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2013 Ford Taurus: First Drive

  • New 4-cylinder engine offers better fuel economy and V6 power
  • Added luxury and technology options appeal to more upscale buyers
  • Updated interior and exterior features provide a fresh feel

Even though the current Ford Taurus was completely redesigned for the 2010 model year, Ford’s big sedan has been updated and refined for 2013. In addition to the multiple upgrades made to the interior and exterior, more technology has been added.

New & Improved Powertrains

The full-size Taurus will be the first Ford in North America to offer the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine when it arrives later this year. The turbocharged 4-cylinder engine delivers an estimated 240 horsepower, which is comparable to the power from most of its competitors’ V6 engines. The standard engine in the Taurus continues to be the 3.5-liter V6, but it now offers a ten percent increase in horsepower and a 2-mpg gain on the highway. The high-performance SHO model continues to use the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. All three engines are paired with shiftable 6-speed automatic transmissions, with the SHO adding steering wheel paddles.

Updates Inside & Out

Outside, the front end now has a wider grille and lower front fascia. A more chiseled hood adds to the more aggressive look. Wider wheel and tire combinations better fill the wheel wells. There are new LED taillights and dual exhaust pipes out back. The SHO receives a unique black mesh grille, HID headlamps, black mirror caps, SHO-specific 19-Inch wheels and a large rear spoiler.

New, soft touch materials are just the beginning of the interior improvements. In the SHO trim that we tested, the seats provided a bit more support than last year’s version, but were still quite flat and wide. Fit and finish is better, and the use of contrasting materials inside was appealing. Some of the new optional features include: a heated steering wheel, power rear sunshade, rear view camera, automatic high beams and rain-sensing wipers.

In order to keep up with its European competitors, the 2013 Taurus has added new tech features and updated some existing ones. On models equipped with SYNC, many traditional buttons and switches are replaced by the latest version of the software, controlled via a large touchscreen in the center of the dash. The new Active Park Assist option not only helps you parallel park with minimal driver interaction, but will also help you locate spaces that will fit the full-size sedan.

On the Road

We were in the top of the line SHO trim for our drive around Portland. On the highway straightaways, the twin-turbo V6 delivers performance similar to many V8s. On the twisty side roads, the updated electronic power steering improves feedback and allows for better steering feel. The larger master cylinder and brake booster increases brake pedal feel and shortens stopping distances. Overall, the AWD SHO did not feel as big as it really is.

What this means to you: Ford wants the Taurus to be a contender in a segment currently dominated by luxury imports like the BMW 5-Series, Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. With the 2013 Ford Taurus offering similar levels of performance, features and style for thousands less than its similarly equipped competitors, the Taurus seems prepared to put up a convincing SHOw.


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