By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.5
During its long history, the Ford Taurus has experienced both boom years and bust. The original car took the industry by storm and revolutionized the American car industry. But, over time Ford allowed its modern family sedan to grow old and rather long in the tooth. Eventually, the Taurus moved from innovator to rental fleet regular. In 2010, Ford revived the Taurus brand and launched a vehicle that, while not revolutionary, was at least worthy of once again leaving the bench for the playing field. Big, bold, and with a hint of Chrysler 300 in the shoulders the 2012 Taurus takes Ford where its family sedan line has never been before. Menacing in its tamest form and downright scary when wearing the famed SHO badge, the 2012 Ford Taurus equally plays the role of family sedan and boulevard bully. And, while many place the Taurus in the same category as the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, its size, power and available equipment make it more a contender to the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Toyota Avalon and Hyundai Genesis sedans.
If you like your vehicles on the large side but you're not into wagon-like CUVs or SUVs, the 2012 Ford Taurus will fit you like a glove. The car's bold looks, high-tech interior and impressive performance are just icing on the cake.
The big, slab sides and narrow windows of the Taurus can create a slightly claustrophobic interior experience. Those looking for an all-out performance sedan may find the SHO's AWD and twin-turbocharged V6 engine combination not as pure as the rear-drive V8-power setup found with the Dodge Charger.
Integrated blind-spot mirrors are added to the side mirrors on all trims.
Driving Impressions The 2012 Ford Taurus marries the comfortable ride expected of a full-size sedan with the handling and agility commonly found in smaller, more nimble cars. The 2012 Taurus moves...through curves with little fuss or worry, going where you point it and giving plenty of notice when its front-driven tires are about the reach their cornering limits. We found the sightlines from the driver's seat better than expected and, with the exception of the rather wide B-pillar located just over the driver's shoulder, had good 360-degree visibility. The new blind-spot exterior mirrors are a vast help, as is the BLIS system that warns of objects too close to the vehicle's side when changing lanes. Ford's 3.5-liter V6 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission are the perfect pairing, allowing for spirited starts, rapid downshifts and impressive fuel economy at cruising speeds. For those who constantly feel the need for speed, the SHO's twin-turbocharged engine and sport-tuned suspension take the Taurus' performance capabilities to another level. Together with its AWD system, the SHO's performance carving up twisting back roads is nothing short of astounding.
In a nod to both fashion and the environment, the 2012 Ford Taurus SHO features suede-like seat inserts made from recycled plastic beverage bottles. Novel origin aside, the seats feel nice, look good and offer excellent grip, helping to hold occupants in place during hard cornering.
This system can be used to restrict vehicle speed, limit audio system volume and control other functions when a specific key is used to start the vehicle. In effect, MyKey lets parents better control the driving habits of their children, even when they aren't along for the ride.
If it's space you want, you'll find the 2012 Ford Taurus delivers. The massive interior can easily carry five passengers, although we think four would be more comfortable. Up front, available massaging seats help negate leg and back fatigue on long drives and can also be climate controlled to provide both heating and cooling. The Taurus' instruments are bathed in a soothing ice blue lighting and the center stack houses a large LCD display for the available SYNC audio and navigation system. Most of the controls can be operated via buttons on the Taurus' steering wheel or by voice-command. In a nod to Ford's environmentally friendly stance, recycled materials are used extensively in the seating fabric, headliner and sound-deadening material. Further separating itself from the pedestrian family sedan, the 2012 Taurus offers such upscale options as automatic high-beam dimmers, Adaptive Cruise Control, BLIS (Blind Spot Information System), and a power sunshade for the rear window.
