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.
To read more about the 2010 Ford Taurus, go to our 2009 Detroit auto show blogs coverage. All the latest blogs from the Editors of Automobile Magazine can be found HERE. We’ve got our whole staff wandering the floor at Cobo Hall bringing back live photos and more information about all the new debuts from Detroit.
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