In 1986, Ford unleashed a moonshot automobile which dragged the company and its competitors into the future. With the 2010 Ford Taurus, it seems Ford is staking its claim at greatness again.
After almost 20 years of the Taurus moniker applied off-and-on to models which have increasingly lost their way, Ford's engineers have said "enough." Make no mistake, the new Taurus is a battle cry from a more lean, more mean and more hungry Ford Motor Company. With even the most passing review of the new Taurus you can't help but take notice. Ford isn't aiming at best in class here, they're aiming at "best in world." Their words, not ours.
The Taurus shares chassis architecture with the upscale Lincoln MKS but shares none of the body work or interior. Gone is the milquetoast styling of the Five Hundred-cum-Taurus in favor of a more aggressive, confident design, borrowing elements of the European Kinetic styling language as well as elements from the Ford Interceptor concept. The resulting combination provides the presence of the Chrysler 300 with the sporty, stylish look of a European Ford Mondeo. Plus maybe a little freight train brawn mixed in for good measure.
The Taurus is being aimed at brand flagship status, and as such, delivers equipment levels not normally seen in the sub-luxury segments. In high-end trim, the car gets the recently announced Ford Park Assist system and a new system called Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert, capable of warning of cars in your blind spot and of parking lot traffic approaching as you back out of a space. The interior gets the equipment overkill treatment packaged into a stylish cabin, split down the middle with a swooping center console, keyless start button included. Passengers are treated to available nicely trimmed heated and cooled perforated leather seats and heated seats at the rear. The rear seat folks even get a power rear sun shade. It's bristling with techno-gadgetry, voice activated nav-system complete with the Sync software platform and optional Sirius Travelink, rear-view backup camera and a Sony-branded audio system Ford President for the Americas Mark Fields is claiming will rival the best home-based systems. The Taurus also gets a new radar-based speed sensitive cruise control system which also pre-charges the brake system when it senses an impending collision.
Engines on the new Taurus are familiar and expected, with a baseline powertrain being the 3.5-liter V6 with 263 HP and 249 lb-ft of torque, mated to a standard 6 speed transmission (paddle shift optional) driving the front wheels with all-wheel-drive optional. The base motor is fun and all, but we're salivating over the prospect of the twin-turbocharged Ecoboost V6-equipped Taurus
SHO. Wheels are controlled with a pretty standard McPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension which Ford claims to have tuned for handling as much ride.
We haven't driven the new Taurus yet, and we've only spent a few hours with it at a Ford backgrounder in Dearborn, but in our short time with the car, talking with the engineers, the stylists and the vehicle line managers, but as far as first impressions go, the new Taurus makes a damn impressive one. The level of fit and finish, styling detail, material choices and overall drama is a huge departure from the current model. The static car is so good it makes maintaining any semblance of objectivity a battle. We'll be bringing you live coverage of the unveil from the floor of the Detroit Auto Show later today.
Upscale, Tech-Savvy New Taurus Flagship Delivers Style, Substance For Full-size Sedan Buyers In 2010
* Athletic, upscale new 2010 Ford Taurus confidently leads a growing wave of new-car introductions from Ford Motor Company. Available this summer, this distinctive new vehicle combines class-leading technologies with confident, engaging driving dynamics
* Taurus features an impressive set of standard and available technologies that add convenience, connectivity, safety and value for customers. They include Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning, Intelligent Access with Push Button Start, MyKey™ parental programmability, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS™) with Cross Traffic Alert, Rain-Sensing Wipers, EasyFuel™ capless refueling, Ford SYNC® and Voice-Activated Navigation with SIRIUS® Travel Link™
* The new Taurus is powered by the award-winning 3.5-liter V-6 Duratec engine, mated to one of two available fuel-efficient six-speed automatic transmissions including SelectShift® with shift control paddles mounted on the steering wheel and available all-wheel drive
DETROIT, Jan.11, 2009 – The Ford Taurus – the car that changed America's view of full-size sedans – is all-new for 2010 and ready to take on the world's best, with an upscale new design, impeccable driving dynamics, class-leading technologies and an unbeatable price tag.
