Offering an early look at what lies ahead for its full-size four-door set, the 2013 Ford Taurus and 2013 Ford Taurus SHO were unveiled in New York boasting a well-focused mid-cycle upgrade that endows both with new measures of style, performance, economy, comfort and quality. In presenting the cars, Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, noted "We have significantly upgraded Ford's flagship sedan through obsessive attention to detail. 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."
The biggest news for the baseline (SE/SEL/Limited) 2013 Ford Taurus models can be found underhood. Ford's new 3.5-liter Ti-VCT (twin independent variable camshaft timing) replaces the current 3.5-liter as the standard motivator. The new V6 is rated at 290 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque, gains of 27 and 7 output units, respectively, compared to the existing engine. Despite that extra muscle, the more efficient Ti-VCT six is expected to up the Taurus' highway fuel economy by three percent while offering even better throttle response. Those willing to trade off a bit of might for additional mileage can opt for a new 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder alternative. In its first North American fitment, this turbocharged/direct-injected engine will make 237 horses and 250 lb-ft of twist while returning an estimated EPA best-in-class of 31 mpg on the highway.
In addition to being paired with six-speed automatic transmissions, the mileage-maxing efforts on both engines will be abetted by design features like smart battery management, aggressive deceleration fuel shutoff, low-tension accessory drive belts, reduced friction lubricants, a variable-displacement air conditioning compressor, an active grille shutter system and electric power steering assist (EPAS), the latter item also offering a quicker overall ratio and better driver feel/feedback than the current non-EPAS setup.
Beyond improvements to its steering, the 2013 Taurus gets a number of revisions to its suspension, starting with spring/shock recalibrations that improve both control and compliance. Also new to the mix is standard torque-vectoring control as well as Ford's curve control plus changes to the brake master cylinder and booster tuning that improve pedal feel.
Exterior changes to the 2013 Ford Taurus are subtle but effective, highlighted by a more boldly contoured hood, bigger 17-inch through 20-inch wheel/tire fitments, raised rear-quarter panels and bigger LED taillamps. Inside, the upscale cabin boasts more soft-touch surfaces, additional sound deadening and improved fits/finishes as well as better seat contouring and a heated steering wheel. In addition to a long list of standard features, including the latest SYNC-powered MyFord Touch package which can be upgraded with a full 8.0-inch center display, the 2013 Ford Taurus will add Ford's Active Park Assist, a Sony premium audio system, HD radio and a new navigation system in its roster of options.
The 2013 Ford Taurus SHO benefits from the same kind of understated but effective changes that are found on its less-potent kin, from EPAS and torque vectoring to more refined cabin appointments and a more tech-intensive group of available upgrades.
Primary exterior changes to the upcoming ultra-Taurus include a unique black mesh grille insert and SHO-specific HID headlamps, a tasteful decklid spoiler, special black-finish side-view mirrors, bespoke 19-inch painted alloy wheels with V-rated all-season tires and the requisite SHO badges on its front fenders. Motivation for the 2013 Taurus SHO will come from the existing 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 that makes 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque -- good for up to 25 mpg in the freeway -- but the high-capacity six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission gets a new steering-wheel-mounted shifter paddle configuration, with one lever for changing up and the other for changing down.
Although the standard all-wheel-drive system on the 2013 Taurus SHO remains unchanged an equally comprehensive retuning of the suspension/braking/steering systems has Ford promising that it will be the best iteration ever to wear this iconic badge. For those with a harder-core character, Ford also will offer a new SHO Performance Package that includes a sport-tuned suspension with unique dampers/springs and recalibrated EPAS, performance brake pads and unique track-tuned calipers, 20-inch machined and painted wheels wrapped in 245/YR20 summer performance tires, a 3.16:1 final-drive ratio, Electronic Stability Control with true-off capability and extreme-duty cooling system.
No pricing or on-sale information was revealed about the 2013 Ford Taurus and the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO, but both are expected to arrive in dealers sometime early in 2012.