Despite the Ford Taurus having once been the bestselling car in the U.S. for a number of years, the current full-size sedan, which was last refreshed for 2013, has struggled against the tide of newer, mid-size cars. Witness Ford selling more than five times as many Fusions in the first quarter of 2016. Although a redesign of the Taurus is due soon—provided Ford doesn’t kill it off entirely—the current model soldiers into 2016 with only modest updates to its aging formula. For this final test of the current car, we revisited a front-wheel-drive model fitted with the optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine—very similar to a Taurus we tested in 2013.
The Taurus is comfortable, reasonably handsome (if chunky-looking), and priced to start at less than 30 grand, but its weaknesses are largely a factor of the ancient Volvo-based platform on which it rides. At more than 200 inches long and 60 inches tall, this Ford casts a giant shadow. Yet there’s noticeably less room inside than in other large sedans, such as the Chevrolet Impala and the Hyundai Azera. Even some of the mid-size cars in our last comparison test surpassed the Taurus’s interior volume and rear-seat comfort. The biggest return on the Ford’s size is its cavernous, 20-cubic-foot trunk that’s capacious enough to swallow a golf bag for each of the car’s five occupants.
The Taurus is a porker, too, with our test car weighing just over the two-ton mark at 4014 pounds; the optional all-wheel-drive system ($1850), which is available only with the standard 3.5-liter V-6, adds at least another 100 pounds. The car’s hiked-up beltline and seating position rival those of some mid-size crossovers (its platform partners have included the Ford Flex and the previous-generation Volvo XC90), and the Taurus’s handling is SUV-like, with slow, lifeless steering, notable body roll in corners, and prominent dive under braking. General ride comfort is good on the smaller 17- and 18-inch wheels, and EcoBoost cars have a slightly softer suspension tune than the V-6s because of their lower curb weights. Offsetting that, though, were the optional 20-inch wheels ($695) on our Limited test car (19s are standard on this trim); they felt heavy and clomped over uneven pavement.
Despite registering a decent, 0.84 g of lateral grip around the skidpad, the Taurus’s mass also challenges its brakes—it has 13.9-inch rotors in front, 13.6-inch rotors in back—and it took a lengthy 180 feet for our car to stop from 70 mph. During testing, we could smell metal heating up after three repeated stops from highway speeds, and the distances had faded by 11 feet on the fifth. Complete review on www.caranddriver.com, by Michael Simari