- Awesome safety to calm the nerves
- Responsive powertrain has plenty of pep for a full load
- Comfy seating throughout
- Numerous convenience features
- Doesn’t feel even vaguely sporty
- Unexciting styling inside and out
Don't look to the 2008 Ford Taurus X for driving excitement, but otherwise, it's darn near the most perfect family wagon there is.
Ford has brought back an old familiar name for 2008, as this vehicle, formerly called the Freestyle, has been renamed the Taurus X. But the Freestyle hasn't been carried over; the 2008 Ford Taurus X gets extensive changes, including a new 3.5-liter V-6 with 60 more horsepower than the 3.0-liter V-6 used in the Freestyle. Power is up to 263 hp, and a six-speed automatic is standard.
The Taurus X also has a new face--with more chrome--and a new taillamp design relative to the Freestyle, along with a spruced-up interior. The Taurus X's tall-wagon body style affords a very roomy and space-efficient interior, with three rows of seating. The third row that can accommodate adults in a pinch, thanks to stadium-style seating that perches the last row a bit higher than the others. Front seating in the 2008 Ford Taurus X can feel either rather low for those used to SUVs or somewhat high for sedan drivers, but the seats are very comfortable, as is the second row. With the third row of seats down, the Taurus X has impressive cargo capacity with a convenient low loading height, and when the second row and front passenger seat are folded, it can accommodate items up to nine feet in length.
The 2008 Ford Taurus X rides firmly but with an underlying softness, so maneuverability is secure and crisp. However, it seems 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.
SEL, Eddie Bauer, and Limited trims are each available with either front-wheel drive or a road-oriented "intelligent" all-wheel-drive system that sends most of the power to the front wheels except when it's needed in back, before wheels slip. The base 2008 Ford Taurus X SEL includes air conditioning, keyless entry, and CD sound, while at the top of the line, the Eddie Bauer gets two-tone paint, 18-inch wheels, and new badging this year, along with a reverse-sensing system, heated seats and mirrors, wood-grain trim, adjustable pedals, an upgraded sound system, and the SYNC hands-free calling and entertainment interface.
An optional power liftgate is newly available on the 2008 Ford Taurus X; other noteworthy options include Sirius Satellite Radio, DVD entertainment, and voice-activated navigation.
Electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes are standard on the 2008 Ford Taurus X, along with front side airbags and side curtain airbags that reach outboard occupants in all three rows. For 2008, front footwells have been reinforced, and interior door panels have been redesigned for better protection. The Taurus X (considering its name change) has been a repeat IIHS Top Safety Pick, as it is for 2008 and gets top "good" scores in their crash tests, along with top five-star scores in the federal government's crash tests. It's one of the safest models on the road of any size, from any manufacturer.
2008 Ford Taurus X
Attractive on the outside, less so on the inside, the 2008 Ford Taurus X reincarnates the station wagon under the “crossover” label.
If you’re nostalgic for the traditional station wagon, the 2008 Ford Taurus X crossover may be the car for you. This year, the Taurus X has a new face--with more chrome--and a new taillamp design relative to the Freestyle, along with a spruced-up interior.
Most of the reviews read by TheCarConnection.com's experts compare this 2008 Ford to the family station wagon many drivers grew up with. Cars.com notes, "[to] someone who was ferried to day camp in a Ford Country Squire station wagon, it still looks like an overgrown wagon." Jalopnik concludes that the 2008 Ford Taurus X "looks like the spiritual successor to the big wagons of yore."
Nonetheless, this 2008 Ford's exterior has some visual appeal, which the Washington Post sums up succinctly: "Head-turning quotient: Strong, substantial, proud, Middle America-attractive." Autoblog, noting its family resemblance to the 2008 Ford Edge, states that "the new chrome face has utterly transformed the character of the Freestyle by actually giving it some" and adding that "the single color is a more handsome, upscale look” (a reference to the two-tone Eddie Bauer trim).
The interior of the Ford 2008 Taurus X, on the other hand, elicits mixed reactions. Autoblog says "the design is attractive and functional," but adds that even though "the plastic wood trim has been changed to simulate a different style of wood...it's still plastic." Their last quip here resonates with many of us: "If you're not going to use real tree parts, please don't bother."
Edmunds also finds this Ford 2008's interior appearance lacking: "cloth upholstery in SEL models is unimpressive." Automobile comments on the "plastic" wood, saying that the "interior could be more refined...a quite nice, if imperfect, interior. The faux wood trim is a bit too shiny, but the plastics and the trim in general are pleasing enough, and the interior panel fits are good."
2008 Ford Taurus X
The 2008 Ford Taurus X offers ample power and predictable road manners—perfect for its family mission.
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.
2008 Ford Taurus X
Comfort & Quality
Most drivers and passengers will find that the 2008 Ford Taurus X offers acceptable--if not lavish--levels of comfort and exceptional cargo storage.
