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2014 Ford Taurus


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As Ford's largest sedan, the Taurus continues to resonate with buyers who want a heavy, comfortable, slightly staid four-door. The Ford Taurus used to be rather lean, and radical in design, but it's useful to keep in mind that today's 2014 Ford Taurus isn't that at all.

The Taurus received a mild update last year; and that's kept it mostly up-to-date--with revised styling, more modern infotainment features, and a slightly more fuel-efficient base engine. Those updates also included new styling for the front and rear of the car, along with a host of changes that improved driving dynamics and boosted fuel efficiency. Inside the car, Ford provided a spruced-up cabin, the addition of the MyFord Touch system in the dashboard, and some technology and safety features more often found in high-end luxury sedans from Germany.

The ride and handling improvements make the suspension more progressive and reduce harshness over bumps. The electric power steering remains precise, and provides more direct feedback than systems from many other makers. The smallest engine in the 2014 Taurus is now the 237-horsepower 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, added last year, but most buyers are still likely to go for the 290-hp 3.5-liter V-6. In either case, the engine powers the car through Ford's standard six-speed automatic transmission.

The low-volume, high-performance Taurus SHO is back for 2014 as well: It's powered by the largest EcoBoost engine, a 365-hp, 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 engine. It comes standard with all-wheel drive--optional on the Taurus SEL and Limited trims with the regular V-6, and not offered at all with the four. The SHO isn't a car that connects viscerally with the driver, but it's capable in corners and maintains the Taurus's calm cabin even when pushed hard.

As the flagship model in the Ford lineup for both technology and luxury, the features and options list is long and impressive. From multicontour seats with active motion to a heated steering wheel, there are comfort features both conventional and surprising. Then there's the technology list, including automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers, a rear-view camera system, and even Ford's Park Assist feature--conclusively better than the similar system offered by Lexus.

Behind the wheel, the Taurus comes across as close to a luxury car. The instrument panel wraps around the cockpit, and both the dashboard and the low, wide console clearly define areas for the driver and the front passenger, The console, in fact, is wide enough that it takes up a good deal of interior space. Three adults will fit in the rear, but the low roofline makes headroom and even legroom tighter than you'd expect--courtesy of a 2010 redesign of the earlier generation, which was simply roomier in those dimensions. The materials whisper "upscale" and the surfaces, from soft-touch plastics to chrome and faux wood, fit well and justify the price tag--which can get steep.

The standard lineup of Taurus trim levels continues unchanged for 2014. At the bottom of the range is the Taurus SE, starting at $27,495 including the mandatory delivery fee. The Taurus SEL is the volume model, the Limited is the high-luxe choice, and the Taurus SHO performance sedan occupies its own niche in the lineup, starting at a hefty $40,695. The more fuel-efficient 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine is a $995 option on all but the SHO model.

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