2011 Ford Taurus Review

Consumer Reviews
2 Reviews
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The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
April 19, 2011

The 2011 Ford Taurus isn’t quite a game-changing sedan, but it's a handsome, solid, high-quality choice.

Ford last year gave its full-size Taurus sedan a transformation, creating a more attractive, more capable competitor in a class that spans both mainstream mid-size sedans like the Honda Accord V-6 as well as the Buck Lucerne. A new high-performance Taurus SHO, powered by a turbocharged V-6, also joined the model line. The only down side to the new Taurus versus the old? Its interior became a little less spacious in the process.

Although the 2011 Ford Taurus can hardly be called exciting, it's a big improvement over the pre-2010 version. All around, the Ford Taurus got an interesting new shape last year, dropping the old VW Passat-like roofline in favor of a crisper profile that hints at the smaller Ford Fusion. Inside, the 2011 Taurus is more focused; defined areas for the driver and front passenger are marked with a low, wide center console that firmly splits the driver and passenger sides (and takes up a lot of space). And there's lots of faux-wood and chrome trim. The sporty Taurus SHO gets special badging, glossy black dash trim, and more metallic highlights inside and out, as well as a trunklid spoiler, twin chrome exhaust tips, and a snazzier grille.

The 2011 Ford Taurus moves off the line smartly with its 3.5-liter V-6, making 263 horsepower and 249 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration is smooth and plentiful at all sane speeds, and the six-speed automatic's a smooth operator, but paddle shifters (on SEL and Limited versions) feel a little gimmicky in a big sedan like this.

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The Taurus SHO benefits from a lot more power, but it's a little less transformational than in past SHO Taurus sedans—in part because the SHO puts the power to the road with such stoicism and a lack of pulse-raising excitement. The new car's 365-horsepower, turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 version of the same engine breathes easily but not as dramatically as expected. Ford quotes a 0-60-mph acceleration time of 6.0 seconds for the new SHO; the curb weight of 4,368 pounds must mask some of its strength.

Road manners for standard Taurus models are quite impressive; the 2011 Taurus rides more firmly than you might expect from such a big sedan, taut but not high-strung, with a smooth ride and some natural body roll. The steering is direct and precise, and it provides plenty of feedback, a notable accomplishment since it's electronically dialed in, rather than hydraulically assisted. At the same time, you won't forget that the Taurus is a hefty car; it's far from nimble.

Front seats in the Taurus are a little constrained by the large console, though it has great room for tall drivers. The biggest issues with the rear seat come from tall passengers, as always; the door opening is wide for feet, but the roofline is low, which makes entry and exit a little tougher than need be. With a sunroof installed and six-footers in back, headroom is a letdown, with constant contact between hair and headliner.

The Taurus is strong on safety. In addition to great crash-test scores and the standard roster of safety features, Ford offers a collision warning system and adaptive cruise control on the new sedan, as well as Blind Spot Information and Cross Traffic Alert systems; these use rear- and side-aiming radar to alert drivers to impending disaster. The Taurus SHO also offers an optional rearview camera.

The long list of standard features on the 2011 Ford Taurus means even base versions are well-equipped. The Taurus SE gets an AM/FM/CD player with MP3 playback; tilt/telescope steering; a 60/40 split-folding rear seat; a power driver seat; and power locks, windows, and mirrors. The next trim up, the Taurus SEL includes Sirius Satellite Radio, automatic climate control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel; the Limited adds 19-inch wheels, ambient lighting, a six-CD changer, reverse parking sensors, leather seats and power controls for the front passenger, and the SYNC entertainment controller. The SHO comes with its unique powertrain and suspension and gets a spoiler, push-button start, sueded seats, and high-intensity discharge headlamps.

7

2011 Ford Taurus

Styling

The 2011 Ford Taurus looks athletic and handsome, but not all that exciting.

