With few exceptions, TheCarConnection.com notes primarily positive, if not glowing, reviews on the 2008 Ford Taurus X's performance.
Autoblog considers "the new 3.5L engine [to be] a huge improvement over the old 3.0L in both the Taurus sedan and this wagon," noting that "it feels much stronger and never seems to strain itself." This Ford 2008's new engine "delivers 263 horsepower and 249 pound-feet of torque." Cars.com also notes this improvement, which "is evident immediately in the [2008 Ford] Taurus X...felt most under high-rev acceleration and middle- and high-speed passing." This source acknowledges, however, that the 2008 Ford Taurus X is "still no rocket," but is "at least powerful enough." Edmunds, comparing this 2008 Ford's engine to that of its predecessor, notes "the difference in output and acceleration is remarkable."
The X’s transmission elicits some mixed reactions; on one hand, Autoblog praises the 2008 Ford Taurus X's drivetrain: "Dipping into the throttle brings effortless acceleration and pulling out to pass triggers smooth quick downshifts from the new six-speed which has replaced the discontinued CVT" (a tiresome piece of engineering, in any event). This source notes that "Ford doesn't offer a manual shift mode, but frankly it isn't needed in a vehicle like this anyway."
Cars.com considers it a trade-off: "it is possible that eliminating the CVT sacrificed some fuel efficiency." Automobile has little good to say regarding the transmission, calling it a "lackluster, uninspiring powertrain." They add that "the transmission is sluggish, and if you're changing gears under full throttle, the soft shocks and springs send the whole car pitching and heaving."
The EPA gives official mileage ratings of 15 mpg city and 22 mpg on the open road; Autoblog reviewers noted that a "week of mixed urban and freeway driving yielded fuel economy of 18.7 mpg and the long freeway trip brought that overall average up to 19.3."
Cars.com states that the 2008 Ford Taurus X’s ride is "comfortable without being floaty, and the handling is up for whatever the driver is likely to throw it into." Edmunds acknowledges that it offers a "nice blend of ride and handling." Kelley Blue Book notes, "Thanks to its rigid unit body, the 2008 Ford Taurus X delivers responses that are gratifyingly eager for a tall vehicle weighing over two tons," but points out that the "braking performance leaves something to be desired, with long braking distances chief amongst our grievances." Autoblog praised the X’s handling: "standard electronic stability control and available all-wheel drive provide confident ride and handling in all weather conditions," though "the steering effort is nicely weighted but pretty devoid of feedback."
TheCarConnection.com’s team of editors finds the 2008 Ford Taurus X rides firmly but with an underlying softness, so maneuverability is secure and crisp, but it feels 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.