Road & Travel Magazine

Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate Views & Videos
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory
Bookmark and Share

2012 Ford Taurus SEL Road Test Review by Martha Hindes

2012 Ford Taurus SEL Road Test Review

by Martha Hindes

2012 SEDAN Buyer's Guide - Road & Travel's 10 Top Picks

Buick LaCrosse

Kia Optima

Chrysler 200 LTD


Hyundai Sonata

Toyota Camry-Sedan of Year

We remember seeing the current generation Ford Taurus when the wraps first came off for a sneak peek. With a “ta-da” attitude and a most delicious shade of red that seemed to dance and glow in spotlighted glory, it just took our breath away. The 2012 Ford Taurus family sedan hasn't lost any of that allure, even after starring in new car showrooms for a couple of years.

Taurus, the flagship of Ford's auto lineup, almost wasn't around with its current moniker, after the name was hijacked in favor of an old company “500” designation (spelled out instead of numeric). That might have been great for auto history buffs, but tended to confuse some contemporary car shoppers. When wiser heads prevailed at Ford headquarters near the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan, revisions bore the classic, and welcome, Taurus name.

This year's Taurus bears some refinements rather than major do-overs, plus an additional, later-arriving, highly anticipated powertrain option designed to put top mileage a shade over the illusive 30-MPG mark.

The current generation (launched in 2010) makes no apologies for being what we might call “comfort sized,” or full-size with a comparably capable engine. In fact, the 2012 Taurus has won top spot among large, affordable sedans in recent surveys.

That size also suggests the reason for Taurus's base engine choice. With a larger auto, you need sufficient power to drive it. Its 3.5-liter Duratec V-6, generates a healthy 263-horsepower and 249 lb.-ft. of torque, the windup energy available to spring it forward or give passing ease on the highway. On the fuel economy side, the engine, with front-drive, earns a 28-mile per gallon rating for highway fuel economy. With city driving at 18-MPG, the combination rates at 22. Adding all-wheel-drive drops a city mile and 2 highway miles.

But meeting the need for fuel economy gains is Taurus's new EcoBoost option that uses a turbo-charged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to produce a more fuel efficient 240-horsepower, while challenging the 30-MPG plateau with a large, non-hybrid auto. Taurus also adds the current aerodynamic technology darling among competitive auto makers to keep mileage-sapping wind drag to a minimum. Those are the active “shutters,” low in front, that modulate airflow through or around the engine compartment as required.

But driving feel has to be the ultimate goal. On the ride side, in addition to riding smoothness and comfort, the Taurus has added grip to give more control during tight maneuvers for a sportier feel. And more exhilarating is a new sport-tuned SHO version for the lead-footed enthusiast who's more enamored with redlining than high mileage.

Looking at the Taurus in profile, we see visual lines that are sleek and supple, belying its overall size. The aerodynamic roof line flows smoothly rearward without compromising interior space.

In addition to a quiet, inviting interior, and striking, contemporary layout, the Taurus gets a technology boost inside, with signature high technology features it claims leadership in adding. The look and feel is fresh, handsome and participatory for the connected driving enthusiast.

And Ford continues a recent emphasis on “greening” its autos with the extensive use of recycled materials in its fabrics and soy-based rather than petroleum-based foam in seating construction. Ford claims a class-exclusive use of “Active Motion” in its multicontour front seats that provide a subtle, rolling massage pattern to prevent driving fatigue.

Among other Taurus add-ons for 2012 are standard blind spot mirrors in power-assisted sideview mirrors. “Ginger Ale Metallic” joins the exterior color palette.

Taurus comes in three versions, SE, SEL and the top Limited edition. Pricing for those models ranges from the high $20K to high $30K range, with EcoBoost adding about $1,000 more.

And Taurus offers a wide spectrum of amenities, depending on model for a high technology hit without a more premium price. There are headlamps that automatically switch to high beams during night driving when there's no oncoming traffic. Among advanced safety features contributing to its “top safety pick” standing, is a collision warning with brake support to alert the driver of danger ahead. A cross traffic alert system warns of oncoming cars when backing out of a parking space or driveway. And MyKey high technology control lets parents set driving parameters for young drivers.

With advanced technology such as that, and despite its good looks, we think the Taurus's brains are its most alluring feature.

For more info on Ford brands, click here.