- Awesome safety to calm the nerves
- Responsive powertrain has plenty of pep for a full load
- Comfy seating throughout
- Doesn’t feel even vaguely sporty
- Unexciting styling inside and out
Don't look to the 2008 Ford Taurus X for driving excitement, but otherwise, it's darn near the most perfect family wagon there is.
Ford has brought back an old familiar name for 2008, as this vehicle, formerly called the Freestyle, has been renamed the Taurus X. But the Freestyle hasn't been carried over; the 2008 Ford Taurus X gets extensive changes, including a new 3.5-liter V-6 with 60 more horsepower than the 3.0-liter V-6 used in the Freestyle. Power is up to 263 hp, and a six-speed automatic is standard.
The Taurus X also has a new face--with more chrome--and a new taillamp design relative to the Freestyle, along with a spruced-up interior. The Taurus X's tall-wagon body style affords a very roomy and space-efficient interior, with three rows of seating. The third row that can accommodate adults in a pinch, thanks to stadium-style seating that perches the last row a bit higher than the others. Front seating in the 2008 Ford Taurus X can feel either rather low for those used to SUVs or somewhat high for sedan drivers, but the seats are very comfortable, as is the second row. With the third row of seats down, the Taurus X has impressive cargo capacity with a convenient low loading height, and when the second row and front passenger seat are folded, it can accommodate items up to nine feet in length.
The 2008 Ford Taurus X rides firmly but with an underlying softness, so maneuverability is secure and crisp. However, it seems out of its element on tight, twisty turns. A very good, stable on-center feel makes the Taurus X especially relaxed and ideal for long highway hauls.
SEL, Eddie Bauer, and Limited trims are each available with either front-wheel drive or a road-oriented "intelligent" all-wheel-drive system that sends most of the power to the front wheels except when it's needed in back, before wheels slip. The base 2008 Ford Taurus X SEL includes air conditioning, keyless entry, and CD sound, while at the top of the line, the Eddie Bauer gets two-tone paint, 18-inch wheels, and new badging this year, along with a reverse-sensing system, heated seats and mirrors, wood-grain trim, adjustable pedals, an upgraded sound system, and the SYNC hands-free calling and entertainment interface.
An optional power liftgate is newly available on the 2008 Ford Taurus X; other noteworthy options include Sirius Satellite Radio, DVD entertainment, and voice-activated navigation.
Electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes are standard on the 2008 Ford Taurus X, along with front side airbags and side curtain airbags that reach outboard occupants in all three rows. For 2008, front footwells have been reinforced, and interior door panels have been redesigned for better protection. The Taurus X (considering its name change) has been a repeat IIHS Top Safety Pick, as it is for 2008 and gets top "good" scores in their crash tests, along with top five-star scores in the federal government's crash tests. It's one of the safest models on the road of any size, from any manufacturer.