The original 1986 Taurus looked and drove differently from anything in Ford's portfolio -- or anyone else's, for that matter - and it quickly became America's best-selling car. Ford
, no doubt, would love for the latest, radically restyled Taurus to strike a similar chord in the country's car-buying heart. The automaker says the new model's sculpted exterior projects themes of "sporty, muscular, athletic and formal," and that its craftsmanship and quality, inside and out, are "comparable to costly German luxury sedans
." So far, we've seen no good reason to counter those claims. Only one engine will be available at launch -- a 263-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 -- but powertrain options will include a choice of two new six-speed automatic transmissions and front- or all-wheel drive. Available technologies include a Cross Traffic Alert system that looks left and right while backing out of parking spots -- a feature not offered on the 1986 Taurus.