KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
When it comes to the Ford Taurus X, the name is familiar and so is the vehicle, but for different reasons. That name belonged to a car that radicalized the world of mid-size sedans and wagons when it first appeared as a 1986 model, but then declined over the years to rental fleet anonymity. The vehicle itself, meanwhile, made an all but invisible debut as the Ford Freestyle, its solid foundations clad in forgettable sheetmetal and propelled by an engine unequal to the task. But the renewed and renamed 2008 Taurus X is more than just an attempt to improve upon sluggish sales by reviving a recognizable name. Along with the new appellation comes a substantial list of significant upgrades. Offered in front- and all-wheel drive editions, the Taurus X stacks up as crossover worthy of attention.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you need an accommodating third row or just a sizeable cargo area, but would prefer to steer clear of tall SUV territory, the 2008 Ford Taurus X is uniquely qualified to meet your needs. It also scored five-star ratings in all four National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Like most car-based crossover vehicles, the 2008 Ford Taurus X doesn't offer the towing capacity (2,000 pounds) or off-road capability of a truck-based SUV. The X even falls short of other crossovers in ground clearance, a result of the lower profile and stance that distinguish it from its competitors.
What's New for 2008
In its waning days, the last generation Taurus was produced strictly for rental fleets before disappearing entirely at the end of the 2006 model year. The new Taurus and Taurus X owe nothing to that car and trace their structural origins to Volvo.
Thanks to its rigid unit body, the 2008 Ford Taurus X delivers responses that are gratifyingly eager for a tall vehicle weighing over two tons. Tactile information from the steering is vague with the wheel on or near center, and the addition of a telescoping function to the column would make it easier to achieve an optimal driving position. But in general the X's road manners are devoid of nasty surprises, ride quality has a hint of Euro firmness without being excessively stiff, and the new-for-2008 V6 engine takes the excess drama out of passing on two-lane highways. The driver sightlines are better than average for a vehicle of this type, particularly looking forward. Only the braking performance leaves something to be desired, with long braking distances chief amongst our grievances.
Developed in partnership with Microsoft, Ford's new voice-activated communications system makes it easier to use cell phones and iPods, for instance, while also providing access to more of those devices' functionality.
Powered rear liftgates may seem hedonistic to those who have never lived with one, but once you do, you'll understand why they're becoming increasingly popular. A must-have for anyone who's ever juggled armloads of groceries or kids or both, particularly on a cold winter's night.
One of the Freestyle's strong suits was exceptional roominess, and that carries through to the 2008 Ford Taurus X. A new one-touch flip-and-fold feature for the second row seats enhances third-row access, and numerous sound deadening measures make the interior quieter than the previous model. The X seats six or seven, and six-passenger versions provide an access alley to the third row.
Though the Freestyle's front end was devoid of clutter, it was also understated to the point of invisibility. The 2008 Ford Taurus X update includes fresh sheetmetal from the windshield pillar forward, set off by an adaptation of the bright three-bar grille that's become Ford's new design signature. A power option is now available for the rear liftgate, making getting things in and out of the back easier.
Notable Standard Equipment
A keyless entry keypad is unique to Ford products. Other standard features that aren't universally standard include a six-way power driver's seat, heated power side mirrors, a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel with auxiliary audio controls, 12 cupholders, and four 12-volt power points. Stability control, an option on the sedan, is standard on the X.
Notable Optional Equipment
Notable options on the 2008 Ford Taurus X include navigation, DVD rear seat entertainment with two wireless headphones, power moonroof, perforated leather set trim, AM/FM audio with six-disc CD changer, dual zone climate control, power rear liftgate, Ford SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment system, remote starting and Reverse Sensing System to aid in parking and backing up in tight spaces.
Under the Hood
Like its sedan counterpart, the 2008 Ford Taurus X has a single engine and transmission combination: a 3.5-liter V6 with a smooth six-speed automatic. This same V6 powers the Ford Edge, and with 263 horsepower, it gives the Taurus X respectable acceleration -- zero to 60 mph in less than eight seconds. Federal fuel economy projections under the new and more stringent rating system are 16 mpg city/24 highway for front-drive models, 15/22 for those with all-wheel drive.
263 horsepower @ 6250 rpm
249 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 (FWD), 15/22 (AWD)
The 2008 Ford Taurus X is offered in three trim levels: The basic SEL, has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $27,500; the Eddie Bauer Edition (absent from Ford catalogues for a couple years, but back for 2008), begins around $30,000; and the top-of-the-line Limited, starting just over $31,500. All-wheel drive adds about $1,800 to each trim's MSRP. To get a good idea of what people in your area are currently paying for the Taurus X, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price before heading to the dealership. In terms of resale value, the Taurus X is expected to perform well over time, staying on par with the Toyota Highlander and Saturn Outlook, and outperforming the Chrysler Pacifica by a wide margin.