Compared to most sedans, the Taurus is far from being in the norm. It's a tall sedan, with wide doors, and low roof, and a steeply raked windshield and rear window. The 2012 Ford Taurus is endowed with an unmistakable face composed of thin wraparound headlights, a chrome-clad 3-bar grille and a raised power dome hood. From the front, a sweeping beltline gently rises back to the high trunk and is paralleled by a deep accent line momentarily broken by the rear fender flare. The Taurus' large rear deck creates a vast 20-cubic-foot trunk capable of carrying a week's worth of luggage or two golf bags, and the low liftover makes it easy to get things in and out. The SHO models are narrowly distinguished from the bread-and-butter cars through different trim, a set of dual exhaust outlets, a subtle rear spoiler and a few SHO badges.
Included on the 2012 Ford Taurus' list of standard equipment are a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power driver's seat, steering-wheel audio and cruise controls, power windows with one-touch up-and-down function for the driver and Ford's programmable MyKey system. The standard audio system is a 6-speaker CD player with an auxiliary audio input jack. Standard safety features include anti-lock disc brakes, electronic traction and stability control, dual front airbags, front-seat-mounted side airbags and side-curtain airbags protecting both the front and rear passengers.
Many of the high-tech features offered for the 2012 Ford Taurus are typically reserved for more expensive luxury cars. Among the more interesting options are seats with massage function, automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers and adaptive cruise control with collision warning. Other options include heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, Intelligent Access with push-button start, power rear sunshade, power adjustable pedals, the SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment system (standard on Limited and SHO), and a 12-speaker premium Sony audio system. On the safety front, the optional Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) alerts the driver when other vehicles are in his blind spots, while Cross-Traffic Alert warns of approaching traffic when the vehicle is backing up.
All 2012 Ford Taurus trims feature a 3.5-liter V6 paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The Taurus SHO offers 102 more horsepower than the standard Taurus V6, thanks to the use of direct-injection technology and twin turbochargers. With the exception of the SE trim, all Taurus models also feature steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, providing manual control of the transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is available as an option on both SEL and Limited trims and standard on the Taurus SHO.
263 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
249 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28 FWD, 17/26 AWD
3.5-liter V6 Twin-Turbocharged
365 horsepower @ 5,550 rpm
350 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,250 rpm
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 17/25
The 2012 Ford Taurus has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $26,000 for the SE trim, around $28,500 for the mid-level SEL, close to $33,000 for the Limited trim and just over $39,000 for the high-performance Taurus SHO. All-wheel drive adds about $1,850 to the price tag and, when fully loaded, the price for a Ford Taurus Limited tops out near the $44,000 mark. Prices for the 2012 Ford Taurus tend to be lower than those for the 2012 Toyota Avalon and Chrysler 300, but slightly higher than prices for the aging Chevrolet Impala. A nicely equipped Limited runs about the same price as a V6 Hyundai Genesis. To get the best deal, be sure to take a look at the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what consumers in your area are currently paying for their Ford Tauruses. We expect the 2012 Ford Taurus to hold its value better than previous versions, easily outpacing residual values for the Chevrolet Impala and Chrysler 300 while nearly matching the values for the Toyota Avalon.
By td (SD) on Sunday, December 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,800overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Cons: "standard sound system poor"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"to new to know about reliability, has a very solid and quality feel to the handling & ride. Very quiet."
By Hector (International) on Sunday, December 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love it Taurus, excellent displacement and force motor. Comodo, space and functional. The only problem was the sensor in the tank gasoline, I have been 3 times to review. I recommend the 2013 Taurus, excellent for Ford."
By Seadogz (MI) on Wednesday, December 04, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, but flat out junk!"