"The new Taurus sets the pace for Ford's growing new car launch momentum," said Mark Fields, president of The Americas. "This sedan completely redefines expectations of what Taurus stands for – and helps further define what Ford is capable of delivering – quality, fuel-efficient vehicles featuring the latest technologies and head-turning design."
The new Taurus benefits from Ford's Global Product Development System, which made it possible to deliver an all-new sedan 12 months sooner – with more new features than customers and dealers dreamed possible.
"Taurus is our premium Ford flagship, and it casts a halo across the entire brand portfolio," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president for global product development. "Building on its reputation for safety leadership, we leveraged extensive use of computer-aided design and engineering technologies as well as digital pre-assembly modeling to deliver a high-quality, new Taurus a year ahead of schedule."
Even better news? The new 2010 Taurus will start at $25,995 – the same price as 2009 models but with more class-leading features, new technologies and perceived quality that rivals premium luxury sedans.
"The new Taurus showcases the what the Ford brand promise is – expressive design, class-leading technologies and an engaging driving experience," said Jim Farley, Ford's group vice president of Marketing and Communications. "To truly appreciate the new Taurus, you have to drive it. All of the experiences come together once you're behind the wheel."
New times, new design
"Lightning can strike twice," said Peter Horbury, executive director of Design for The Americas. "Like the 1986 original, the new 2010 Taurus differentiates by combining style with substance."
The shift starts with the vision for Taurus itself. It debuted as a family sedan, but with the advent of crossovers, the new Taurus is aimed more at drivers who might move friends and family but place more of a premium on the driving experience and technologies aimed at making time on the road more meaningful and fun.
"Taurus is more of a ‘me' sedan now, and we've delivered with this buyer in mind," said Moray Callum, director of Ford's Car and Crossover Design.
Exterior design details are more sculpted and powerful – from the powerdome that speaks to the strength behind its confident grille to the pronounced fenders and fascia.
Bold new headlights combined with recessed parking lamps frame a new expression of the signature Ford three-bar grille – and the lowered roofline helps make the new Taurus more aspirational.
New wheels, from 17- to 20-inches in diameter, fill the sculpted wheel wells and lend Taurus a muscular and athletic stance. The raised shoulder lines of the new Taurus provide a confident profile and enable generous truck capacity.
The exterior color palette for the 2010 Taurus includes new hues, selected to harmonize with interior appointments and offer customers a broader range of color combinations. New colors include Candy Red Metallic Tint, White Platinum Metallic, Steel Blue Metallic, Gold Leaf Metallic and Ingot Silver Metallic.
Inside, a forward-leaning center stack – home to the climate controls, audio components and available navigation screen – flows in a continuous unbroken form through the instrument panel and down into the center console. The smart design allows for the interior to be formed with unbroken lines to impart seamless quality and craftsmanship.
The door panels employ an innovative urethane tooling process providing unique texture and identity to surfaces, with visible stitching and a hand crafted appeal. This same process allows for door panel two-toning, enabling model series differentiation.
The new Taurus' precision craftsmanship is reflected in the quality of materials used in the interior as well as the exterior panel margins, which are comparable to costly German luxury sedans.
Better on-road performance, too
To match its more athletic looks, the new Taurus features sportier driving dynamics.
The 2010 Taurus comes standard with Ford's proven Duratec 3.5-liter V-6, generating an estimated 263 horsepower and 249 foot-pounds of torque. This award-winning engine earns a ULEV-II emissions certification and comes paired with a choice of two new six-speed automatic transmissions.
The smooth and refined Duratec V-6 helps the front-wheel-drive Taurus deliver unsurpassed highway fuel economy. Taurus reflects Ford's commitment to deliver the best, or be among the leaders, in fuel economy across the vehicle segments where it competes.
Taurus fuel economy is aided by employment of a two-speed fuel pump and Aggressive Deceleration Fuel Shut-Off technology.
The Taurus engine plan also calls for optional availability of Ford's advanced EcoBoost™ 3.5-liter V-6, with an announcement regarding availability coming soon.
The Taurus SE offers a six-speed automatic transmission with a Grade-Assist hill-holding rollback prevention feature, paired with an economical 2.77 final drive ratio.