The 2008 Ford Taurus X has good comfort for five passengers, but TheCarConnection.com advises that buyers be realistic about the third-row seat.
The Washington Post says the 2008 Ford Taurus X has a "comfortable, ergonomically appealing interior," while Cars.com reports "roomy seats in all three rows." While ConsumerGuide notes "headroom and legroom are both six-footer ample," Autoblog points out that "third row seatbacks are pretty short and best suited to juvenile [occupants]." On the other hand, Edmunds says the 2008 Ford Taurus X has "acceptable seat comfort in all three rows" and claims "children, teenagers and average-sized adults alike will find the rearmost quarters perfectly comfortable and fully usable."
TheCarConnection.com notes few complaints about interior space in this Ford; 2008’s Taurus X, the Washington Post reports, has "rear seats [that] easily can be flipped and folded to make room for lots of cargo," with a capacity of "85.5 cubic feet with second- and third-row seats folded" and "15.8 cubic feet with those seats raised." ConsumerGuide reports "all rear seats fold flat," providing a "wide load deck [that] stretches to 9.5-ft with the right-front seatback folded down." This source also notes that the third-row seat of the 2008 Ford "converts more easily than most, disappearing into a floorwell that provides handy storage otherwise."
Autoblog points out "plenty of storage space throughout the interior, including deep, wide pockets in all four door panels with Ford's now customary cup holders molded in"; they also mention that in the 2008 Ford, a "decent sized compartment in the dash above the center stack can hold the usual assortment of electronic toys" and a "roof mounted console has a compartment suitable for glasses or garage door openers."
Cars.com is less impressed with the Ford 2008 Taurus X's interior material quality and ergonomics, noting "so-so materials and some shoddy build quality...the steering wheel tilts but doesn't telescope, a shortcoming." Edmunds notes "cheap interior materials" while ConsumerGuide says that the cabin assembly is "mostly top notch, but materials disappoint...hard plastics dominate the interiors, with precious few soft or padded surfaces to be found."
Noise levels are acceptable for the most part; Autoblog reports that "on the road, the Taurus X was nicely hushed...sounds that did come through from the engine compartment were muted and never felt strained." On the other hand, ConsumerGuide reports "a coarse engine note intrudes during acceleration."
2008 Ford Taurus X
Except for the rear visibility issues, the 2008 Ford Taurus X is as safe a vehicle as they come.
The 2008 Ford Taurus X is one of the few vehicles to which TheCarConnection.com awards a perfect 10 for safety.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) both give the 2008 Ford Taurus X high ratings, with IIHS awarding it Top Safety Pick honors. The NHTSA rates it at five stars across the board for front and side impact protection and four stars for rollover resistance.
Cars.com notes standard safety features included with the Ford Taurus X include "standard antilock brakes, front- and side-impact airbags for the front seats, and side curtain airbags that protect occupants in all three rows in a side impact or rollover," as well as an electronic stability system. The Washington Post notes that the 2008 Ford Taurus X's side bags are "designed with two chambers--one to deploy faster for better protection of the lower extremities and an upper chamber engineered to design more slowly to cushion the upper body without torso injuries."
Many sources comment on this Ford 2008 model's high degree of visibility; Cars.com notes "the driver has a good view of the road without being needlessly high." On the other hand, the "optional flip-down video screen for the backseat made [the] rearview mirror almost useless." ConsumerGuide also comments that the Ford 2008 Taurus X's "visibility is generally good, though the view to the rear corners is hindered by roof pillars."
2008 Ford Taurus X
There are enough features available for the 2008 Ford Taurus X to satisfy the most demanding consumer.
TheCarConnection.com notes an abundance of high-tech accessories available for the 2008 Ford Taurus X.
Trim levels for this 2008 Ford are the SEL, Eddie Bauer Edition, and Limited.
The base SEL model of the Ford 2008 Taurus X includes "17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, two-tone exterior paint, privacy glass, air-conditioning, a six-way power driver seat, an in-dash CD changer, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, full power accessories, cruise control, a trip computer and heated mirrors," according to Edmunds.
The Eddie Bauer edition of the 2008 Ford offers a number of cosmetic options that include "gold body cladding, two-tone leather upholstery in the first and second rows, wood-grain interior trim," as well as a two-tone paint scheme similar to that of the Subaru Outback.
Optional features according to Autoblog include "a roof-mounted DVD player with flip down screen and auxiliary inputs." The drawback to this device is that it "failed to read any of the half dozen burned discs" the reviewer tried. The auxiliary inputs allow one to "plug in a video iPod or game console and play that on the screen."
Cars.com reports that a "sonar Reverse Sensing System, a stand-alone option, is helpful for parking" the Ford 2008 Taurus X.