Last post on Mar 30, 2008 at 4:44 PM
You are in the Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable
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Ford Taurus, Sedan
#1 of 14 2008 Ford Taurus Test Drives
by KarenS HOST
Aug 02, 2007 (4:41 pm)
Tell us about your 2008 Taurus test drive.
#2 of 14 Long Test Drive
Aug 01, 2007 (8:51 am)
I just returned from a 2500 mile 'test drive' (Avis rental) of a 2008 Taurus SEL. My only previous exposure to this platform was a week long rental of a Montego a few years ago.
The driving was 80% Interstate cruising at 80mph 10% 55mph two lane and 10% suburban traffic.
I liked the Montego I rented a few years ago, with the exception of the barely adequate drivetrain. The new Taurus has solved that problem in spades. 0-60 and highway passing are great! The tranny shifts smoothly, in fact, I didn't even realize it was a six speed until I had driven it about 1000 miles. It could use some manual control options, but other than that it was flawless around town. Mileage was 26mpg at 80mph, about 22 around town, and I hit 29mpg on a 55 mph stretch of 50 miles or so. This is a *large* car, so that is pretty good.
Speaking of large, the rear seat legroom is limo-like, the trunk is mammoth, and the front seat accommodations are very comfortable. My wife had driven an Impala about 1500 miles a few weeks earlier, and the seats and overall comfort in the Taurus were head and shoulders (and back and...) better. The car was tight and very quiet. The 6 disk CD changer sounded great, it plays MP3 format CDs, and if you are looking for that iPod jack, it is INSIDE the console, a very logical place for it.
The downsides: they have definitely detuned the suspension from the Montego I rented. I thought the Montego handled very well for its size. The Taurus is WAY too soft for anything other than highway cruising and flat straight suburban driving. The power steering is numb. The brakes seem to be just OK. The Continental tires are narrow and break traction too easily in both dry and wet, although very quiet.
The transmission cries out for some manual control possibilities. Six gears and your only choices are low and drive, with an overdrive lockout button. 2,3,4 are automatic only Huh?
I live in a mountainous area, and I think other than the extremely low ground clearance, the AWD Taurus would have the potential of being a good mountain car, but the soft suspension, numb steering feel and lack of manual control of the tranny are three big strikes against it. Perhaps the AWD model has a stiffer suspension?
For the 95% of the target consumers who don't need to go around curves, the Taurus would work well. I have a Toyota, a Mazda and a Chevy pickup right now, and I would definitely consider a Taurus if I lived in the 'burbs. For aggressive driving, it needs some work
#3 of 14 Re: Long Test Drive [scottl]
Aug 01, 2007 (4:59 pm)
I was getting my Milan inspected recently & decided to test a Sable Premier AWD. I had tested the '06 Montego several times & went with the Milan. This was due to the Milan's higher HP. I have to admit the new Sable was NICE. The larger more powerful 3.5 definately makes the difference.
I presume it will also be offered in the '08 Milan/Fusion.
Those cars might be a little faster(due to lower weight),but for back seat room, it will be hard to beat the
Sable/Taurus. My only regret I have is Sable seems to have dropped HID headlights. Would at least like those as an option.
#4 of 14 Re: 2008 Ford Taurus Test Drives [KarenS]
Aug 05, 2007 (9:23 am)
I was stunned. The car performed well, felt great, and sounded very refined. The ride is more comfortable than I would have imagined and the steering a bit light, but so are others in this class. Fit and finish was very good, but still lots of plastic. However, all of the cars in this class seem to have that now, and there are more padded surfaces than in other cars. I never drove a five hundred, but it looks like there is finally an American car that can compete with the Japanese offerings. Please do not take away content to make it cheaper, keep adding the technology and allow it to compete!!
#5 of 14 Re: 2008 Ford Taurus Test Drives [dzier217]
Aug 20, 2007 (2:13 pm)
I just returned from a 1,400 mile 5 day rental with a 2008 Taurus SEL from Hertz. Overall, I was very pleased with the car. Best highway mileage observed was 28.5 MPG which I feel is quite excellent for this car.
Having driven the Five Hundred with the 3.0L Duratec, the new 3.5L is much more responsive and seemingly smoother as well. The new 6-speed automatic is smooth, but it seemed to occasionally be caught in the wrong gear in stop-and-go traffic. The overall quality control seemed excellent with consistent panel gaps, etc.
