From a distance, the 2013 Ford Taurus doesn’t look much different from the 2012 model. You’ll be hard pressed to distinguish between last year’s SE, SEL and Limited models and the 2013 versions. The new SHO does, however, stand out from the previous car thanks to its new nose and stunning 20-inch wheels.
Ford Taurus Subtle as they many be, there are styling changes; like the wider front grille and a lower fascia. Around the side, you will find folding rear-view mirrors and perhaps even the optional 18-, 19- or 20-inch wheels (the base SE model has 17-inch wheels standard). While at the rear of Ford Taurus, you’ll find LED tail lights and dual exhaust pipes.
Engine options are also updated for 2013 with the addition of a 2.0-liter Ecoboost, which will be available later this year and an improved base V6 ready for launch. The top-of-the-line 3.5-liter twin-turbo Ecoboost V6 in the SHO remains the same with 365 horsepower and 350 ft-lbs of torque. Rather than serving as an entry-level engine, the four-cylinder it will actually cost $1,000 more than the base V6, though it wasn’t available for testing during our test trip.
The base V6 is vastly improved with twin independent-variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT). Thanks to its variable cams, this motor now produces 25 horsepower more than last year’s car, to a total of 288-hp. Maximum torque is now 254 lb-ft at 4000 rpm. Peak numbers aside, there’s bags more power in the mid-range rpms which makes highway passing a breeze.
Power is fed to either the front wheels or to an all-wheel drive system through a six-speed automatic gearbox, which might be very smooth, but it seems Ford is behind the curve with much of the competition moving to eight-speed gearboxes.
The Ford Taurus system is similar to the current Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. It’s not to everyone’s liking and there has to be some worry that the Baby Boomer and older generations won’t warm to the technology as quickly as a Gen Y would. Still, it gives the interior a cleaner, more up-class look.
The (optional) touch screen infotainment system looks good but has the same drawback as any other. It’s feature-packed, but all touch-screen systems show finger smudges and are hard to keep clean.
Otherwise, the interior is a pleasant, particularly because it’s quiet. Ford spent a lot of time and effort to make the Taurus quieter than the competition with thicker glass and more sound insulation. According to Ford, the new Taurus is quieter than the Toyota Avalon and the Nissan Maxima, and after driving the car we’re not arguing.
Ford Taurus Interior space is unchanged from 2012, which is fine, especially given the generous 20.1 cubic-foot luggage capacity in the trunk.
Prices for the 2013 Ford Taurus start at $26,600 for the SE model. The better-equipped SEL and Limited models are $28,800 and $33,000 respectively (add $1850 for all-wheel drive with both these models). The fast and surprisingly frugal SHO model is yours from $39,200.