2013 Ford Taurus Updated in Design, Drive Dynamics

By Sue Mead, April 28th, 2012

It's only been two years since Ford introduced an all-new Taurus. So, why an update this soon? Well, the full-size sedan is one of the hottest segments of the car market, so it's critical for automakers to be at the forefront in fuel economy, technology, and design.

Manufacturer photo: Ford Taurus is more refined for the 2013 model year -- with better fuel economy, more technology, enhanced design, improved craftsmanship and sharpened driving dynamics
Manufacturer photo: Ford Taurus is more refined for the 2013 model year -- with better fuel economy, more technology, enhanced design, improved craftsmanship and sharpened driving dynamics

Ford says the 2013 Ford Taurus brings all of that -- and an improved drive, too -- plus up to 31 miles per gallon highway with the EcoBoost engine.

The 2013 Taurus comes in two versions: a mainstream family player that is priced starting at $26,600 in SE, SEL and Limited trims, and the SHO -- a Super High Output model engineered for buyers who want spirited driving. The Taurus and Taurus SHO are refreshed, modernized with new engines, have optimized transmissions, plus updated electronics, communications/navigation and audio systems.

A group of automotive journalists drove the new 2013 models over a course about 200 miles in the Portland, Ore. region. We encountered slippery road conditions and had an opportunity to experience Ford's optional all-wheel-drive system in each model, which of course performed flawlessly over slick surfaces.

The 2013 Taurus driving dynamics benefit from the addition of torque vectoring control. This feature uses a slight amount of braking force on the inside front wheel when accelerating through a corner, resulting in a vehicle that feels smaller and more maneuverable, with more control when increasing speed through curves. This is virtually imperceptible to the driver.

Manufacturer photo: Ford Taurus is more refined for the 2013 model year -- with better fuel economy, more technology, enhanced design, improved craftsmanship and sharpened driving dynamics

Another new Taurus feature is curve control, a Ford braking control feature aimed at slowing the car if it senses the driver inadvertently entering a curve too quickly. With application of four-wheel smart braking, the new Taurus can reduce speed swiftly.

The 2013 Taurus is sculpted with a more aerodynamic look; a more muscular hood; wider wheels and tires; and larger, full LED taillamps. Ford told us they benchmarked the Audi A6 for its quality of materials and exterior fit and finish on the new Taurus.

Slipping inside, we noticed more soft-touch, higher quality materials and an extremely quiet cabin. Impressive are the available multi-contour, heated and cooled leather-trimmed seats that can be set with an active motion, rolling massage.

Motivating the 2013 Taurus is a standard 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 290 horsepower and 255 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine gets 10 percent more horsepower, better fuel economy (19/29 mpg), and reduced emissions as compared its predecessor. An EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 with turbochargers is standard on the high-revving Taurus SHO. It delivers 365 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque.

The 2013 Taurus is also available with the optional 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine that generates 240 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. This is the engine that gets the full-size sedan a highway rating of 31 mpg. Direct Injection and turbocharging make it perform comparable to the naturally aspirated V-6 engines offered by competitors.

Manufacturer photo: Ford Taurus is more refined for the 2013 model year -- with better fuel economy, more technology, enhanced design, improved craftsmanship and sharpened driving dynamics

Each Taurus engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, specially tailored to the vehicle and both have aggressive deceleration fuel shutoff and Electric Power-Assist Steering. EPAS aids with fuel economy and improves the steering feel for maneuvering.

Ford has also updated its SYNC with MyFord Touch system adding colorful LCD screens and steering wheel-mounted five-way toggles. The freshened version combines voice control for a variety of vehicle functions, and enables Bluetooth devices, MP3 players and a host of external media.

Specifications

Base price $26,600 (as tested: $27,395)
Curb weight 3,969 lbs.
Displacement 3.5-liter
Engine type DOHC V-6 w/SMPFI
Epa mileage rating 19 mpg city, 29 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 19.0 gal.
Horsepower (net) 288 at 6500 rpm
Overall length 202.9 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 254 at 4000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger FWD large sedan
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