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2010 Ford Taurus Preview

2010 Ford Taurus Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2009

Critical Knowledge:
  • Standard self-sealing Easy-Fuel capless fuel filler system
  • New Intelligent Access system (keyless unlocking and push-button ignition)
  • New MyKey parental programming feature
  • Available all-wheel-drive (AWD) system
  • Available Ford Sync with 911 Assist and Vehicle Health Report
  • Available navigation with 3D landmarks and Sirius Traffic Link
  • Available blind-spot information system with Cross Traffic Alert
  • Available adaptive cruise control with Collision Warning
  • Available Multi-contour front seats with massage and bottom cushion Active Motion
  • Available Sony premium audio with 10 GB hard drive that holds 2,400 uploaded songs
  • Base price is $25,995
  • Built in Chicago, IL
  • On sale in summer of 2009
Introduction
Once the best-selling car in the U.S., the Ford Taurus is redesigned for 2010, marking its fourth generational change since it debuted to critical acclaim for 1986. That first Taurus was a dramatic, trend-setting vehicle that popularized aerodynamic automobile design, a sonic boom from Detroit that proved that the domestics remained dominant. Ford attempted the same trick in 1996, but this time midsize sedan buyers didn't want polarizing design, preferring conservative models from Honda and Toyota. Ford replaced the Taurus with the Fusion in 2006, leaving its venerable nameplate to wither, adorned to innocuous rental cars available through Hertz, Budget and Enterprise.

Current Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mullaly arrived shortly thereafter, and wondered why the company would drop such a well-known model after two decades. He thought the Taurus name still had value, so when Ford restyled and updated the full-size Five Hundred for 2008, it became the Taurus. Now, for 2010, the Taurus is substantially, though not completely, redesigned, and shares its platform, architecture and powertrains with the recently introduced Lincoln MKS.

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Design
Because the 2010 Ford Taurus shares its platform, architecture and powertrains with the Lincoln MKS, the company is comfortable referring to it as "athletic and upscale," calling its exterior design "more sculpted and powerful." To help achieve the appearance of substance, Ford worked to tighten exterior panel margins, which it claims are now "comparable to costly German luxury sedans." Peter Horbury, Ford's executive director of Design for The Americas, said, "Like the 1986 original, the new 2010 Taurus differentiates by combining style with substance." Perhaps intending to appeal to more selfish consumers among us, Moray Callum, Ford's director of Car and Crossover Design, explained, "Taurus is more of a �me' sedan now."

Whatever Ford thinks it is, the new Taurus and recently introduced 2010 Ford Fusion are clearly members of the same family when viewed from the front. This is a large car, riding on an updated version of the previous Taurus platform, itself derived from the original 1998 Volvo S80 chassis (Ford owns the Swedish automaker). To help fill the wheel wells, the Taurus SE comes with standard 17-inch wheels, and 20-inch wheels are available. New colors for 2010 include: Candy Red Metallic Tint, White Platinum Metallic, Steel Blue Metallic, Golf Leaf Metallic, and Ingot Silver Metallic.

Inside, designers strove to reduce panel joints "to impart seamless quality and craftsmanship" and Ford says it put "huge emphasis" on creating a quiet cabin environment and reducing noise, vibration and harshness. Comfort was a focus, too, and for 2010 the Taurus is available with multi-contour seats for the driver and front passenger, complete with 6-way power lumbar support and a rolling pattern massage feature. The bottom cushion of these industry-exclusive seats included Active Motion, which provides subtle continuous movement to help the driver avoid back pain.


Model Lineup
Ford has released few specific trim level details for the 2010 Taurus. Like the current model, the new car will be offered in SE, SEL and Limited trim levels. The Taurus SE will be the least expensive, and if history serves as a guide it will have a cloth interior and standard amenities such as power windows, door locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; air conditioning; a decent stereo; and other features that American buyers have come to expect. Ford says the Taurus SE will cost $25,995 when the car goes on sale in the summer of 2009.

The Taurus SEL will be the mid-grade model. Today's version adds dual-zone automatic climate control, a CD changer, Sirius satellite radio, automatic headlights that come on when it gets dark and when the wipers are turned on, folding and heated outside mirrors, and security approach lamps, among other features. The 2010 Taurus Limited is likely to include leather upholstery, a premium audio system, Ford Sync technology, a reverse sensing system, larger wheels and tires, and a more upscale appearance inside and out.


