriented large sedan.

Feels large in the city, just right on the highway

For those who do a lot of highway cruising, the story is quite different; then, the ride turns quite settled and composed, with road and wind noise kept to a minimum, and the steering has a nice weighting and reassuring on-center feel that won't wear on you.

The 263-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 in our Taurus had plenty of accessible torque, as well as higher-rev horsepower for passing, but it's a little too coarse-sounding when accelerating hard, and we didn't find the automatic transmission's shifts all that smooth compared to, say, the Toyota Avalon.


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Comments (3)
  1. Great review of the 2010 Taurus. I have a 2004 Impala and I will be replacing it at the end of 2010. I found this article very close to my shopping thoughts as I test ride the 4 door, 5 passenger 200+hp family cars. I am 6'1" and noticed the head room in the Taurus was not what I was used to in my Impala, the Fusion did seam to have just about the same head room as the Taurus. I am getting 19/29 from my 2004 Impala but I expected better gas mileage in the 2010's but it seams that they (Ford and Toyota and GM) all fall short of my 2004 Impala's actual gas milage. I am leary of buying a 2010 Impala since it is the same car as my 2004. Yes, it has more hp in a smaller cubic engine but my real worry is all the instrument problems I had with the setter motors in the speedometer in my 2004. I started relying on my Garmin for actual road speed readings until my Tach went nuts. Gm sure screwed the 2004/2005 Impala owners by not recalling them to fix this problem. See/google GM Impala 2004/2005 instrument problem/speedometer, it's interesting reading. The Camary is just as tight as the Taurus and with it's history it's a far third place pick by my standards.
     
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  2. I HAVE OWNED THREE AVALONS IN THE PAST AND DECIDED WITH THE 10 TAURUS. CAN'T BE MORE PLEASED WITH THE OVERALL QUALITY OF THIS VEHICLE OVER MY AVALONS. I DON'T AGREE WITH THE COMMENT ON TRANSMISSIONS MY TAURUS IS SMOOTH AND THE PADDLE SHIFTERS MAKE FOR A FUN ROAD TRIP. SYNC WITH SYNC SERVICES IS EXCELLENT ON COMMAND NAVIGATION AND WEATHER/TRAFFIC CONDITIONS. JUST A THOUGHT BUT I WOULD SPEND A LITTLE MORE TIME IN THE CAR TO TRULY GET THE FEEL FOR QUALITY AND DRIVING EXPERIENCE.
     
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  3. I quite like Ford but it's a shame that they've compromised some of the functionality of the car in the name of style. Not many cars are truly ugly anyway and a lot of people prefer a car they can use happily than a car that is awkward but a bit prettier.
     
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