Now the carps: the trunk is huge, but I wish it had a flat floor - this would make hauling large amounts of luggage much more space efficient. The seat bottoms should be a bit wider - in fact, the two front bucket seats seems quite narrow overall, both the bottoms and backs - and, I am of just average build. Ford continues to use very thin and very small carpet floor mats compared to other cars of this class - this is a minor thing, but it looks cheap, and I don't think the carpet mats will stand the test of time. The clothes hang-up hooks in the backseat area are very narrow and only hold a couple of clothes hangers each - again, this is a minor carp, but the Asians are very good at attention to small details like this. Many of these observations are indeed minor, but affect your day-to-day interface with the car.
I, too, noticed a certain softness in the front suspension, and the car would occasionally float over large bumps. But, overall it's a decent combination of ride and handling for the Taurus' target demographic. The new 2008 Taurus seems tight and very solid, and most likely would perform very well in case of an accident. It reminds me of older Volvo's in this way, but that should come as no surprise as I believe the Taurus is built on the Volvo S80 platform.
This is a big, big improvement over the old Taurus, and an improvement, especially in the engine and transmission departments, over the Five Hundred which came before it. I just question Ford's marketing: they spent millions of dollars creating consumer awareness of the Five Hundred, and then they drop it in favor of the more recognizable Taurus nameplate, albeit as more often a fleet product.
Sep 08, 2007 (4:16 pm)
I finally was able to drive an AWD Taurus. In fact, I drove an SEL followed by a Limited. Both were AWD. I was surprised at the difference between the two vehicles - the steering of the SEL was almost too light while the Limited steering had a much more substantial feel to it. I wonder if this is a car to car difference or if the larger wheels and tires on the Limited make that much difference?
The Limited seemed quieter than the SEL. Other than that they were similar. I had an MKZ rental earlier this year and was impressed with the responsiveness of the engine/transmission combination. I believe this is the same package in the Taurus and it was nicely responsive. The SEL only had 26 miles on it while the Limited had nearly 2600 so the later felt quicker. I was greatly disappointed that Ford has chosen to not offer any greater manual control over the transmission. I had heard there was an OD lock out button but I couldn't find one and the sales person was of no help either. He did say all you had to do to manually downshift was to pull the selector back into low and the transmission would downshift one gear. When I did it the transmission went all the way to LOW. The tach certainly works okay:)!
The sales person also said that when you turn off the stability control it basically sends equal torque to all four wheels. Is this true?
Any feedback on the navigation system? The two dealers that I visited didn't have any vehicles so equipped.
We have been driving a series of AWD vehicles to replace our 2000 Park Avenue. Lots of nice vehicles but the Taurus seems to be the best compromise for our requirements. It is comfortable, handles decently, appears to get decent mileage and has AWD. I am not a FORD person but am leaning that way right now.
#7 of 14 Stability control
Sep 09, 2007 (9:36 am)
Thats wrong, the stability control is seperate from the AWD...When you turn it off, it means that torque only moves from front to rear based on wheel speed differences that indicate loss of traction at the front.
Stability control alows torque to be shifted from left to right.
Also the MKZ still uses the Aisen trans.
We never stock Navi equipped Tauruses, or 500s. The car gets too expensive.
#8 of 14 Re: Stability control [mschmal]
Sep 10, 2007 (6:50 pm)
Thanks Mark. What about the OD lock out button. Is there such an item on the Taurus? Also, have you noticed the difference in steering effort between the two models?
#9 of 14 Re: Stability control [desertrat5]
Sep 13, 2007 (12:47 pm)
The OD button is located on the left hand side of the shifter.
If you look at any Ford with NAV then you will be able to see what it is like.
The NAV system is relativley user friendly like all things once you figure it out and get the hang of it.
As far as handling and suspension goes the cars are the same with the exception of the wheels. The limited comes standard with the 18" tires and wheels
#10 of 14 Test Drive
Oct 29, 2007 (8:49 am)
10/25, the wife and I test drove a 2008 Taurus SEL. I canít say enough, the car is wonderful. Keep in mind though, that our present car is a 1993 Explorer purchased new and now has 194,000 miles on it, so any thing would be a great ride.
We only drove the car for about 20 minutes on mostly back roads and 10 minutes on the freeway. Very nice ride and tight, responsive steering are the two things that impressed me the most.
When getting on the freeway I was surprised at how fast and smoothly the car reached 60 mph with out stomping on the accelerator.
The wife was impressed and that is a good thing, but we didnít buy.
I made a promise (damn me) that no new car until we get new carpet and that should come late winter or early spring.