"Have 2000 Taurus sedan SE with 24V DOHC, mach sound system & digital climate control. I have the captains bench seat in the front, which is nice for the extra storage space or (if you're a bit nostalgic) having the girlfriend slide over at the drive in. Purchased it in 2005 with 85,000 miles on it for $5000, car now has 177k miles and I'm looking for another one.
I have spent hours and hours test driving cars and researching cars and honestly the Taurus fills a lot of niches for people who drive a lot and drive hard. Car is comfortable, performs well with 24V engine and handles great in the city or Hwy. I get 23-26 mpg mixed, as high as 30 mpg on the hwy alone tracked EVERY tank. All this with regular. I drive at least 20k miles a year and I drive it hard. Car will hold its own well against any other car in its class in acceleration, handling and economy. Overall I can't say that I've had too many problems with the car though I have had to start replacing things as they wear out. I do a lot of work myself and and I'm also a mechanical engineer. I've done brakes twice (90k, 160k), tires, rear struts (100k), spark plugs and 1 coil (140k), an alternator (155k), radiator hoses (160k), and recently ball joints and stabilizer arms at 170k miles. Sounds like a lot but I drive the Boston/New England roads all the time (cobble stones, pot holes, gravel, etc), this is just what happens to a car that's been punished during a long service life. There are times I spend more hours in the car than I do sleeping and I've loved every minute of it. Parts are reasonably inexpensive (and available) and the car is easy to work on. Oil is usually still clean after 5k of hard driving and I've pushed it to 10 or 12k miles before changing. Average maintenance cost has been about $850/yr since the car has broken 110k miles, but at 160k that has gone up considerably given the suspension has taken a beating lately.
While the interior of the car has a lot of plastic in it, it holds up well and it feels solid. Plenty of room in the back seat (sedan) and the front is roomy also. Road noise could be better. Mach sound system with CD changer is deep and crisp, rivals the Bose system in my mother's Aurora. Steering gives confidence in any weather including snow. 8" of snow on unplowed roads, no problem. Car is a tank. Styling is dated a bit now in 2010, but its clean and respectable.
Things to watch out for: Rear fender wells rust easily once the paint is scratched, you can see this on older ones driving around too. The frame on the 2000 models is somewhat flexible in twist, can't open the doors while one wheel is raised to change a tire. I recommend spending the extra money to re-balance the tires every so often if you develop wear problems or have suspension work done. If you're driving as much as I am it'll cost you more in the long run to not do that.
I just got a new job and will be doing 120 miles a day round trip and I'm seriously looking for another Taurus. For the price, the car balances quality, comfort and performance better than any other vehicle I've driven in the last 12 months (new or used)."
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