Driving Impressions – July 2014

Bootylicious: 2014 Ford Taurus FWD

By Greg Cavanaugh

Gallup Journey Taurus

My grandfather used to measure a car’s worth by the number of sets of golf clubs it could fit in the trunk.  If he couldn’t get his buddies and their clubs to the course, what was the point?  I’m pleased to say that if my grandfather were here today to see the trunk on this 2014 Ford Taurus, he’d approve.  In my opinion, no other feature better defines the Taurus than its caboose, it’s just huge!  Forget crossovers, SUVs, and trucks, there is still a place within the automotive spectrum for large cars.

With Ford’s old-school, RWD cars like the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis no longer offered, the Taurus needed to fill the full size slot above the Fusion.  With a switch to more modern architecture, the Taurus is a companion to those old land barges in purpose only.   FWD (AWD optional) with a transverse V6 and 6-speed automatic, the Ford does the job without the drawbacks of its forbearers – namely a wallowy ride and terrible fuel economy.

Offering two V6 engines and now a turbo 4, the Taurus provides reasonable fuel economy for such a large car returning a reasonable 19 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined as tested.  The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost option is the most fuel-efficient with only a slight horsepower penalty to the 3.5-liter V6 I tested, but offset by a similarly sized torque bonus.  The 3.5 V6 is a great base engine and by no means a cost cutting measure.  With 288 hp and 254 lb-ft. of torque, it’s smooth and pulls the Taurus around just fine and is actually somewhat quick. If a sleeper is more your speed however, the Taurus SHO with its 355 hp twin turbo 3.5 V6 will nicely toast many a sports car at the stoplight.

The Taurus’s distinct personality from behind the wheel is a bit “tub” like. With a high beltline and squat windows, the Taurus is the opposite of “airy,” but also provides a real sense of security.  Unfortunately it makes seeing out a bit difficult.  With headrests that now completely obstruct your rearview, a backup camera is now more crucial than ever, but unfortunately absent on this base trim I reviewed.  The center console is sweeping, attractive and convenient, if not a bit short on storage capacity, with a center armrest compartment that is quite small by today’s standards.  The controls are nicely arranged to make them easy to operate and they’re immediately intuitive.  On the outside the Taurus is handsome, but in this base trim a little forgettable.  Sporting a new color however, Kodiak Brown, my pictures certainly don’t do it justice.  As you move up the trim levels, the Taurus gets a little more masculine and looks downright mean in SHO trim.

When it comes to use of space, the Taurus seems to forget the middle.  With good first row space and what has to be the biggest trunk on the market, the second row sandwiched between is, surprisingly, not particularly large. A quick Google search confirmed my suspicions; Ford’s midsize Fusion offers essentially the exact same passenger space.  While I was able to get two child booster seats and an infant carrier seat wedged into the back seat, it was not easy . . . another inch or two of hip room would make buckling all those seats much less painful and would be more appropriate for a full size car.   Again, the Taurus may not offer excessive passenger space, but it will absolutely swallow all the luggage those passengers will ever need and ask for more.  If you need trunk space for business or personal needs and don’t want the ride and fuel demerits of a crossover, the Taurus is your ticket! I just cannot accurately describe the size of that trunk in words.

Refreshingly, the as tested price of $27,605 on this Taurus included no sticker bloating options, and was an excellent value.  Other than a lack of a rearview camera, I found the base model’s amenities more than adequate, including actual wheels (not wheel covers), a telescoping wheel and both power driver’s and passenger’s seats.   I might recommend optioning up the infotainment package and, possibly, to the 2.0 EcoBoost (which should pay for itself in fuel cost after a few years).  The reality is, however, that the base Taurus really has you covered and is definitely worth a test drive.

*A special thanks to Anna and all the folks at Gurley for the test drive.

**Jump over to my YouTube channel “Gallup Journey Test Drives” to see more test drives in and around Gallup.

SPECIFICATIONS

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED: $27,605
ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 213 cu in, 3497 cc
Power: 288 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 254 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
DIMENSIONS:
Wheelbase: 112.0 in 
Length: 202.9 in
Width: 76.2 in Height: 60.7 in
Curb weight: 4187 lb
EPA Fuel Economy:  19 mpg city, 29 mpg hwy, 23 mpg combined

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