Although the 2011 Ford Taurus can hardly be called exciting, it's a big improvement over the pre-2010 version. All around, the Ford Taurus got an interesting new shape last year, dropping the old VW Passat-like roofline in favor of a crisper profile that hints at the smaller Ford Fusion. The front fenders are pronounced and the roof is lowered, giving the sedan a sportier stance. Up front it's less than perfect; with a broad upper chrome bar, three dissimilar painted bars below, a new grille, and wrap-around headlights, there's a lot to take in at first glance. The rear fenders are most interesting, with sculpted shoulders and firm, straight character lines playing off each other in a way no Taurus has ever seen.

Inside, the 2011 Taurus is more focused; defined areas for the driver and front passenger are marked with a low, wide center console that firmly splits the driver and passenger sides (and takes up a lot of space). The instrument cluster presents information to the driver in three, deeply recessed gauges, and lots of blue-lit gauges and small black buttons are placed logically. Standard Tauruses wear more traditional faux-wood and plastic trim, while the SHO gets special badging, glossy black dash trim, and more metallic highlights inside and out, as well as a trunklid spoiler, twin chrome exhaust tips, and a snazzier grille.

Review continues below
7

2011 Ford Taurus

Performance

The 2011 Ford Taurus and SHO are fast and smooth, and the SHO especially can be hustled along, but they're both too stoic.

The 2011 Ford Taurus moves off the line smartly with its 3.5-liter V-6, making 263 horsepower and 249 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration is smooth and plentiful at all sane speeds, and the six-speed automatic's a smooth operator, but paddle shifters (on SEL and Limited versions) feel a little gimmicky in a big sedan like this.

The Taurus SHO benefits from a lot more power, but it's a little less transformational than in past SHO Taurus sedans—in part because the SHO puts the power to the road with such stoicism and a lack of pulse-raising excitement. The new car's 365-horsepower, turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 version of the same engine breathes easily but not as dramatically as expected. Ford quotes a 0-60-mph acceleration time of 6.0 seconds for the new SHO; the curb weight of 4,368 pounds must mask some of its strength.

As with the other paddle-shifted Taurus sedans, you can leave the SHO Taurus in manual mode and click off shifts as you please, with electronic backup in case your gear choices harm the engine and gearbox. The SHO suspension is tuned for handling, with stiffer shocks and springs, thicker anti-roll bars, and new suspension mounts, and it pays off with crisp turn-in and nicely balanced handling. Hustle it through corners, and the SHO leans a little before it takes a good set and grips the pavement as well as any competitor, save for the Nissan Altima, the handling standout in the class.

Road manners for standard Taurus models are quite impressive; the 2011 Taurus rides more firmly than you might expect from such a big sedan, taut but not high-strung, with a smooth ride and some natural body roll. The steering is direct and precise, and it provides plenty of feedback, a notable accomplishment since it's electronically dialed in, rather than hydraulically assisted. At the same time, you won't forget that the Taurus is a hefty car; it's far from nimble.

Review continues below
8

2011 Ford Taurus

Comfort & Quality

A mammoth trunk and quiet, well-trimmed interior might help you get over the lack of interior space, especially in back, in the 2011 Ford Taurus.

The 2011 Ford Taurus is a full-size car, and there's copious passenger room, but that doesn't mean the Taurus inherits a queasy, mushy ride.

Front seats in the Taurus are a little constrained by the large console, though it has great room for tall drivers. The basic seats are fine and sit high for good straight-ahead visibility. (SHO models get tighter-fitting, suede-trimmed versions.) In the rear seat, the Taurus is wide enough to sit three across, but legroom is only adequate. With the front seats in their rear-most position, things are actually a little cramped. The biggest issues with the rear seat come from tall passengers, as always; the door opening is wide for feet, but the roofline is low, which makes entry and exit a little tougher than need be. With a sunroof installed and six-footers in back, headroom is a letdown, with constant contact between hair and headliner.

In contrast, the Taurus' trunk is enormous, thanks to the high profile of the rear fenders and the tall decklid. At more than 20 cubic feet, it's almost twice the size of the Acura RL trunk; a tandem stroller and a Diaper Genie could get lost in it.

