2010 Ford Taurus Road Test Review

Brian Armstead - CAP staff
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Remember the pop group Shalamar?  Well, in their 1979 hit single, Howard Hewett, Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel spoke of what they would do if they got the chance to experience love "The Second Time Around."  With the 2010 Ford Taurus, consumers get that same chance, as the onetime game-changing bestseller is back and better than ever! 

Before we talk about the new model, let's look at some Taurus history.  When it was first introduced in 1986, it set the market on fire with its unique aerodynamic styling.  It was a look that kept the Taurus as North America's best selling sedan for years, locked in a battle for sales supremacy with Toyota's Camry and Honda's Accord.  Then came the 1996 model year, and Ford's decision to radically restyle the Taurus.  It was oddly ovoid shaped, and it bombed.  Sales numbers plummeted for the car, as consumers just couldn't get with the styling.  So Ford had a "great idea" – they decided to change the name of the car from Taurus to 500 to welcome a needed change in styling.  The 500 was larger and much more attractive, but it bombed as well.  Why?  Ford had brand equity with the Taurus name, and in the car game, you do NOT give up brand equity.  Nissan rolled the dice when they changed their name from Datsun to Nissan, and it took years for consumers to warm to the new name.  So in 2008, Ford resurrected the Taurus name, essentially rebadging a 500.  That didn't work either in terms of sales, so they decided to really remake the Taurus to bring back the popularity of the first model.  Now for 2010, the real Taurus back, and the new car is terrific. 

Let's start outside, where the Taurus is large and in charge.  This car is much larger than the original 1986 model and is quite attractive.  It looks tall, thanks in part to a high beltline, with distinctive styling creases.  Taillights sit high on the rear deck and headlights are surrounded by a chrome grille.  It shares the same platform as luxury cousin Lincoln MKS, another terrific offering from Ford Motor Company. 

Inside, if you had participated in a blind test panel to rate the interior without knowledge of the brand, you'd more than likely say the new Taurus was a model from a German luxury carmaker.  Why?  Because domestic carmakers' proclivity to adorn interiors with as much cheap plastic as they can simply doesn't exist in the new Taurus.  The plastics used are tasteful and soft to the touch in areas likely to be touched, like the dashboard, door panels and centre console.  Speaking of the centre console, it's the command centre so to speak.  All controls for audio, temperature and navigation fall readily into hand, as they are logically placed.  Even the trunk release button in placed there.  Some fellow journalists griped about the placement of the release there, but it makes sense when you need to access the trunk quickly, something to think about as security always tightens at checkpoints in the post 9/11 world. 

On the road, the 2010 Taurus is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 making 263 horsepower.  It moves the Taurus smartly.  If that's not enough power, the high performance Taurus SHO model is also back in the mix.  With a 365 horsepower twin-turbo "EcoBoost" V6, the SHO can run with (and in some cases outrun!) the big dogs from Audi, Mercedes and BMW. 

Taurus prices begin at $25,995 for the base SE, and climb to $36,995 for the SHO.  Options are many and availability varies by trim level.  I enjoyed my time driving the new Taurus.  It's good that Ford finally got it back on track, and got it right the second time around.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sedan, Ford, 2010, Taurus, $30,000 - $39,999,

Geographic location: Taurus Road

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