It’s difficult to pick the most noteworthy feature of the 2013 Ford Taurus, but let’s start with how the flagship sedan manages to make a bit of automotive history: It is the first car in the Ford North America lineup to offer the new 2.0-liter EcoBoost™ engine. Beyond that, the new Taurus also touts improved fuel economy, more smart technology, a fresh look and additional safety features. And did we mention the Taurus SHO is the sportiest model yet to wear the performance badge? But more on that one in a minute.
The 2.0-liter EcoBoost combines a turbocharger with gasoline direct injection, and is expected to deliver best-in-class highway fuel economy of at least 31 mpg, as well as an estimated 237 horsepower and 250 lb.-ft. of torque. Meanwhile, the standard 3.5-liter V6 is projected to deliver unsurpassed fuel efficiency among V6 segment competitors while still delivering increased performance, with an anticipated 290 horsepower. Both engines are mated to unique six-speed automatic transmissions that offer optimized gear selection for off-the-line power delivery in lower gears, while benefiting fuel economy with higher gears that keep the engine turning efficiently at lower revolutions while cruising.
On the technology front, class-leading offerings include SYNC® with MyFord Touch™, which replaces many traditional buttons, knobs and gauges with clear, colorful LCD screens and steering wheel-mounted five-way toggles. The Taurus is available with a wide variety of audio and navigation connectivity alternatives as well as comfort and convenience options. For example, you might dig the new heated steering wheel, a nice companion to heated and cooled leather-trimmed seats.
For driving performance, the new Taurus utilizes torque vectoring control, which uses a slight – virtually imperceptible to the driver – amount of braking force on the outside front wheel when accelerating through a corner. This minimal brake force provides an effect similar to a limited-slip differential, and the vehicle feels smaller and more maneuverable. The Taurus also adds curve control, a unique Ford braking innovation aimed at slowing the vehicle if it senses that a driver inadvertently enters a curve too quickly. The electric power-assisted steering improves response and feel as well as helps to conserve fuel.
Improving safety of the new Taurus brought enhanced airbag restraints with optimized tethering and venting to specifically tailor deployment force to occupant size, position and seat belt status.
Now, from the see-your-voice-matters department comes the new Taurus SHO. Ford absolutely listened to SHO buyers and enthusiasts to strengthen the design and driving quality of the 2013 model. Fun fact: Roughly half of 2010 SHO customers had not previously considered nor shopped Ford, and frequently it’s high-end sedans – think 3- and 5-Series BMWs and Acura TLs – that are trade-ins.
Giving the SHO a unique look is a performance-inspired grille in black mesh, flanked by series-specific high-intensity discharge headlamps. Behind the front wheel openings, a fender-mounted scallop contains a subtle SHO badge. Unique 19-inch premium painted wheels wearing standard P255/45VR-19 all-season tires fill out the openings; buyers can opt for 20-inch machined and painted wheels. SHO-specific sideview mirrors – also in contrasting black – are heated, have memory functionality and contain downward-facing puddle lamps; the driver’s side features auto-dimming. In the rear, Taurus SHO has a decklid-mounted spoiler.
Performance attributes include the award-winning and fuel-efficient 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, delivering 365 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to a six-speed high-capacity 6F55 SelectShift Automatic™ transmission, for up to 25 EPA-rated mpg on the highway.
Steering wheel–mounted paddle shifters enable the Taurus SHO to match revs for smooth, quick, manually selected downshifts. For the new model, these have been reconfigured for more intuitive operation, with one paddle for upshifts and the other for making smooth, matched-rev downshifts. As with the Taurus, the SHO models also feature torque vectoring control. And the new Performance Package includes Electronic Stability Control track mode with true off, performance brakes and track-tuned calipers and a sport-tuned suspension.
When it came to the 2013 Taurus and Taurus SHO, Ford approached the cars’ upgrades with “obsessive attention to detail,” explained Mark Fields, the Ford President of The Americas. “The new Taurus builds on the transformation we achieved in the 2010 model. Delivering so many upgrades so soon further underscores Ford’s leadership and commitment to delivering high-quality, fuel-efficient cars for our customers.”