The new Taurus is nobody's dog-tired rental car. Instead, it's "the flagship for the Ford Motor Company," boasts car design director Moray Callum. "We wanted to produce a purely American car." And they have. The new Taurus, on sale this summer, has style and substance in spades and wears its blue-oval badge large and proud in its broad, three-bar grille. Unlike its predecessors, the Taurus is not explicitly a family car, since Ford believes that today's families prefer crossovers. Sure, there are five seatbelts, but the driver's environment has a sporty-cockpit feel, with Mustang-style dual binnacles, nicely bolstered seats, paddle shifters, blue-lit instruments, and a T-shaped gearshifter, also from the Mustang. Much of the interior reflects a new way of thinking for Ford, such as the fact that the center stack slopes at a sharp, 38-degree angle. "The engineers originally didn't want us to break the 30-degree barrier," recalls interior designer Lon Zaback, "but [executive vice president] Mark Fields wanted it, and it gave us the flow-through and allowed us to raise the center console height."
The Taurus is similar in size and proportion to the Lincoln MKS, with which it shares its Volvo-derived "D3" platform, but it has a lower roofline and shorter overhangs. Development took two and a half years, and chief engineer Pete Reyes claims that its first focus was "on handling and steering, for a very engaging feel. We spent a lot of time calibrating the SelectShift to make the paddleshifting very quick. We also targeted quietness, with lots of sound deadening." Powertrains will mirror those of the Flex: a 3.5-liter V-6 will send some 256 hp to the front wheels or to all four with optional all-wheel drive, and the direct-injected, 350-hp turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 will also be available. Although Ford is largely mum on the subject, it's clear that an SVT version - inevitably to get the storied SHO moniker - is in the works.
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