Along with a more stylish cabin, the 2010 Taurus has better noise damping—even though it's not tomb-like, the interior is quiet and vibration free—and nicer materials. And the ride, while being slightly on the firm side, doesn't bound or bounce. Plastics are higher-grade and attractive, though some might be overwhelmed with chrome.

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9

2011 Ford Taurus

Safety

The 2011 Ford Taurus is one of the safest large sedans, with all the best safety equipment plus excellent crash-test ratings.

On the safety front, the 2011 Ford Taurus is well equipped with standard features, including six airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction and stability control; automatic high beams; and rain-sensing wipers. An SOS post-crash alert system is also standard; after an impact that causes airbags to deploy, the SOS system unlocks all doors, turns on the hazard flashers, and sounds the horn.

Ford offers a collision warning system and adaptive cruise control on the new sedan, as well as Blind Spot Information and Cross Traffic Alert systems; these use rear- and side-aiming radar to alert drivers to impending disaster. The Taurus SHO also offers an optional rearview camera.

Crash-test results for the Taurus have been among the best of any vehicle, with top 'good' results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in frontal offset, side impact, rear impact, and roof strength; the 2011 Taurus has also been named an IIHS Top Safety Pick. In the new, tougher testing and rating system employed by the federal government for the 2011 model year, the Taurus earned a four-star rating overall, including four stars in frontal impact and five stars in side impact. In the tough new side-pole test, which simulates the side collision with a tree or pole, it earned a top five-star score.

The sole strike against the Taurus thus far is the poor rearward visibility that comes from its styling and big headrests on the backseats.

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9

2011 Ford Taurus

Features

The 2011 Ford Taurus is near the top of its segment in features, though adding too many of the tempting tech options will drive the sticker price way up.

The 2011 Ford Taurus comes in SE, SEL, Limited, and SHO versions. It carries a base price of $25,170 but spirals up to $40k for the SHO performance edition.

The long list of standard features on the 2011 Ford Taurus means even base versions are well-equipped. The Taurus SE gets an AM/FM/CD player with MP3 playback; tilt/telescope steering; a 60/40 split-folding rear seat; a power driver seat; and power locks, windows, and mirrors. The next trim up, the Taurus SEL includes Sirius Satellite Radio, automatic climate control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel; the Limited adds 19-inch wheels, ambient lighting, a six-CD changer, reverse parking sensors, leather seats and power controls for the front passenger, and the SYNC entertainment controller. The SHO comes with its unique powertrain and suspension and gets a spoiler, push-button start, sueded seats, and high-intensity discharge headlamps.

On the options list, all-wheel drive is available on the SEL and Limited. Numerous advanced technical features are also on offer. There's adaptive cruise control; keyless entry with push-button start; and Ford's keyless entry keypad with a new pad flush-mounted on the driver's side B-pillar. Also available: Ford's MyKey feature that lets parents program a specific key fob with restricted vehicle function, such as maximum speed and maximum radio volume. A navigation system and sunroof are big-ticket options, too.

Review continues below
6

2011 Ford Taurus

Fuel Economy

The 2011 Ford Taurus isn't so green, but the Taurus SHO is arguably greener than other high-performance sedans.

The 2011 Ford Taurus thirst that's typical for a large sedan, but rather thirsty overall. Fuel economy ratings are 18 mpg city, 28 highway for the standard front-wheel-drive Taurus. Ratings drop to 17/25 for both the all-wheel-drive Taurus as well as the Taurus SHO. For the SHO, that's actually not so bad, as many sedans with its power output have V-8s and mileage that's a bit lower.
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July 15, 2015
2011 Ford Taurus 4-Door Sedan SEL FWD

Car is great Ford custmor servive is very bad.

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I like the car but the ford motor co. really does not stand behind there car, and let's the buyer out in the cold with no help. They just don't care what happens after you leave the lot.
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July 5, 2015
2011 Ford Taurus 4-Door Sedan SHO AWD

great car love it but has power seat issues that tick me off. they fixed once under warranty but now I have to pay

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This sho is a great car with lots of power. Love it.
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Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 9
Features 9
Fuel Economy 6
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