By Scott Oldham -- Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 6.3
The 2017 Ford Taurus is a large 5-passenger sedan that’s offered in four trim levels, SE, SEL, Limited and the performance-oriented SHO, which features a twin-turbocharged V6 and all-wheel drive. The new Taurus competes in the crowded full-size-sedan segment against such rivals as the Toyota Avalon, Chevrolet Impala, Dodge Charger, Kia Cadenza and Hyundai Azera, as well as the Buick LaCrosse. And it’s a bit behind much of that competition, in design, available technologies and interior volume. You’ll find more room, better visibility and more modern interiors elsewhere, but the new Taurus offers a wide range of trims, engines and features, including the high-performance Taurus SHO, an economical 2.0-liter turbo, plus available all-wheel drive with the V6.
If you’re looking for a big, comfortable cruiser with a cavernous trunk, wide front seats and available all-wheel drive for slushy winter weather, the 2017 Ford Taurus might just be the right car for you. The new Taurus also earned a top 5-star overall rating in government crash tests.
The 2017 Ford Taurus sedan has a rather claustrophobic interior, and its dash and switchgear look rather dated. The Taurus also doesn’t offer a hybrid model, nor are its driver-assist features as up to date as many of its newer, more technically advanced competitors.
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Aside from new colors and new optional 20-inch wheels, the new 2017 Ford Taurus sedan is identical to last year’s model, which received a greatly improved Sync 3 infotainment setup. It has a large 8-inch touch screen and is easier to use with smartphone gestures like swipe and pinch to zoom.
Big and heavy? Yes. Slow? No. The 2017 Ford Taurus is no slouch with a standard 288-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. That’s a lot of power, and the new Taurus has plenty...
... of stomp to get you up that hill or merged onto the Interstate. It’s no sports sedan and it won’t slay a BMW 5 Series in the curves but getting up to speed is never a concern. It’s not quite as quick with the optional 240-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder, but it’s still quick enough and fuel economy jumps nicely to 20-mpg city and 29 mpg on the highway despite its antiquated 6-speed automatic transmission. The Taurus offers full-size comfort and performance in an attractive, quiet and soft-riding package. However, we didn’t care for the Taurus’ thick front windshield pillars and wide B-pillar by the driver’s head. Both contribute to a cocoon-like, claustrophobic feeling inside the car.
2.0-LITER ECOBOOST ENGINE
The 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged engine offered in the 2017 Taurus is an impressive piece of work, cranking out 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque while returning an EPA estimated 29-mpg highway. It’s a shame the 2.0-liter is offered only with front-wheel drive.
Keeping track of what your kids are doing these days is growing increasingly difficult, which is why Ford’s MyKey programmable fob is such a great idea. With MyKey, parents can limit vehicle top speed, audio volume and other functions with a vehicle specific key.
Although attractive, the interior of the 2017 Ford Taurus sedan feels a bit dated and it isn’t as roomy as you might expect. While equipped with five seatbelts, the Taurus is definitely more suitable for four adults over long distances, and the sedan’s thick pillars and high beltline can make the interior feel smaller than it really is. Front-seat comfort is high, however, with optional massage to 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.
This is big car. The new Ford Taurus nearly equals some full-size SUVs when it comes to sheer length. But it doesn’t look that big, thanks to taut bodylines, an athletic short-deck/long-hood profile and a high beltline. It’s a tough-looking 4-door, especially in SHO trim that adds 20-inch wheels and tires, as well as unique exterior trim and a tasteful rear spoiler. 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.
Even the base Ford Taurus SE sedan for 2017 comes well equipped, including a rearview camera and Ford's Sync integrated music and telephone system. Also standard are 18-inch alloy wheels, 60/40-split folding rear seat, 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 the front and rear passengers.
Ford’s new Taurus offers a number of packages and stand-alone features. 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, as well as the Sync 3 infotainment system and the larger 8-inch screen. Other packages include luxuries like massaging front seats, 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 warn of traffic you may not notice without the extra help.
The standard engine on all 2017 Ford Taurus sedans is a 288-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel-drive (FWD) models can get Ford's 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cylinder. The top-line Taurus SHO performance model offers 77 more horsepower and 96 additional lb-ft of torque 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 automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard, while all-wheel drive (AWD) 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: 18/27 mpg (FWD), 17/24 mpg (AWD)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 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: 16/24 mpg
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) for a base 2017 Ford Taurus SE with the 3.5-liter V6 start at about $28,000, the mid-level SEL about $30,500, and the Limited model a little more than $37,000. If you want the 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder, you'll add about $1,000 to the price, while AWD 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 over $43,000, 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 2017 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.