SEL and Limited series Taurus models are offered with SelectShift®, featuring racing-inspired shift control paddles mounted on the steering wheel. SelectShift offers the convenience of conventional automatic operation, or a manual shift mode that gives the driver complete control over gear selection. The SelectShift transmission enables "match-rev" downshifts and will hold manually selected gears, unlike some competitive transmissions that second-guess the driver.
The SEL is offered with a 2.77 final drive ratio, while the Limited series uses a 3.16 gear in front-wheel-drive models, and a 3.39 ratio in all-wheel-drive models to provide enhanced acceleration.
Chassis and suspension components are tuned to deliver on the sporty and aggressive design with optimized roll stiffness for cornering control, responsive steering with sharp turn-in and precision accuracy. This chassis tuning of the MacPherson front struts and multi-link rear suspension reflects Ford Global DNA, defined by responsive steering and handling, while maintaining a comfortable ride quality.
The 2010 Taurus features a new SR1 suspension configuration.
Named for its "one-to-one" rear shock absorber ratio, it provides a superior balance between cornering and handling while providing a stable baseline for fine tuning. The new SR1 enables the use of 19- and 20-inch wheels – and reduces vehicle weight, saving fuel.
"While driver engagement was a key objective for the new Taurus, we also put huge emphasis on creating a quiet environment," said Chief Engineer Pete Reyes. "Wind tunnel development time was important to reduce noise, vibration and harshness, but it also helped with fuel economy.
Tech-savvy customers will find plenty to like about the new 2010 Taurus. Its technologies enable customer connectivity, while fulfilling desires for personalization, customization and control. This comprehensive list of features isn't just technology for the sake of technology. These offerings have been selected and developed to provide the ultimate in comfort and convenience for the driver and all passengers. Extensive work has also been done to ensure that these technologies are easy to understand and intuitive to operate.
Adaptive Cruise Control allows the driver to set the vehicle cruising speed while using radar technology to monitor traffic travelling up to 600 feet ahead, automatically adjusting Taurus speed to help maintain a safe distance between vehicles.
Adaptive Cruise Control also integrates Collision Warning with Brake Support, a new active safety feature.
The collision warning system uses a radar sensor to detect moving vehicles ahead and provides a visual "heads-up" warning signal transmitted across the base of the windshield and an audible warning when slower moving traffic is detected ahead. The system also pre-charges the brakes and engages an electronic brake assist to help the driver stop more quickly.
Intelligent Access with Push-Button Start, a new Taurus feature, allows the driver to enter the car and start the engine by simply carrying the fob as they approach and enter the vehicle.
SecuriCode™ Keyless Entry Keypad enables vehicle access by unlocking the driver's door using a five-digit code on the new keypad system flush-mounted in the driver's side B-pillar.
MyKey™ allows parents or fleet administrators to activate a restricted driving mode.
When enabled, MyKey features a Persistent Beltminder® with Audio Mute until safety belts are buckled, an earlier low-fuel warning, and consistently engaged AdvanceTrac® stability control, Blind Spot monitoring, Cross Traffic Alert and Forward Collision Warning. Additional programmability includes restrictions on audio volume, limiting top speed to 80 mph and speed chime warnings at 45, 55, or 65mph.
Auto High Beams/Rain-Sensing Wipers harness sensor technologies to switch headlights to high intensity when no other vehicles are detected, in a range of up to 500 feet for taillight detection, and up to 2,000 feet for oncoming headlight detection. Rain-sensing wipers use an advanced optical sensor to detect the intensity of rain and/or snowfall to adjust wiper speed.
Easy Fuel™ Capless Fuel Filler System is an industry-exclusive feature that self-seals without a traditional fuel cap.
Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) consists of two multiple beam radar modules, one each per rear quarter panel. When an approaching vehicle enters the defined blind spot zone, an indicator alert provides warning to the driver in the corresponding side view mirror.
Cross Traffic Alert uses the existing BLIS radar modules to sense oncoming traffic when slowly backing out of a parking spot. This industry-exclusive system functions only while the vehicle is in reverse and warns when cross-traffic appears within three car widths.
