After some lean years when it was called the Ford Five Hundred, the Ford Taurus finally resonated with the customers, with full-year sales rising 51 percent in 2010 when it was last updated.
An all-new 2013 Ford Taurus, revealed at the April 2011 New York International Auto Show, aims to build on that success. The 2013 Taurus is expected to go on sale in the spring of 2012.
The 2013 Taurus gets a major facelift, with a new grille panel, incorporating the same kind of inverted trapezoid at the bottom center of the nose as the Fiesta and Focus. The hood has been reshaped with a larger power dome, and the headlights redesigned. Like the Chevrolet Volt and Malibu, the new Taurus will have shutters built into the grille that close for highway fuel economy improvement at higher speeds and open for engine cooling at lower speeds. The LED taillamps and rear spoiler have been restyled as well, with more wraparound red lens showing up on the rear fender than the taillamps on the 2009 model.
The 2013 Ford Taurus will be available in SE, SEL, and Limited models. All will have the updated and upgraded 290-horsepower, 255-foot-pound 3.5-liter V6 engine as standard equipment.
A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine featuring direct fuel injection and variable valve timing will be available for improved fuel economy. The 2.0-liter engine will be rated at 237 horsepower and 250 foot-pounds of torque, and will achieve at least 31 miles per gallon highway, according to Ford Motor Company.
All Taurus models will use a 6-speed double overdrive automatic transmission.
The 2013 Ford Taurus SHO will feature the 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo direct-injection V6 engine, rated at 365 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque, coupled to Ford's computer-controlled part-time all-wheel-drive system. The SHO uses the same 6-speed automatic transmission as the other models but gets paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The Taurus SHO will come with 19-inch alloy and black-painted wheels with Michelin high-performance tires.
The SHO version has its own black mesh upper and lower grilles, without the shutters, a new front-fender SHO badge that replaces the tiny C-pillar badge on the existing model, and black mirror housings.
An optional SHO Performance Pack will include upgraded suspension, upgraded cooling, upgraded brakes, 20-inch wheels with Goodyear F1 245/45YR20 tires, a lower final-drive ratio, and a Track mode for the traction-control system that turns it off completely for racetrack running.
Ford says the 2013 Taurus will feature better braking performance, electric power steering, torque vectoring and cornering control, active park assist, adaptive cruise control. Options will include MyFordTouch vehicle control systems, a heated steering wheel, multi-contour front seats with massage, automatic high-beams, rain-sensing wipers, a rear-window sunshade, and a rearview camera. All Taurus interiors will have more and better luxury materials and quieter cabins due to the inclusion of more sound-deadening materials in the roof and cowl.
Prices are expected to be adjusted for inflation and equipment, which may mean higher prices. For perspective, it's worth noting the 2011 Taurus SE retails for $25,170, the SEL $27,370, and the Limited $31,770. MSRP for the 2011 Taurus SHO is $37,770. (All New Car Test Drive prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)