Taurus replaces Ford’s Five Hundred
When Ford’s Five Hundred full-size family sedan first hit the streets in late 2004 it received a lukewarm reception, mainly for its bland styling and weak power output from its 3.0-litre V6 engine.
So, not surprisingly, the suits at Blue Oval headquarters gave the green light to a makeover in the middle of the Five Hundred’s production cycle. What is a surprise is that it won’t carry the Five Hundred nameplate when it rolls into dealerships this summer. That’s because newly-minted Ford CEO Alan Mulally decided that the revised replacement should resurrect the legendary Taurus brand.
The Taurus name is one of the top three most recognized Ford nameplates, behind only the F-Series pickup truck and the Mustang. The fact that consumer awareness of the Taurus name is double that of the Five Hundred probably helped seal the deal.
By giving this family sedan a name that registers strongly with buyers at the same time as it’s making significant engineering upgrades, Ford is hopeful even more people will be attracted to the 2008 Taurus.
More than 500 improvements make the Taurus more distinctive, quieter, more powerful and safer.
As you can see, it features a Ford Fusion-inspired exterior design. It also hits back at the “down on power” critics thanks to its standard 3.5-litre Duratec V6 that delivers 260 horsepower — an increase of nearly 30 per cent compared with the previous engine. This added power is transmitted to the drive wheels via the same, smooth-shifting, 6-speed automatic transmission as used in the new Ford Edge crossover. There’s also a new all-wheel-drive system, and more standard safety features — including standard electronic stability control.
Interior quietness is often associated with a perception of overall quality and the new Taurus delivers with a revised sound package producing cabin noise levels that rivals many luxury cars. Even the new climate control system is 50 per cent quieter than before. An increase in front suspension travel plus a revised and retuned rear suspension further improve the Taurus’ plush, confident ride.
Front seat room and cargo capacity are high on the want list for many shoppers in the large-car segment and the Taurus hasn’t come up short in this respect. It offers the most spacious interior of any large sedan, with best-in-class leg room front and rear and 60/40-split fold-flat rear seats. With the fold-flat front passenger seat, items up to nine-feet long can fit inside.
In addition to a standard auxiliary input jack, available convenience features include a voice-activated navigation system, DVD entertainment system and factory-installed SIRIUS satellite radio. Ford Sync is also available. This is a new voice-activated hands-free, in-car communications and entertainment system that fully integrates mobile phones and digital media players.
2008 Ford Taurus