A couple of years ago, Ford gave the Taurus an interesting new shape, dropping the old, arched Euro-utilitarian roofline in favor of a crisper profile that hints at the smaller Ford Fusion. With that refresh, front fenders became more pronounced and the roof wass lowered, giving the sedan a sportier stance.
In all, the 2012 Taurus is complex at first take, as there's a lot of chrome, creases, and details. Up front it's less than perfect; with a broad upper chrome bar, three dissimilar painted bars below, a new grille, and wrap-around headlights, it's a bit overwhelming, if not garish. The rear fenders are most interesting, with sculpted shoulders and firm, straight character lines playing off each other in a way no Taurus has ever seen. Special badging, glossy black dash trim, and more metallic highlights inside and out help give the SHO more interior panache, while a trunklid spoiler, twin chrome exhaust tips, and different grille hint at the brawn.
From one of the front seats, the 2012 Taurus feels almost like a personal-luxury car. There are focused, defined areas for the driver and front passenger, with a wrap-around instrument panel design and a low, wide center console that firmly splits the driver and passenger sides (and actually, taking up a lot of space). Faux-wood and chrome trim combine with good fit and finish to give it an upscale look and feel that's generally in sync with its price tag.