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2016 Ford Taurus: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2016

The clock is ticking for the 2016 Ford Taurus large sedan. This sixth generation might be its last in the United States, and the 2016 model might be its final gasp. With the unstoppable rise of the crossover SUV, sedans are growing less popular. They're becoming leftovers from another period of motoring, which is a shame, because the Taurus still has a lot to offer. It has a luxury ride, plus a well-appointed cabin and a ridiculously fast twin-turbo V6 in the high-performance SHO.

What's New for 2016?

The new SYNC 3 infotainment system supersedes the unloved MyFord Touch. There have also been some minor rearrangements of standard and optional equipment across the trims.

What We Like

Supple, quiet ride; ample trunk space; plenty of available tech; perfect crash-test scores

What We Don't

Snug front seats; surprisingly limited rear space

How Much?

$27,985-$41,150

Fuel Economy

The Ford comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 288 horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque. This is linked to a 6-speed transmission, and the default setup is front-wheel-drive. All-wheel drive is an option in the two middle trim levels and standard in the highest trim level.

Fuel economy is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 19 miles per gallon in the city, 29 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive drops those figures to 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined.

Front-drive versions have the option of a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder for 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, plus an impressive 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.

The all-wheel-drive SHO enjoys a twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter V6 developing 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. It returns 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined, a respectable showing for such a powerful car.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Ford Taurus comes in SE, SEL, Limited and SHO trim levels.

The SE ($27,985) has 17-inch alloy wheels, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, rear-seat climate-control vents, a 6-way power driver's seat (with manual recline and lumbar), automatic headlights, a rearview camera, the SYNC voice command system, Bluetooth and a CD stereo system with two USB ports and an auxiliary audio input.

The SEL ($30,325) adds 18-in wheels, heated mirrors with courtesy lighting, rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather wrapping for the steering wheel and shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and satellite radio.

The Limited trim ($35,335) brings 19-in wheels, keyless entry/ignition, leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats with 10-way adjustment and driver memory function, power-adjustable pedals and the SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-in color LCD touchscreen and driver-configurable gauges.

SHO ($41,150) comes standard with a sport-tuned suspension, 20-in wheels, the twin-turbo V6, all-wheel drive, xenon headlights, dual exhausts, a rear spoiler, an auto-dimming side mirror on the driver's side, special leather upholstery and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. A Performance package comes with various pieces of track-ready hardware, including upgraded brake pads, track-tuned stability control and high-performance tires.

Other options (depending on trim level) include a Sony audio system, massaging seats, active front-seat bolsters, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, a power rear sunshade, a self-parking system and adaptive cruise control.

Trunk space is a huge 20.1 cu ft.

Safety

The Taurus features anti-lock disc brakes and a full complement of side- and front-impact airbags, along with other standard safety features such as electronic stability control, rollover sensors and a post-crash alert system. Optional safety systems include adaptive cruise control, collision warning with automatic braking and a blind spot monitoring system with cross-traffic alert.

In government crash tests, the Taurus received a perfect five stars in front-, side- and overall-impact protection. It was just as successful in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety test program, where it took the highest score of Good in moderate-overlap frontal offset, side-impact, roof strength and rear-impact protection (it hasn't been subjected to the front small-overlap test).

Behind the Wheel

In general, the Taurus is remarkably comfortable, especially when loaded with extras such as heated/cooled leather seats. Unfortunately, the gigantic (albeit stylish) center console cuts into long-distance driving comfort by curtailing knee room and making front passengers feel like they're sitting in a spaceship. Also, the rear seats are surprisingly tight by large-sedan standards, and headroom may be cramped for taller passengers due to the oddly elevated rear seating position. The thick pillars and high beltline also have a detrimental effect on visibility.

The Taurus has respectable handling for its size, particularly in the SHO with its sport-tuned suspension. But a smooth, quiet ride is the real point of cars like this, and that's where the Taurus delivers. The standard V6 engine is fine; the SHO model's V6 might spoil you. The optional turbo 4-cylinder has useful fuel economy, but it sometimes struggles to propel this considerable mass.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Chrysler 300 -- Perhaps the closest competitor, the Chrysler 300 offers a similar model range (mainstream trim levels complemented by a Performance package). Pricing is comparable.

2016 Toyota Avalon -- The Avalon has no option for all-wheel drive, and the ride is a little firmer these days, but this model reaches almost Lexus levels of quality. It's also available as a hyperefficient hybrid.

2016 Chevrolet Impala -- If you haven't experienced the current Impala, it's a must-drive. Chevy has completely reinvented its large sedan.

2017 Kia Cadenza -- An all-new generation of the Cadenza is coming out soon that should be well worth considering.

Used BMW 5 Series -- You can find a certified pre-owned (CPO) 5 Series for the price of a high-end Taurus. BMW's solid CPO warranty makes it a tempting proposition.

Autotrader's Advice

As much fun as the SHO can be, it doesn't play to the car's real strengths, which are luxury and tranquility -- so you should consider the SEL or Limited versions with the standard V6.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Ford Taurus: New Car Review - Autotrader