Not many domestics can go toe-to-toe with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, but over the last two decades Ford's Taurus has consistently been a big sales generator hot on the heels of its overseas competition. The Taurus name took a brief hiatus in 2007, but was quickly returned to the lineup last year. For 2009, the Taurus continues to offer consumers a roomy and safe full-size sedan, set to do battle with the likes of Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Dodge Charger. With its fresh look and low entry-level price tag, the Taurus is better than it's ever been and worth a look for those seeking a sedan that can comfortably hold a family of five.
YOU'LL LIKE THIS CAR IF...
If you're looking for a large sedan that is similar in size to its competitors, including the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Dodge Charger, but are on a tight budget, the 2009 Ford Taurus comes with a standard V6 engine, available all-wheel drive and a very reasonable starting price. The optional SYNC feature is also worthy of consideration.
YOU MAY NOT LIKE THIS CAR IF...
Although the Taurus has similar features and a comparable powertrain to its competitors, its interior and exterior still cannot compare quality-wise with the other players in the segment. Also, the Taurus lacks a V8 engine option.
WHAT'S SIGNIFICANT ABOUT THIS CAR
Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control is made standard, as are a few previously optional features. A new entry-level trim, the SE, is added to the lineup.
On the highway, the 2009 Ford Taurus is quick when onramp sprints and passing slower cars is necessary, although the economy-geared transmission does downshift a bit slow. Wind and road noise are at a minimum, even on the bumpiest roads, and the Taurus handles reasonably given its soft ride characteristics and big, bulky stature. Although smooth and comfortable, the Taurus still doesn't have a pillow-soft ride like the Toyota Camry or a refined look like the Chrysler 300, but at a cheaper starting price, it proves more than sufficient for those looking for a large family sedan with a lot of optional features to choose from.
OUR FAVORITE FEATURES
SYNC In-car Communications System
Developed in conjunction with Microsoft, this state-of-the-art in-car hands-free cell phone and personal media player interface is remarkably functional and amazingly affordable at $395.
Rear Seat Entertainment System
This optional feature consists of an overhead DVD player with an eight-inch flip-down screen, two sets of wireless headphones and a remote control. The system also has audio/video jacks so you can plug in portable entertainment devices.
Overall, the 2009 Ford Taurus has a roomy, comfortable interior that should cater to passengers and drivers of most, if not all, shapes and sizes. The interior is an extension of the exterior's clean and simple look. Everything from the generous use of wood accents to the available leather seating and contemporary analog clock exude bargain luxury. The seats are comfortable and sit high for better road view, but the front passenger side foot well feels narrow and somewhat cramped. The rear seat stomps the Accord and Camry for leg room and offers front seat-like comfort, and also split 60/40 split to make room for large cargo. To easily accommodate longer items, the front passenger seat also conveniently folds flat.
Building on the "clean and modern" look of brandmates Fusion and Escape, the 2009 Taurus sports Ford's signature "three-bar" grille and has numerous touches of bling – thanks to bright chrome – on the side mirrors, projector beam headlamps and fog lamps. The rear fascia is revised with new brightwork tail lamps and seven new colors make up the exterior pallet. Rounding out the Taurus's stream-lined look are 17-inch or optional 18-inch wheels, available in bright aluminum or chrome.
NOTABLE STANDARD EQUIPMENT
A base 2009 Ford Taurus SE comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, anti-lock brakes, AdvanaceTrac electronic stability control, power steering, power windows, power door locks, air conditioning, six-way power driver's seat and two-way power passenger seat, remote keyless entry, AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD player and auxiliary input jack, 17-inch aluminum wheels and an anti-theft system. Safety features include dual front and seat-deployed side airbags, Safety Canopy side curtain airbags for both front and rear seats, the LATCH child seat system and Ford's new SOS Post Crash Alert system that, in the event the airbags deploy, unlocks the doors, sounds the horn and activates the emergency flashers.
Options for the Taurus include the Ford SYNC voice activated communications and entertainment system, an in-dash six-disc CD/MP3 Audiophile sound system, heated front leather seats, eight-way power driver's seat, 18-inch chrome wheels, cargo management system, power moonroof, voice-activated navigation system, power adjustable pedals, rear-seat entertainment system, reverse sensing system, remote engine start and a rear window sunshade.
UNDER THE HOOD
With an improvement in horsepower over the previous Five Hundred, the new 3.5-liter V6 scoots the Taurus easily onto freeways and allows it to pass slower cars. The six-speed automatic transmission is slow between shifts, but is better than the previously available CVT transmission. Those looking for the best fuel economy should stick to the two-wheel drive version, as bumping up to all-wheel drive sees a significant drop in highway mileage.
263 horsepower @ 6250 rpm
249 lb.-ft of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28 (FWD), 17/24 (AWD)
The 2009 Ford Taurus's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $25,500. Adding AWD adds about $1,800, while a fully-loaded Limited trim with AWD comes in a little over $36,000. To get the best deal for your Taurus, be sure to take a look at the New Car Blue Book Value to see what consumers in your area are currently paying. As for resale, Kelley Blue Book projects that over a five year period the Taurus will hold an average resale value, better than the Buick LaCrosse, on par with the Chrysler 300, but lower than the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.