DETROIT - When we first saw the Ford Taurus X, our first thought was what is that?
We knew that Ford had changed the name of the full-size 500 to Taurus but we didn't know that the company had also changed the name of the Ford Freestyle to Taurus X.
No matter the name, we still think this vehicle is one of the best three row crossovers on the road. And it has been improved since our last encounter. What impressed us most about the Taurus X when we first met it as the Freestyle was that the third row could actually hold two full size adults comfortably. The same is true for the 2008 model Taurus X.
Plus, we think three significant improvements have been made to the Taurus X. The first is the application of Ford's three bar grille. On the Taurus X it's wide enough to have some impact. Thus, we can see where the face of Ford is really headed and we like it.
The second area of improvement was the interior. The Taurus X was comfortable to drive, the interior materials didn't feel or look cheap and we actually enjoyed being inside the vehicle. The second and third row seats had some substance. And our test vehicle had leather trimmed seats.
And last, the Taurus X had been given Ford's 3.5-liter V6 engine that made 263 horsepower and 249 pounds-feet of torque. Better was that Ford dumped the Freestyle's continuously variable transmission and gave the Taurus X a six speed automatic.
The setup provided enough power for our everyday driving. Shifts were smooth and the powertrain was quiet. However, we didn't pick up any stuff so we really didn't have the chance to check out the toting capability of the Taurus X. It was rated with a towing capacity of 2,000 lbs.
Still, we found our test vehicle very maneuverable. We managed to get in and out of traffic without too much fuss. We thought this particularly pleasing since the Taurus X had three rows of seats.
It was quite compact and relatively light as in nimble at 4,200 lbs. For a seven-passenger vehicle, we thought the Taurus X really handled well. We never got the vehicle that it was oversized. Our test vehicle was all-wheel-drive; a front-wheel-drive model is available.
We had the Limited edition and standard equipment included heated front seats and exterior mirrors, a six disc in dash CD player. Optional equipment included adjustable pedals, a moonroof, navigation system and satellite radio and a rear DVD based entertainment center.
We were somewhat displeased with the wind noise and we thought with a V6 engine, the Taurus X could have done better on fuel consumption. Our all-wheel-drive model was rated at 15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.
Btu we still thought the Taurus X quite capable as an everyday hauler. Prices start at $33,550. With options our Taurus X tipped the cash register at $39,120.