Hardware
Under the 2010 Ford Taurus's hood is the company's ubiquitous 3.5-liter V-6 engine, estimated to generate 263 hp and 249 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine includes new fuel-saving tweaks, including a technology that Ford calls Aggressive Deceleration Fuel Shut-Off. Sometime after the Taurus goes on sale, the company is planning to install a turbocharged, EcoBoost V-6 engine that promises greater performance with similar fuel economy.

Every 2010 Taurus has a 6-speed automatic transmission sending power to the front or all four wheels. The Taurus SE's transmission is different from what is installed in the SEL and Limited models, and is equipped with Grade-Assist hill-holding rollback prevention and a fuel-thrifty final drive ratio. For the SEL and Limited, Ford employs a 6-speed transmission with SelectShift, which includes shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel and a rev-matching feature when the Taurus is manually downshifted. Further appealing to people who like to drive, SelectShift will not upshift without a command from the driver, and the Taurus Limited is equipped with a more aggressive final drive ratio for enhanced acceleration, the automaker says.


Safety
Endowed with 5-star crash-test ratings from the NHTSA and a "Top Safety Pick" accolade from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the current Ford Taurus is one of the safest cars on the road. Ford worked to enhance this reputation with the redesigned 2010 model.

To that end, the 2010 Taurus comes standard with a long list of safety features: dual-stage front air bags, side-impact air bags for the front-seat occupants, side curtain air bags with rollover sensing and protection for front and rear outboard passengers, AdvanceTrac stability and traction control, ABS, and an available AWD system are the car's main standard safety features. The new Taurus also boasts a stiffer body structure, engineered as before to deflect crash energy away from the passenger compartment, according to the automaker. Ford also continues to include SOS Post Crash Alert, which automatically unlocks the doors, sounds the horn, and activates the flashers if the air bags deploy.

Three new, available safety features of the redesigned 2010 Ford Taurus include adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot information system, and the most interesting of the three, MyKey.

The 2010 Taurus's optional adaptive cruise control includes Collision Warning with Brake Support. A radar sensor monitors traffic ahead. When it senses that traffic is slowing and the Taurus is closing on traffic at an unsafe rate of speed, it provides a visual heads-up warning across the base of the windshield and an audible warning to alert the driver. The system also readies the braking system and engages the brake assist feature to help the driver stop as quickly as possible when the brake pedal is depressed.

Ford's blind-spot information system monitors when adjacent motorists are in the car's blind spots and provides a visual warning to the driver in the side-view mirror. The system also includes a Cross Traffic Alert feature, which identifies approaching traffic within three car lengths when the Taurus is slowly backing out of a parking spot.

MyKey technology is new and innovative. It allows vehicle owners to activate restricted driving modes associated with seat belt usage, low-fuel monitoring, and ensure the continuous engagement of safety features like the stability control system, blind-spot information system, and Collision Warning with Brake Support feature. It also lets mom and dad program limits on audio volume and a top speed to 80 mph, which is sure to be a hit with teenagers in possession of the keys.


Technology
For decades, Ford has offered a keyless SecuriCode entry pad on its products, which looks a little bit like a combination lock tacked onto the door near the handle. This feature continues on the 2010 Ford Taurus, but now it's a flush-mounted keypad embedded into the driver's B-pillar.

Another new technology offered on the redesigned Taurus is a sophisticated automatic headlight system. It can automatically switch to high beams when no taillights are detected within 500 feet in the direction of travel, and no headlights are detected for 2000 feet in oncoming traffic lanes.

The 2010 Ford Taurus is available with the next-generation version of Ford Sync, including 911 Assist, Vehicle Health Report and business search/call completion features. Sync connects to iPods, PDAs, memory sticks and MP3 players, allowing hands-free, voice-activated operation of these items. The 911 Assist system places a call to a local emergency operator in the event of air bag deployment, to help speed rescue and medical attention. Sync also includes a new Traffic, Directions and Information service with turn-by-turn route guidance as well as information based on region and subject matter.

The optional voice-activated navigation system now comes with an 8-inch screen and a bird's-eye-view with 3D landmarks. The screen can also be programmed to display up to 32 uploaded photos, thanks to 1.5 MB of storage capacity. Other new features include street name announcements, detailed freeway exit and turn information, and lane-position guidance. The navigation system also comes with Sirius Travel Link for current weather conditions, 5-day forecasts, local fuel prices, sports scores, movie listings, and more.

Finally, the 2010 Ford Taurus will be available with a premium Sony audio system that includes 10 speakers, Sirius satellite radio, DVD-Audio capability, and a 10 GB hard drive that can hold up to 2,400 uploaded songs.

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