The Ford Taurus X is a significant improvement over the old Ford Freestyle, but that doesn't mean Ford has addressed all of the complaints regarding performance. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com praise the overall ride, but disparage the lackluster acceleration.
Car and Driver reviewers states that the "improved powertrain" on the 2009 Ford Taurus X includes a "3.5-liter V-6 (263 horsepower) and a six-speed automatic, a combo that propels this tall wagon to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds." Autoblog declares that the "new 3.5L engine [is] 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." However, Jalopnik cautions that despite the acceleration times achieved by Car and Driver, "in the real world, it's not that quick." Cars.com describes the Ford Taurus X as "no rocket," but the "X is now at least powerful enough" for daily driving duty.
As mentioned above, the 2009 Ford Taurus X comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission that replaces the CVT from the Freestyle, a CVT that Cars.com says "was poorly received." The new automatic isn't exactly poorly received, but praise isn't quick in coming either. Automobile calls the automatic a "lackluster, uninspiring powertrain" that "is sluggish, and if you're changing gears under full throttle, the soft shocks and springs send the whole car pitching and heaving." USA Today also remarks that the lack of a "manual-shift mode on the automatic transmission" is a "disappointment." On the positive side, Autoblog claims that "dipping into the throttle brings effortless acceleration and pulling out to pass triggers smooth quick downshifts" from the six-speed.
Despite complaints from some reviewers that the Taurus X lacks power, the editors of TheCarConnection.com find the powertrain quite perky and still satisfying when loaded with six adults.
One thing that TheCarConnection.com’s editors confirm about the Taurus X is disappointing fuel economy. According to the official EPA estimates, the 2009 Ford Taurus X should return 15 mpg city and 22 mpg on the highway, but Jalopnik finds itself "averaging 18 through a mix of highways, rural roads and city driving," which is "pathetic considering it barely has enough acceleration to get out of its own way." Those numbers are better than the marks achieved by TheCarConnection.com, which can't match the city estimate.
Cars.com states that the 2009 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 reviewers agree, finding that the 2009 Ford Taurus X offers a "nice blend of ride and handling." Despite its many criticisms of the Ford Taurus X, Jalopnik does concede that "the big Taurus does drive better than its taller cousins" and "feels safe in any condition." Kelley Blue Book adds that, "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 the "braking performance leaves something to be desired, with long braking distances chief amongst our grievances." Autoblog praises 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. 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.