CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia — "It’s as revolutionary as Windows 95," explained Stephen Kozak, a safety manager at Ford Motor Co., speaking about the blue oval logo’s new Personal Safety System, pioneered in the upgraded 2000 Ford Taurus.
We were on a Virginia countryside ride and drive that included a stop at the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, where Taurus has received high marks in the institute's crash testing. In fact, Ford boasts the new Taurus has the highest level of crash protection ever offered in a vehicle at this price.
In addition to safety upgrades, the Dearborn, Mich.-based manufacturer's most popular car gets a thorough remake for the 2000 model-year, wearing more than 900 new parts that bring improved quality and comfort. Most important, though, might be the new parts that give it a new look — a look that Ford hopes will bring the family hauler back to the top of the sales charts.
Stylists asked to ‘cool it’
Bowing to customer demand, the avant-garde midsize sedan gets more mainstream clothes for Y2K — gone is the dramatic ovoid theme. Nose-job details include a broader grille opening and larger headlamps said to produce 25 percent more light than those on the outgoing model do. A less curvaceous roofline not only looks more at home on American roads but provides headroom gains of nearly an inch up front and 2 inches in the rear, addressing a weak point in the accommodations of the previous version.
2000 Ford Taurus interior
A rectangular rear window (offering significantly better visibility) replaces the previous oval-shaped glass. Though the 1.2 cubic-foot increase in trunk space may seem small on paper, the useability of the trunk is vastly improved due to the more conventional shape afforded by the broader, taller decklid. The only carryover body panels, in fact, are the trademark sculpted doors. Three new metallic colors are available this year; three have been deleted.