One year after receiving a full makeover, the 2011 Ford Taurus was largely unchanged from the 2010 car, save for some new color choices and additional dealer add-ons. As such, the Taurus remained a strong competitor, offering a more youthful feel than Toyota's Avalon or Buick's Lucerne, and more luxury features than the Hyundai Genesis or the Chrysler 300. The Taurus could be equipped with a twin-turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive, two features you won't find on the Avalon or Lucerne, as well as numerous luxury features such as cooling and massaging seats, SYNC infotainment and adaptive cruise control.

Enthusiasts who need the room and safety of a family sedan will be pleased with the performance variant called the SHO. Offering all the interior room and cabin amenities of the Taurus Limited, but with a far more aggressive driving dynamic, the SHO can run with the likes of the Audi A4 and Dodge Charger RT and never break a sweat. The Taurus' resale values are also better than previous years, although not as impressive as some foreign rivals. Good news if you're looking to buy, but not so good when the time comes to trade up.

What We Like

Aggressive styling; big trunk; numerous high-end features; twin-turbocharged V6 (SHO); strong safety ratings; smooth and quiet ride (SE, SEL)

What We Don't

Average fuel economy; blind spots caused by wide side pillar and high trunk; 6-speed automatic transmission sometimes slow to shift; marginal rear-seat headroom

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The standard engine for the Taurus is a 3.5-liter V6 producing 263 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard on the base SE model and gains manual shift control via steering-wheel-mounted paddles on the SEL, Limited and SHO. Fuel economy on front-wheel-drive models is 18 miles per gallon city/28 mpg hwy. All-wheel-drive models earn a slightly lower 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy. The twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 puts out an impressive 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, yet sees no difference in fuel economy with standard all-wheel drive, earning 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

There are four trims for 2011 Taurus: SE, SEL, Limited and SHO.

Standard features on the Taurus SE include manual air conditioning, a power driver's seat, tilt/telescoping steering wheel with buttons for audio and cruise control, 6-speaker stereo with CD and auxiliary audio input, MyKey programmable key fob (lets you set limits on top speed and audio volume), digital exterior keypad unlocking, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, rear defroster and power functions for the mirrors, windows and locks. Standard safety equipment includes electronic traction and stability control, front-side airbags, and front- and rear-side curtain airbags.

The SEL trim adds heated side-mirrors, automatic climate control, sport-shift transmission, outside-temperature display, 18-in alloy wheels and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters.

The Limited adds or substitutes leather seating surfaces, memory driver's seat, upgraded audio, reverse sensing system with rearview camera, SYNC voice-activated infotainment system, power passenger's seat, Bluetooth, a USB port and 19-in alloy wheels.

The SHO features most of the Limited's equipment and adds a 3.5-liter twin turbocharged V6, all-wheel drive, sport suspension, dual exhaust and unique exterior trim.

Options vary by trim and include Sony 12-speaker audio, voice-activated navigation, heated and cooling front seats, massaging front seats, automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers, power sunroof, adaptive cruise control with collision warning, side blind-spot warning system, Cross Traffic Alert (detects vehicles crossing behind when backing up) keyless entry with push-button start, power rear sunshade, power adjustable pedals, heated rear seats (outboard positions only) and a DVD entertainment system.

Pricing

As the 2011 Ford Taurus holds only average resale values, you should be able to get a nicely equipped car for about the same price as a lesser-equipped or higher-mileage Toyota Avalon or Hyundai Genesis. To get a good idea of the Taurus's price range, we suggest checking the used-car values at Kelley Blue Book's website, KBB.com. You can also search the AutoTrader Classifieds to see which models are for sale in your area.

Recalls

There are currently no recalls or investigations for the 2011 Taurus by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

The 2011 Ford Taurus earns an overall score of four out of five stars in NHTSA's crash tests, earning four stars in the frontal and rollover tests and five stars in the side-impact test. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Taurus its highest ratings in the moderate-overlap front, side-impact and roof-strength test, and named the Taurus a Top Safety Pick.

The Taurus rolled off the showroom in 2011 with a fully transferable 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Ford does offer extended warranties on its Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicles, which includes seven years/100,000 miles on the powertrain from the date the car entered service, and a 12-month/12,000-mile comprehensive plan for cars no longer covered by the factory basic warranty. CPO cars also undergo a rigorous 172-point inspection to repair or replace any part not up to Ford standards. The CPO plan has many additional benefits such as a free Carfax vehicle report, 24-hour roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement.

Other Cars to Consider

Toyota Avalon -- Not as feature-filled, the Avalon nevertheless holds its value better and offers better rear visibility and a less-cluttered dash, but no all-wheel-drive option.

Chrysler 300 -- The 300 offers the power of V8 engine, has adjustable lumbar for the passenger seat and has rear-wheel drive. It also holds its value slightly better and can be found with all-wheel drive.

Hyundai Genesis -- The Genesis offers more features for the money, can be equipped with a V6 or V8 engine and has a more European look and driving style. However, all-wheel drive or a performance variant is not available.

AutoTrader's Advice

Our pick would be the Taurus Limited trim. Most of these cars were ordered with additional equipment such as navigation, Sony audio, and heated and cooling seats. SEL trims are good for those on a tight budget, and all-wheel-drive models should be sought in wintry climates.

Find a Ford Taurus for sale

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Joe Tralongo started in the industry writing competitive comparison books for a number of manufacturers, before moving on in 2000 to become a freelance automotive journalist. He's well regarded for his keen eye for detail, as well as his ability to communicate complex mechanical terminology into user-friendly explanations.

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