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2017 Ford Taurus: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader May 2017

And so the 2017 Ford Taurus large sedan hangs on by the chrome plating of its grille. The rise of the crossovers has sent sedans into such a backwater that no one would be shocked if Ford suddenly announced that it would no longer produce the Taurus. Especially since the car is rather advanced in years.

That said, the Taurus still has something to offer. Not least of which is a luxury ride, a well-appointed cabin and a ridiculously fast twin-turbo V6 in the high-performance SHO.

What's New for 2017?

White Gold and Smoked Quartz Metallic join the list of exterior paint choices. The Limited and SHO trims also have an upgraded Sony audio system.

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?

$28,220-$43,395

Fuel Economy

The Taurus 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 automatic 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.

With front-wheel drive, fuel economy is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 18 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg in combined driving. All-wheel drive drops those figures to 17mpg city/24 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined.

Front-drive versions have the option of a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, returning 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/23 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 achieves 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Ford Taurus comes in SE, SEL, Limited and SHO trim levels.

SE ($28,220) has 17-inch alloy wheels, tilt/telescope steering wheel, rear 875 seat climate control vents, 6-way power driver's seat (with manual recline and lumbar), automatic headlights, rearview camera, the Sync voice command system, Bluetooth and a CD stereo system with two USB ports and an auxiliary audio input.

SEL ($30,650) 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, auto-dimming rearview mirror and satellite radio.

Limited ($37,730) 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 SYNC3 infotainment system with an 8-in color LCD touchscreen, upgraded Sony audio and driver-configurable gauges.

SHO ($43,395) comes standard with a sport-tuned suspension, 20-in wheels, the twin-turbo V6, all-wheel drive, xenon headlights, dual exhausts, rear spoiler, auto-dimming side mirror on the driver's side, special leather upholstery, 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, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, power rear sunshade, 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 blind-spot monitoring 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 (IIHS) 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 small front 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 outward vision.

The Taurus has respectable handling for its size, particularly 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 sometimes struggles to propel this considerable mass.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Buick LaCrosse -- All-new for 2017 and one of the best cars Buick has ever made.

2017 Chrysler 300 -- Perhaps the closest competitor, the Chrysler 300 offers a similar model range (mainstream trim levels complemented by a performance package), and pricing is comparable.

2017 Toyota Avalon -- No option for all-wheel drive and the ride is a little firmer these days, but the Avalon reaches almost Lexus levels of quality. Also available as a hyper-efficient hybrid.

2017 Chevrolet Impala -- Chevy has reinvented its large sedan to be more than a rental fleet stalwart.

2017 Kia Cadenza -- All-new for 2017 and one of the most luxurious cars Kia has ever made.

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

The real strengths of the Taurus are luxury and tranquility, so the SHO is a bit of an odd choice. The SEL or Limited with the standard V6 would be more appropriate.

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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.
2017 Ford Taurus: New Car Review - Autotrader