The SHO represents a nice all-around effort by Ford, but it hardly feels like a true high-performance sedan.
The problem isn't the engine. The EcoBoost V-6, while still not quite a replacement for a honking V-8, more than holds its own, and swills considerably less gasoline than say, the Dodge Charger SRT8's 6.1-liter Hemi. Where Ford falls short is on all the little things that a large family sedan needs to transform into a satisfying performance car. As technical editor Don Sherman has noted, the SHO lifts its rotors and calipers from the Ford Flex -- and charges extra for performance pads. Compare that with the four-piston Brembo brakes you'll find on each wheel of the Charger SRT8, which sells for the same price as the SHO. Even after a short, brisk drive to lunch - hardly a lap at the track - the SHO's brakes smelled as if they needed some rest. The suspension and steering, while much better than what comes on a base Taurus, is still too soft and slow to offer the grip and handling you'd expect of an all-wheel-drive car riding on 19-inch performance tires.
The SHO strikes me more as a refined and well-appointed, if somewhat overpriced, luxury sedan. Interior design and materials quality are top-notch. It also looks quite swanky and imposing, a huge improvement from the regrettably bland last-generation Taurus/Five Hundred.
If I pulled the strings at Ford, I'd lower the price on this model and let the guys at SVT get to work on a SHO that really lives up to its name.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor