By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 6.5
The 2015 Ford Taurus finds itself with stiff competition in the full-size sedan market thanks to the Chevrolet Impala, the Toyota Avalon, and the newly refreshed 2015 Dodge Charger. The Taurus is the oldest sedan in its segment. Nonetheless, Ford has worked to keep up with the competition, refreshing the Taurus a couple of years ago, and adding more technology this year. It also offers a wider range than its competition, including a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, a V6 with front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), and a twin-turbocharged V6 available exclusively with all-wheel drive in the SHO model. On the technology side, the Taurus offers voice-activated interfaces (SYNC), as well as safety and security features like Ford's Lane Keeping System and Adaptive Cruise Control.
The 2015 Ford Taurus is classic American big-car motoring, with tons of cargo space, and the kind of driving feel that soaks up hundreds of miles a day without breaking a sweat. The Taurus SHO does so quickly, while the 4-cylinder model saves fuel along the way.
Big as it is, the 2015 Taurus has a surprisingly small interior. In addition, the twin-turbo V6 in the SHO may be good, but it's no V8, and the heavy Taurus is no sports sedan no matter how much horsepower it has.
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The Taurus carries over with only a handful of minor changes. There are three new exterior colors, plus a re-juggling of what features are standard equipment on which models. For example, a rearview camera is now standard on the SE sedan, as is Ford Sync.
With a price undercutting the $30,000 mark by several thousand dollars, the 2015 Ford Taurus represents a value, if you calculate it by dollars-per-square-foot-of-car. The Ford Taurus serves up a...
... comfortable and quiet ride, and the handling is confident, if not exactly sporty. While no BMW 7 Series, its combination of a serene cabin and adept handling – not to mention high-tech allies such as Ford's Torque Vectoring and Curve Control to help keep the car's bulk in check – belie its low price. The view from the Taurus' driver's seat isn't bad, although we found the wide B-pillar just behind the driver's head and the front windshield pillars to be rather thick, obstructing our side view. Fortunately, the Taurus' exterior mirrors are a vast help, as is the optional "BLIS" system that warns of objects too close to the vehicle's side when changing lanes.
2.0-LITER ECOBOOST ENGINE
Ford's turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine cranks out 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque (that's more torque than Ford's standard 3.5-liter V6), yet attains an impressive 32-mpg highway figure, all without turning this full-size sedan into a slug on the road.
Ford's MyKey system lets you program the vehicle to limit top speed, audio volume, and other functions when a specific key is used to start the vehicle. The upshot is that you can control your kids' driving habits, even when you aren't riding shotgun.
The 2015 Ford Taurus interior isn't as roomy as you might expect when you see its full-size-sedan exterior bulk. While equipped with five seatbelts, the Taurus is definitely more suitable for four adults over long distances. The driver and front passenger can enjoy a massage from the seats, helping ease back fatigue on long drives, and those seats can be heated and cooled as well. The multifunction steering wheel and voice-command system control many of the audio and navigation controls. The Taurus also offers upscale options like Adaptive Cruise Control, and a power sunshade for the rear window.
This is a deceptively big sedan, one that can hold its own with full-size SUVs when it comes to sheer length. The overall height gives drivers a commanding view of the road, but the low roof and wide stance combine with the steeply sloping windshield and rear window to give the Taurus a sleek look, despite its size. 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.
Even the base 2015 Ford Taurus SE sedan comes well equipped. Newly standard this year is a backup camera and Ford's Sync integrated music and telephone system. Also standard are a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power driver's seat, steering-wheel controls for audio and cruise control, power windows with one-touch up/down functions for the driver, and Ford's programmable MyKey system. The standard 6-speaker audio system has a CD player and auxiliary audio input jack. Standard safety features include electronic traction and stability control, dual front airbags, front-seat-mounted side airbags and side-curtain airbags protecting both the front and rear passengers.
The 2015 Taurus gets a few options shuffled around. For example, Limited sedan models can get a power moonroof. You can get Ford's keyless-entry and push-button ignition system on mid-level SEL sedans, too. That adds to the previous list, which included things like massaging front seats, automatic high beams for the headlights, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and adaptive cruise control with collision warning. There's also a 12-speaker premium Sony audio system. An available Blind Spot Information System and Cross-Traffic Alert warns of traffic you may not notice without the extra help.
The standard engine on all 2015 Ford Taurus sedans is a 288-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel-drive models can get Ford's 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cylinder. The top-line Taurus SHO offers 77 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 optional on both SEL and Limited trims and standard on the Taurus SHO.
288 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
254 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/29 mpg (FWD), 18/26 mpg (AWD)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPC city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 mpg
3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (SHO)
365 horsepower @ 5,550 rpm
350 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,250 rpm
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg
Prices for a base 2015 Ford Taurus SE with the 3.5-liter V6 start at about $27,500, the mid-level SEL is about $30,000, and the Limited model comes in at a little more than $35,000. If you want the 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder, you'll add about $1,000 to the price, while all-wheel drive on the SEL and Limited adds about $1,900. Those prices are right in line with full-size sedan competitors such as the Chevrolet Impala, Hyundai Azera, Kia Cadenza and Dodge Charger. The high-performance Taurus SHO comes in just under $41,000, which is higher than the more lightly equipped V8-powered Dodge Charger R/T. Check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what people are paying for a Taurus in your area. The 2015 Taurus won't hold its value quite as well as the new Chevrolet Impala and Dodge Charger, and trails far behind the Toyota Avalon and Hyundai Azera.