Executive presence. Hard to describe, yet immediately recognizable, it’s an aura that surrounds the powerful and strong. The 2012 Ford Taurus will never slide past unnoticed, not just because of its size, but because it projects authority. With the crisp lines flattering its broad-shouldered stance, the Taurus commands immediate respect.
Available in four trim levels--SE, SEL, Limited, and SHO--this full-size sedan packs both brains and brawn.
Brawn comes from a 3.5-liter Duratec V6, standard in all but the range-topping SHO. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, this engine delivers 263 horsepower to the front wheels, which, along with 249 pound-feet of torque, provides smooth and relaxed highway cruising while ensuring the Taurus can hustle when needed. The aptly-named SHO, (an acronym for Super High Output,) gets the newer 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. With twin turbochargers and direct gasoline injection, this engine generates 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Super High Output indeed!
In the past, higher power went hand-in-hand with higher gas consumption, but in recent years engines like the EcoBoost have broken that paradigm. As evidence, consider that while the Duratec-equipped Taurus is rated at 18 mpg city and 28 on the highway, the EcoBoost, with nearly 40% more horsepower, achieves 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. You no longer have to sacrifice fuel economy at the price of increased power.
Brains come in the form of supremely safe handling and dynamics coupled with the inclusion of almost every conceivable aid to safety and comfort. Front-wheel drive ensures safe and predictable at-the-limit handling, while all-wheel drive, standard on the SHO and an option on the SEL and Limited, provides additional traction and stability for more challenging road conditions. For the driving enthusiast, brakes and steering can be upgraded with the SHO Performance Package.
Inside, adaptive cruise control (available on the Limited and SHO) maintains a safe distance from traffic ahead while the Blind Spot Information System (available for the SHO and Limited) warns of vehicles lurking over your shoulder. All models, except the SE, also can be equipped with a rearview camera to guard against backup-type incidents.
The Taurus SE rides on 17-inch alloys while the SEL gets 18s. Limited and SHO models wear 19-inch rims as standard, with those on the SHO being upgradeable to 20-inch, five-spoke nickel-painted aluminum. The SHO also is distinguished by subtle badging on the trunklid, along with a discrete spoiler and chrome-tipped exhaust pipes.
Every Taurus will seat five adults in comfort, and at 20.1 cubic feet, the trunk is sized to carry their luggage, too. The dramatic interior features a sloping dash and center console to create a spacious cabin, and the optional power moonroof will make it feel bigger still. SE and SEL models come with a 6-way power driver’s seat, while the Limited and SHO get 10-way driver and front passenger seats, optionally heated and cooled. The Limited is particularly plush with leather upholstery standard while the SHO looks more sporting, thanks to contrasting Miko suede inserts in the seats.
Prices start at $25,555 for the SE, moving up through $27,755 for the SEL and $32,155 for the Limited, to $38,155 for the SHO. A 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty is standard, along with a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Some cars will slide by unnoticed. The Taurus is not one of those cars. This car has confidence without swagger, power without pretentiousness. In short, the 2012 Ford Taurus has sophistication.