By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 10/24/2011
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.
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.