Ford SYNC® is the fully integrated, in-vehicle voice-activated communications and entertainment system, with 911 Assist, Vehicle Health Report and GPS-based features including business search and call completion. SYNC connects to MP3 players, iPods, memory sticks and PDAs. SYNC's 911 Assist™ will place a call to a local emergency operator in the event of an air bag deployment incident. The latest version of SYNC adds Traffic, Directions and Information, providing turn-by-turn route guidance, and the ability to access content by personalized favorites such as region, subject matter or sports team.
Voice-Activated Navigation System with SIRIUS Travel Link™ uses an 8-inch screen to present a birds-eye-view map with 3D landmarks. The system responds to voice commands for destination programming and route selection.
In addition, it provides enhanced route guidance features such as street name announcements and detailed freeway exit, turn and ramp position lane guidance. The screen can be personalized with up to 32 pictures, sized up to 1.5MB. The system also incorporates the SIRIUS Travel Link, offering availability of current weather and ski conditions, a five-day forecast, local fuel pricing by cost per gallon as well as brand, sports scores and movie listings.
Sony® branded audio components deliver sound from a variety of sources, with an AM-FM tuner, SIRIUS Satellite radio, CD, DVD audio and an integrated 10 GB hard drive for storage of up to 2,400 songs. This package also includes an available 10-speaker premium audio system.
Multi-Contour Seats are available on an industry-exclusive basis for driver and passenger, integrating a six-way lumbar support and subtle rolling pattern massage. The bottom cushion features Active Motion.
This provides minute but continuous movement, stirring a change of muscular activation helping a driver avoid back pain.
"Multi-Contour seats will be a real benefit for long distance drivers, or people with back trouble," said Steve Michell, product design engineer. "The key is their subtlety. Active Motion is enough to help relieve fatigue but not enough to be distracting to a driver."
Safety leadership grows
The new 2010 Taurus builds on its legacy of safety leadership, incorporating a comprehensive array of passive and active features engineered to protect and preserve its passengers.
"A stiffer body structure and new crash avoidance technologies make the Taurus – already named the safest full-size sedan – even safer," said Reyes, chief engineer.
Taurus safety begins with a body structure optimized for strength and stiffness. The energy-absorbing front structure features octagonal front frame rails, tunnel rails and "shotgun" front structural members designed to absorb and redirect crash forces away from the passenger compartment.
The Taurus body structure features ultra high-strength boron steel in the B-pillar for added side impact protection.
The new Taurus is equipped with a comprehensive package of active and passive safety features, including dual-stage driver and front passenger air bags, side impact air bags and Safety Canopy®, a Ford exclusive protection system that features side curtain air bags that help protect front and rear outboard passengers in both rollover and side impact crashes.
Other key safety features include:
Side Protection And Cabin Enhancement (SPACE™) Architecture is comprised of a hydroformed cross-car beam embedded in the floor between the door frames, providing additional strength in the side of the vehicle. In the event of a side impact, the beam helps divert crash forces away from the occupants. A strong roof cross member and side impact door beams work with the floor-mounted tube to further improve side impact protection.
Personal Safety System® is designed to reduce the risk of injury to the driver and front seat passenger in the event of a moderate to severe frontal collision. Sensors note right front occupant weight, safety belt usage, outboard seat belt tension and seating position to optimize air bag deployment force for occupant safety.
AdvanceTrac® electronic stability control predicts the vehicle's intended path, using sensors to detect and measure oversteer and yaw, while continuously monitoring vehicle speed, throttle position and steering wheel angle. When the system senses a loss of wheel traction, engine torque is reduced and braking is applied in conjunction with the standard Anti-lock Braking (ABS) system. The system also incorporates traction control to aid drivers when operating the vehicle on loose or slippery surfaces.
SOS Post-Crash Alert is an integrated system that automatically unlocks the doors, sounds the horn and activates the emergency flashers in the event of an air bag deployment.
"Customers will find a lot to love about the new Taurus," Fields said.
The 2010 Ford Taurus will be built at Ford's Chicago (Ill.) Assembly Plant and will be available in dealer showrooms in the summer.