New Cars for 2010: The United States of America

Automobile Magazine Staff
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John Roe

2010 Ford Taurus
Cruising back to relevance.

It's hard to believe, but it wasn't long ago that the Ford Taurus was the best-selling car in America. After a series of bold-but misguided-moves, it morphed into the Five Hundred, an anodyne machine that failed to resonate with the public.

For 2010, a major update was in order. The new Taurus is built on the same basic architecture that underpinned the Five Hundred, but its lower roof and higher beltline reduce the car's visual height, and its front end is eye-catching and modern. The platform itself is getting on in years-it originally stems from the Volvo S80-but numerous updates, including a new rear suspension, hide the age spots.

The Taurus comes in three trim levels, all of which are powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 that spins the front wheels through a six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is optional on the two top models, which come standard with shift paddles on the steer-ing wheel-certainly not something you would have seen in the Five Hundred.

Also rolling into showrooms is the Taurus SHO. With a 365-hp, direct-injected, twin-turbo V-6, the all-wheel-drive SHO hits 60 mph in 5.7 seconds and does the quarter mile in 14.2 seconds at 101 mph. Despite those numbers, neither the SHO nor the standard Taurus will worry the performance-sedan establishment-the supersize Ford is more of a cruiser than an athlete. But it's a big improvement over its predecessor and a bold move in the right direction.

ON SALE: Now
PRICE: $25,995/$37,995 (SE/SHO)
SPECS:
3.5L V-6, 263 hp,
249 lb-ft; 3.5L twin-turbo V-6, 365 hp,
350 lb-ft; front or 4-wheel drive

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