Cons: "Really poorly built and over priced!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Car spends more time in the shop than in my garage at home. It seems as if every 2 to 3 months something breaks. Started with a blown engine at 7000 miles. Heater quit 3 times, LED lights are nice when they work. Chrome flaked off the tail lights 3 times which means I replaced the entire tail light at a cost of 400 twice once the warranty wouldn't cover them. The last time I paid 350 to a body shop to just scrape the chrome and paint them black. It goes on! Cooled seat had to be replaced, second engine almost blew up because of a faulty crank shaft timer, and on and on."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By TomH (VA) on Tuesday, December 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Executive sedan, American, Fun to drive, Sleeper"
Cons: "Sleeper, Made in America stigma, expensive tires"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Have always wanted a SHO since they were introduced back in 1989. Many don't realize that when the SHO was reintroduced to the Taurus line back in 2009 (as 2010 model year) the car had features that were not available on the BMW 3 or 5 series, or the Mercedes C or E class. By 2011, those makes added these features to their models. This included rear heated seats, front heated & cooled seats, massaging front seats, adaptive cruise control, cross traffic alert, accident avoidance and 365HP engine. I purchased the extended warranty as I wasn't sure of the upcoming reliability of the car. I am now thinking about getting a pro-rated refund as I don't expect any issues based on following the SHO forums. There are no common or standard issues that are being reported. Note that all the 2010 models had Technical Service Bulletins (TSB's) that were issued by Ford. These are adjustments that the dealer will make, free of charge, to fix or make adjustments to make ownership more enjoyable. I had many of these TSB's performed. If you buy used, you want to make sure these were performed. The car is very quite and very smooth on the highway, and easily gets around 29 MPG highway and 22 MPG city. The AWD works very well in snowy conditions. The twin turbo 3.5 liter V6 is rated at 365HP @ 1,500 RPM with 0-60 times of 5.2 seconds. With a $700 tune, you can get 420 HP with 0-60 times of 4.8 and 1/4 mile times in the 11's. The adaptive cruise control is perfect for interstate travel. The Sony sound system is very good at all volume levels. It includes a USB port, Aux in, and Bluetooth Audio streaming. Many phones that support the Bluetooth MAP profile allow you to send and receive Text through the Sync system, hands free. Sync will also use your phone to dial 911 in case of an accident (without the subscription required of many other makes). XM travel includes Sports scores, Movie listings, Gas prices, Weather radar, all on the car display. You can also receive a signed certificate from Ford as the SHO is a limited production vehicle by the Ford Performance Group. Many SHO colors and options are very exclusive, such as the Cinnamon color that was offered only in 2010. Only 199 SHO's were made in that color. Of those 199, only 88 were made with black leather/black alcantara interior. So, point being, they are a very limited model."
By Bill (IA) on Saturday, November 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have 2 complaints. 1- the lever for adjusting the steering wheel is clumsy. 2- It seems strange that with all the options on this car it doesn't have remote start."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Mastah (IN) on Monday, November 04, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, decent fuel economy, cold AC"
Cons: "Poor visibility, poor ergonomics, bland"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Let me first preface this review by saying that the car has been very reliable and delivers reasonable fuel economy and has a cold air conditioner. This car is one where function was forced to follow form. The outward visibility is nothing short of horrible due to the wedge shape coupled with shorter glass than sheet metal on the doors. Shall we call this the height of glass to sheet metal ratio? The design of the windshield pillar and rear view mirrors makes it sometimes difficult to see pedestrians. In short the car is a rolling blind spot, an accident waiting to happen. I have literally been in situations where I don't see pedestrians due to the incredibly poor visibility out of this car (no joke). I'm amazed they would release this design knowing how poor the visibility is. I climb into other cars and I feel like I can see again. Forget about backing up...you need to rely on the back-up sensors for that. Guarantee there have been or will be accidents in this thing due to the inherently poor visibility. The ergonomics are okay at best with the seats being rather bland with poor lumbar support for long trips. They say American cars are as good as their European counterparts...it's not true. The shifter on the steering wheel is of very poor design and is difficult to get used to using on a regular basis. Big design flaws on this car. Wake up guys, ergonomics and visibility should be kept high on the list when designing a car. The high doors and fenders are not only unattractive, they make driving this thing a real handful. Shouldn't I be able to look out the side windows and be able to see the center lines on the road? Form should always follow function."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful