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2013 Ford Taurus: First Drive

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The Ford Taurus was once the epitome of the mainstream, All-American mid-size sedan. But the current version of the Taurus has never been anything but a niche car, and as much as the 2013 Taurus is much-improved, we'd venture to say it's destined to stay that way.

Why? While it's a big, comfort-oriented (or performance-oriented) sedan with a distinctive design, and Ford has made some meaningful improvements on it for 2013, it remains a car for which you need to really like what you see—as that's not entirely what you get.

What you see is one of the longest sedans on the market, at nearly 203 inches long; the 2013 Ford Taurus is wide, too, and its long overhangs and rather long roofline all serve to amplify the impression. It's stylish, both in its swept-back profile and in the details, which now include new lower-body aero work and an all-new grille—a more mature one that fits right in above the front end of the 2013 Ford Fusion—plus new crisp new LED-outline taillamps and a great set of new wheel designs.

The Taurus looks like it has amazing trunk space, and it does—with a low cargo floor, and a reasonably large pass-through for long items, plus split folding rear seatbacks.

But take a step inside, and you'll see that the Taurus, unfortunately, carries one very significant piece of baggage over to 2013: its surprising lack of passenger space. For a car this large, its cabin, practically speaking, doesn't feel significantly more spacious or airy than most compact sedans—or the more upright, straightforward 2012 Fusion cabin.

Especially in the front seats, the cabin feels tight, intimate. While it's wide, your legs are confined to a relatively narrow footwell, against a wide center console; and the entire instrument panel flows dramatically back in a gentle contour. It's space-robbing, and we're probably not the only ones to think that this dash layout as a whole would feel more in place in a touring coupe (such as a Thunderbird?). And looking back, the entire cabin feels quite small...Where'd the space go?

Those first impressions remain as they were. But in more subtle ways, Ford has upgraded the Taurus interior to feel more modern, more upscale, and frankly, more like a luxury car inside.

Soft-touch all the way

That includes soft-touch materials all the way around the driver and front passenger, in pretty much all the touch points—including, finally, the space that those knees are against all the time. Plus door trims and upholsteries have been upgraded, and power lock and window controls are completely new, with better tactility (replacing the carry-over switches Ford had used for years).

A front-wheel-drive Taurus 2.0T model with an EcoBoost four-cylinder engine is on the way later this year, and that's really the big news, as its 31-mpg (or higher) EPA highway rating will beat some V-6 rivals. In the meantime we were able to drive a 2013 Ford Taurus SHO, and a loaded 2013 Taurus Limited AWD, around Portland, plus along a challenging route of curvy backroads over Oregon's Coast Range.


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Comments (7)
  1. "20 mpg over an entire day and more than 250 miles of driving"

    Ford has no bragging rights here that's for sure. I'm beting the the 2.0 Ecoboost won't be much better because of AWD and the mass it has to hawl around. Ask those whom thought the Ecoboost Ford F150 would give them better MPG's than the 5.0 V8. In real life driving they are neck and neck in the MPG dept.
     
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  2. Absolutely ridiculous Ford of North America foists that hideous lump of dung on us while the Australians have their sensational Falcon.
     
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  3. Again, wide center consoles, front buckets. Why not have a front bench and a shifter on the column. All that other jazz just wastes space. My wife's 2012 Charger is roomier and better looking. Also, wish it had a bench/column shift option.
     
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  4. ask yourself this.. how can someone be protected by setting in the center of the front bench seat? in a age of technology, where would you put your Ipod/Cell phone with no Center storage unit? How would you ajust your seat configuration without disrupting your front passengers seating position with a Benchseat?


    Anyway this car just look terible... Wheels look sooooo small for the car
     
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  5. You guys are all haters. This car is great. Sure it needs a few things like better colors for the interior and really nice chrome wheels for the SHO, and more room for a car that has it, but is not using it, but this car is awesome. The SHO I have gets near 29 mpg with 365 hp and AWD. The technology is great and it looks great. Looks like its on steroids. Need more colors to choose from than the current colors on the exterior. Where is Royal blue or dark blue with dark browns and beiges and tans in the interior? I drove a Limited for a rental before I bought the SHO and it was silver with tan and beige interior, which did not match for me, and ALL the interiors come with a grey dashboard. What? Need more dark brown dashes. B+
     
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  6. Considering that is only rated at 17 city and 25 hwy, 20 isn't too bad for something that is over 2 tons. I liked the open and roomy cabin on the 500 and have always felt claustrophobic in the Taurus. Ford squandered a lot of room in the redesign.
     
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  7. This review really hits the mark for me. I've been attracted enough to go into Ford showrooms when I've purchased new cars twice in the past 4 years. But I've walked away from Ford dealers twice solely because of legroom (once each time for Taurus, Fusion). I'm no giant: I weigh 180lbs, 6 feet tall, not unlike many others. I find great leg room in Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes. But in Ford, Honda,etc., it's atrocious. These designs are so successfully focused on the front grille and the instrument stack, yet fail cuz the cars feel like sardine cans. I wish it had an option to increase legroom, which matters much more to me than MyFord Touch. Tech bling rapidly ages into so yesterday; solid build, fit & finish, and comfort gets my $$$'s.
     
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