2008 Ford Taurus X AWD Limited

Sam Smith

Wow. I know it's de rigueur to bash Ford these days, and I try to avoid it, if only because I want so badly to see them succeed. But seriously: The Taurus X/Freestyle? What were they thinking? This is essentially a Taurus/Five Hundred station wagon, only with little more utility than the base sedan and a much more bumbling, top-heavy personality. I can barely see the reason for its existence, given how little utility you gain (and the fuel economy you lose) compared with a similarly sized mini-SUV. The list of complaints could fill a book:

-Lackluster, uninspiring powertrain. The transmission is sluggish, and if you're changing gears under full throttle, the soft shocks and springs send the whole car pitching and heaving. As on the regular Taurus, highway-speed downshifts cause the nose to rise what feels like a foot in the air. What is this, 1972?

-Poor ergonomics. How does a car this big--and obviously targeted toward Joe Everyman--not fit a 5'10", 170-pound guy like me? And how does it end up feeling cramped? The wide console, the low wheel, the narrow footwell, the floompy seats...it's remarkable.

-Dowdy looks. I like station wagons. Love 'em, in fact. Grew up with a handful of Volvos, and some odd part of me always loved cars like the Caprice, the Vista Cruiser, and the Roadmaster. This doesn't look wagon cool. This looks like wagon cool's fast-food-loving, chunky, D-student younger brother.

What's wrong with me that I'd rather have a Crown Victoria?

-Sam Smith, Associate Editor

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