First Drive: 2010 Ford Taurus

June 22, 2009

While the lion's share of media attention regarding the all-new 2010 Ford Taurus will go toward the high-performance SHO edition, approximately 70 percent of Taurus sales will be made up of models other than the 365-horsepower road runner.

The majority of buyers will be quite happy with their choice of the Taurus SE, SEL and Limited. The styling of this mainstream, full-size sedan is powerful. The giant VW Passat looks of the previous Taurus/Five Hundred model is gone, ditched in favor of a squared-off design that clearly says, "I'm an American, not a German wannabe." The roof is lower and the lines are more angular. Inside, the Taurus is clearly driver-focused. In the front, there are defined areas for the driver and front passenger. The instrument cluster presents information to the driver in three, deeply recessed gauges. Day or night, the readouts are easy to see. The way the dash slope away from the occupants gives the interior a feeling of openness.

In the rear seat, the Taurus is wide enough to sit three across. Leg room is only adequate. With the front seats in their rear-most position, things are actually a little cramped. However, when I sat behind myself (with the front seat adjusted for my 5'10" frame), I had six-inches of room beyond my knees.

A large touch screen occupies the top of the center stack on models with the nav option. This brings up a good point; Ford is using the 2010 Taurus to bring high-technology  to the masses. Safety features like stability control, ABS, traction control, and six airbags are standard. So is the SOS post-crash alert system. After an impact that causes airbags to deploy, the SOS system unlocks all doors, turns on the hazard flashers, and sounds the horn.

2010 Ford Taurus

2010 Ford Taurus

The Taurus also provides SecuriCode; a keyless entry system with a key pad on the driver-side B-pillar, and MyKey; a feature that lets parents program a specific key fob with restricted vehicle function, such as maximum speed and maximum radio volume. While this list is solid, it's the options on the 2010 Taurus that are unusual for a mainstream American sedan.

Just a few of the options available on the new Taurus include:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control; it not only maintains a driver-defined distance from vehicles ahead, but will use active braking when necessary
  • Collision Warning; audible and visual alerts warn a distracted driver about a potential frontal collision and pre-arm the brakes to provide full power when the driver hits the pedal
  • Blind Spot Monitoring;¬† Keeps an electronic eye on a driver's blind spots and warns drivers using an orange icon in the mirror and on the digital IP readout
  • Cross Traffic Alert; Helps drivers detects oncoming traffic approaching the vehicle from the side while reversing out of a parking space
  • SYNC; a voice-control technology that enables drivers to speak commands and have the vehicle respond with control of the audio system and any connected devices including a phone or MP3 player
  • Travel Link; a sophisticated suite of subscription services that provide real-time weather, traffic and shopping information
  • Multi-Contour seats; Seven air bladders constantly change pressure to keep those in front feeling alert and more refreshed during long drives
  • All-wheel drive

A shopper would be hard pressed to find these options available on a Lexus or Audi, let alone a Chevy or Toyota with a starting price of $25,995. Call it a democratization of high technology. If you plan on test driving a new Taurus, give yourself some time to learn about, and try out the new technology.

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