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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
0-60 mph acceleration performance has been reduced by more than a second and a half
Suspension produces little harshness over sharp bumps and potholes
Six-speed automatic is slow to downshift—a result of being tuned for maximum fuel economy
When considering the performance of the 2009 Ford Taurus, it's important to put things in perspective. The Ford Taurus isn’t a screaming performance machine, but it’s satisfying in a practical way. Few of its target buyers will be left wanting.
Ford has kept the 3.5-liter Duratec V-6 powerplant, which delivers 265 hp, from last year's Ford Taurus. According to Edmunds, the extra 60 horses are a definite improvement over "the slow-as-snails Five Hundred." Automotive.com reviewers report that "it sounds healthy, powerful and smooth at full throttle, makes the car plenty quick in acceleration and passing situations, and settles down to a nice background hum in sixth gear, as it should." ConsumerGuide simply characterizes the Ford Taurus 2009 as "strong and relaxed," while Edmunds adds that "no one will ever call the Taurus quick, but it now has the gusto needed to get up highway on-ramps and pass pokey fellow motorists without breaking a significant sweat."
The standard six-speed transmission on the Ford Taurus, available only as an automatic, leaves most reviewers unimpressed. In reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, some reviewers, like those at ConsumerGuide, complain that the transmission "can be reluctant to downshift for passing." Cars.com says that "occasionally it goes beyond the call of duty, finding the right gear in a pinch and sticking with it," but "other times it comes up short—prod the gas pedal from a stoplight, and the gear changes are jerky and awfully late." Edmunds states that the hit-or-miss action of the transmission is "a result of being tuned for maximum fuel economy," but that doesn't stop them from criticizing it for being "slow to downshift." The one major improvement that some reviewers would like to see, notably ConsumerGuide, is some sort of "manual shift control," which would go a long way toward fixing the transmission woes.
Fuel economy for the 2009 Ford Taurus clocks in right where you'd expect: somewhat below comparable imports, but better than past entries from Detroit. The EPA estimates that the 2009 Ford Taurus will get 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway when equipped with front-wheel drive, while the all-wheel-drive models get 17/24 mpg. MyRide.com reviewers deem those numbers "good if not stellar," although in ConsumerGuide tests, the Ford Taurus "averaged 18.5 mpg in city/highway use." On the positive side, the Ford Taurus requires just regular-grade fuel, while some competitors recommend premium.
One area where reviewers are slightly more positive is in the ride and handling. ConsumerGuide calls the ride in this 2009 Ford "firm yet absorbent," with the "retuned suspension and other changes [reducing] harshness over sharp bumps and potholes." When throwing the 2009 Ford Taurus into turns, Cars.com reports that "body roll is noticeable, but the suspension firms itself up through any prolonged turns and stays reasonably level." Automotive.com reviewers are impressed to find that the "steering is accurate, with good feedback, and not overly assisted in normal and highway driving." Motor Trend chimes in by noting that "while the handling remains nondescript, the road sizzle you used to feel throughout the car is nearly extinguished, and moderate bumps are swallowed whole." In terms of stopping performance, ConsumerGuide declares that "the brakes have fine overall stopping control."
Fuel economy and overall excitement behind the wheel of the 2009 Ford Taurus still trail the competition.