We are barely to the point that we don’t sometimes accidentally write "2010" for the date, but Ford wasted no time showing the 2013 version of its Taurus family sedan turned personal luxury sedan. And what does the hazy distant future of 2013 on the automobilian calendar – any time after January 1, 2012 on the Gregorian calendar – look like? Apparently it will be cold and gas will be expensive, judging from the new features added to the face-lifted Taurus.
The litany of luxury amenities available on the Taurus grows to include a heated steering wheel, a feature that will resonate with winter-weary New York auto show attendees. But lest we fear getting too spoiled by such opulence, Ford is also readying its efficient 2.0-liter Ecoboost turbo 4-cylinder engine for the Taurus, with the promise of 31 mpg on the EPA’s highway test.
This is the same 237 hp, 250 lb.-ft. engine we’ve seen in the Explorer, so the Taurus won’t be slow while delivering exemplary fuel economy for the full-size class. Occupants will be coddled in a more luxurious cabin appointed with still better materials and increased use of soft-touch surfaces for a richer experience. The doghouse-sized center console carries over to ensure that drivers will be able to commemorate the recent tax day by packing away the entire 70,000-page tax code in the compartment under the center armrest.
The regular 3.5-liter V6 engine picks up 27 more horsepower, with output swelling to 290 hp thanks to the application of variable timing on both the intake and exhaust cams. Both engines benefit from the use of six-speed automatic transmissions as standard equipment.
The Taurus SHO rolls on optional 20-inch dubs and adds brilliant HID xenon headlights. It is differentiated from lesser Tauri by the substitution of a black mesh grille that recalls the car’s Five Hundred forbear for the three-bar chrome grille that has been Ford standard issue in recent years.
The SHO’s power train is unchanged, but it gets bigger brakes front and rear to help dissipate some of the speed the car’s 365 horsepower produces.
The most astounding thing about the lightly refreshed 2013 Taurus is that it can be expected to carry a platform into the 2016 model year that arrived at Ford as the 2005 Five Hundred, using a platform that debuted as the 1998 Volvo S80. Makes us wonder if Ford’s got its time machine in reverse.
DAN CARNEY is a veteran auto industry observer who has written for MSNBC.com, Motor Trend, AutoWeek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Better Homes and Gardens and other publications. He has authored two books, "Dodge Viper" and "Honda S2000" and is a juror for the North American Car of the Year award. Carney covers the industry from the increasingly strategic location of Washington, DC.