The 2018 Ford Taurus does that thing large sedans do so well — which is to provide a serene and composed ride, bring some handling fun into the mix and be more aerodynamically efficient than crossovers. The thing is, everyone seems to prefer crossovers. Sedan sales have slumped as a consequence. Despite its name, this isn’t a bull market for the Taurus. Nor does it help that the car is rather advanced in years.
Every day and every mile racked up on the odometer bring the sedan closer to that final sunset. Between then and now, though, the Taurus still has a few things to offer. Not least of which is a well-appointed cabin and a ridiculously fast twin-turbo V6 in the high-performance SHO.
What’s New for 2018?
Power-adjustable pedals are no longer available as an extra in the SEL trim. And the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine option for front-drive versions has been discontinued.
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
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 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/19 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 2018 Ford Taurus is available in the SE, SEL, Limited and SHO trim levels.
The SE ($28,565) 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 ($30,995) adds 18-in wheels, heated mirrors with courtesy lighting, rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel/shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and satellite radio.
The Limited ($38,075) brings 19-in wheels, keyless entry/ignition, leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats with 10-way adjustment and driver memory function, power-adjustable pedals, the SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-in color LCD touchscreen, upgraded Sony audio and driver-configurable gauges.
The SHO ($43,740) 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.
The Taurus features antilock 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 rear 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 the moderate-overlap frontal offset, side-impact, roof strength and rear-impact tests. (It hasn’t been subjected to the small-overlap front crash 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.
The rear seats are relatively tight by large sedan standards, and headroom may be cramped for taller passengers because of the oddly elevated rear seating position. Also, the thick pillars and high beltline affect 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, which is where the Taurus delivers. The standard V6 engine is fine; the SHO model’s V6 might spoil you.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 Buick LaCrosse — One of the best cars Buick has ever made. Roomy and classy.
2018 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.
2018 Toyota Avalon — No option for all-wheel drive and the ride is a little firmer these days, but the Avalon reaches quality levels that are almost Lexus-like. Also available as a hyper-efficient hybrid.
2018 Chevrolet Impala — Chevy has reinvented its large sedan to be more than a rental-fleet stalwart.
2018 Kia Cadenza — Spacious and comfortable, the Cadenza is yet another example of Kia’s growing confidence and sophistication.
The sporty SHO might be tempting to some, but since the regular Taurus makes a virtue of not being sporty, we’d be more inclined to go for an SEL version with a few options like the upgraded infotainment system.