Ford Taurus -- 2005 Review: Twenty years ago, Michael J. Fox and a pimped DeLorean struck box-office gold with “Back to the Future,” a fantasy film about a 1980s kid who goes back in time to the 1950s, tickling that “what-if” itch we all want to scratch. By divine coincidence, the 1986 Ford Taurus arrived shortly thereafter, capitalizing on societal interest in time travel. A radically styled family car that looked like it had come from the future, that first Taurus redefined what the midsize sedan should be. Fast-forward to the future, circa 2006, and after a two-decade run that included at least one “best-selling car in America” title, the Ford Taurus meets the executioner. Consumer interest in this bread-and-butter sedan dropped off a cliff when the bulbous, fish-faced 1996 model debuted, and with buyers converting to the religions of Honda, Nissan and Toyota by the hundreds of thousands, the Taurus hasn’t stood a chance since President Clinton was turning the Oval Office into the No-Tell Motel.
Despite huge cash-back incentives to both buyers and dealers, the Ford Taurus usually lands in American driveways only when out-of-town relatives visit with a rental or when salespeople get a free company car. But is this fleet-special status justified? Is the Taurus a victim of bad press, poor design, or both?
We rented one to find out, and as it turns out, it’s mostly bad press.