2019 Ford Taurus Review

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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz
August 18, 2018

The 2019 Ford Taurus is a dead car driving. Look closely at its rivals.

We all forget a thing or two, so perhaps we should forgive Ford for dropping the ball on its full-size sedan.

The 2019 Ford Taurus has been around for a while. The current model debuted 10 years ago, and even then its bones were derived from a decade-old Volvo platform. The years have not been kind to the Taurus, which is likely to disappear sometime in the 2019 model year as Ford moves toward a sedan-less lineup. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2019 Taurus scores 4.0 out of 10. It’s big without being roomy, and powerful without feeling fleet. SE, SEL, and Limited trims are powered by a 288-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6, while the vaunted Taurus SHO nameplate withers on the vine with its firmer suspension tuning and 365-hp twin-turbo V-6. All-wheel drive is standard on the SHO and optional on the Taurus SEL and Limited.

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The Taurus rides softly, channeling the floaty feel once typical for big sedans. SHOs are quick and can entertain on a curvy road, but they never forget that they weigh tons.

Inside, the Taurus pairs available up-to-date infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility with 2009 duds. The contrast is striking. Despite its 203-inch length, this big sedan’s interior lacks the stretch-out space of some rivals. Taurus SE sedans look and feel fleet-ready. The Taurus Limited doesn’t channel big sedan luxury the way that some rivals do, even if it’s priced on top of them.

Though the Taurus has performed well in government and independent crash testing, it lacks automatic emergency braking—something standard on some competitors.

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2019 Ford Taurus

Styling

The 2019 Ford Taurus is not a sophisticated trendsetter.

From its long overhangs to its high window line, the 2019 Ford Taurus goes big in every way. It’s the super size of full-size sedans, a 203-inch behemoth that’ll take up most of a standard garage.

We rate it 3 out of 10, dialing points back for its inelegant exterior and another for some low-buck touches inside. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Taurus’ inflated jelly bean shape does it no favors, at least unless it’s festooned with police stickers and a roof-mounted light bar.

Base Taurus SE and SEL models ride on 18-inch alloy wheels, while the Limited and SHO upgrade to 20-inch wheels. The Taurus SHO doesn’t have the visual punch of the Dodge Charger R/T, even though its black mesh-style grille and limited chrome accents give it some hints of menace.

The Taurus makes few strides inside with its dual cowl-style dashboard that juts far into the passenger compartment. The wide, high center console takes up a lot of real estate that it doesn’t give back in terms of small item storage, either.

A dinky 4.2-inch screen comes standard on base Taurus models, but an 8.0-inch upgrade is widely available. Some Taurus models trims some of the worst fake wood trim we’ve seen in decades, while others use silver-painted plastic. A ribbed surface designed to mimic gathered leather—we guess—on the Taurus’ doors is particularly head-scratching.

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2019 Ford Taurus

Performance

The 2019 Ford Taurus SHO delivers some thrills, but the rest of the lineup porpoises around indifferently.

The 2019 Ford Taurus provides as close to a throwback to Detroit boulevardiers as we’re likely to see for a while. We like the Taurus SHO well enough, but our score here is based on the more popular non-performance models. They have a ride that’s soft, if not especially controlled, and handling that doesn’t mask its heft as well as its rivals.

We take back a point for the way the Taurus flops around on a curvy road, putting us at a 4 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Most Taurus models use a 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 288 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque that pairs to 6-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is optional. The V-6 is smooth and refined and a low first gear helps it feel brisk enough around town. At highway speeds, the V-6 simply can’t overcome the Taurus’ curb weight.

The same is true for the way the Taurus handles. Its steering is direct, but this big sedan never feels nimble. Our compliments to the police officers who deftly hustle the Taurus around city streets. Instead, we’ve found that the Taurus is at its best when it settles into a comfortable cruise at highway speeds.

The Taurus SHO uses a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard equipment, and it does a good job of putting that power to the ground. Though the Taurus SHO is outmuscled by the Dodge Charger R/T, its smooth, broad torque curve makes highway passing a cinch. The SHO features a firmer suspension that we think does a better job of taking in most road surfaces.

An optional Performance Package for the SHO adds stronger brakes, revised steering tuning, different suspension settings, and summer tires. So-equipped, the Taurus SHO handles surprisingly well, although snow-belters will need to plan for a set of winter tires.

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2019 Ford Taurus

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 Ford Taurus’ big outside, not-so-big inside packaging is a surprise.

With 203 inches from one bumper to the other, the 2019 Ford Taurus should be small apartment roomy inside. It’s not cramped, but it’s not roomy, either. We rate it at 5 out of 10, giving it a point above average for its comfortable front seats that we take away for appallingly low-buck interior materials. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Up front, the Taurus has wide, supportive seats covered in cloth in SE and some SELs and leather on most other versions. Unfortunately, the Taurus’ center console and its dashboard also intrude into the passenger compartment, cutting what would be excellent space to just adequate.

Rear-seat passengers suffer from surprisingly limited head room from the sloping roof and just average leg room. That low roofline takes its toll on outward vision, too.

For cargo, the Taurus features a large 20.1 cubic-foot trunk.

No Taurus matches rivals for material quality inside, although models we’ve driven have felt solid and well-built.

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2019 Ford Taurus

Safety

The 2019 Ford Taurus is short on important safety features, although it has done well in crash testing.

Where the 2019 Ford Taurus most shows its age is in its lack of advanced crash-avoidance tech. Automatic emergency braking isn’t even on the options list, something that some competitors have made standard equipment. We deduct two points for that surprising oversight, although we add one back in for a five-star government crash-test showing. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Taurus includes the expected complement of airbags and stability control, plus a standard rearview camera. For about $2,000, an option package adds adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warnings, and active lane control.

The NHTSA rated the Taurus at five stars overall, with four stars in the calculated rollover test.

By contrast, the IIHS said that the Taurus performed merely “Acceptable” in the driver-side small-overlap test, which simulates impact with an oncoming car on a two-lane road. The IIHS also rated the Taurus’ headlights “Poor.”

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2019 Ford Taurus

Features

The 2019 Ford Taurus offers a lot of sheet metal for the money—but not much else.

The 2019 Ford Taurus starts at a fairly low price for a full-size sedan, but it lacks some key features and it can become pricey with options. We rate it at 4 out of 10 for its limited base feature set. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Taurus SE comes with power features, six-way power front seats with manual recline, a 4.2-inch screen for its audio system, Bluetooth, and 18-inch wheels for about $29,000.

The better choice here is the $31,000 Taurus SEL, which adds automatic climate control, leather around the steering wheel, and a few other items. For $1,000, an option package includes a sophisticated 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Ford’s latest system is one of the best in the business for its quick reaction times, clear screen, and excellent app integration—Waze users need only pair their phones via Bluetooth.

Topping the lineup, the Taurus SHO adds in a twin-turbo V-6, all-wheel drive, heated and cooled leather seats, and more. It starts at nearly $44,000, and adding some options pushes its price above $47,000.

On the bright side, the Taurus is often heavily discounted. Don’t buy one without closely looking at rebates and dealer-level discounts.

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2019 Ford Taurus

Fuel Economy

Big cars use big fuel. Case in point, the 2019 Ford Taurus.

The 2019 Ford Taurus’ two V-6 engines have a lot of car to lug around, so it’s not a huge surprise that they earn just 4 out of 10 points for their fuel economy on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

With front-wheel drive, the Taurus is rated at 18 mpg city, 27 highway, 21 combined. All-wheel drive takes a big hit: 17/24/19 mpg.

The Taurus SHO guzzles even more, to the tune of 16/24/19 mpg.

No Taurus features fuel-saving tech such as automatic stop/start and there is no Taurus hybrid available. The good news is that the Taurus runs on less expensive regular unleaded.

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$27,800
MSRP based on SE FWD
 
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4.0
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 3
Performance 4
Comfort & Quality 5
Safety 4
Features 4
Fuel Economy 4
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