Do you remember when the first Taurus was introduced? It was 1985. My best friend’s family had just gotten a new Ford station wagon–one of the big Country Squire wagons that ended production that year. The thing was a beast. But the new wagon in the driveway wasn’t was my friend was excited about. He was excited about the Ford Taurus he had seen at the dealership.
It was all he could talk about. It was the coolest car he’d ever seen. When he grew up, he was gonna get a Ford Taurus.
It was an amazing car for its time. Advanced features and cutting-edge design, something usually reserved for luxury cars, were now available in a family sedan, and Ford built on that reputation to make the Taurus the best-selling car in America. Somewhere around 1999, though, the Taurus became just another vanilla US-made sedan. No longer a showplace for new technology or edgy design, the Taurus faded from prominence, with the badge disappearing altogether in 2006.
Ford reintroduced the Taurus badge for 2008 model year, but it was just a renaming of the Ford 500–yet another uninspired car. At the Detroit auto show this week, though, Ford introduced the brand-spankin’ new 2010 Ford Taurus. And this is no vanilla sedan.
The 2010 Taurus easily stole the show in Detroit. The styling is aggressive and upscale. The technology is cutting edge. It is exactly what the Taurus was supposed to be all along.
On the tech side, available features include Ford’s “Intelligent Access” keyless entry system; push-button start; Ford’s voice-activated SYNC system for media control, cell phone calls, navigation, and emergency service; radar that monitors your blind spots; a capless fuel tank (why did it take until 2009 for someone to figure that one out!); parental controls that can limit top speed and audio volume; automatic high beams and windshield wipers, adaptive cruise control that matches the speed of traffic around you, and massaging seats with six-way lumbar controls.
Under the hood, the Taurus drivetrain is based on the Lincoln MKS. You’ll find a base 3.5 liter V6 good for 263 h.p. with a six-speed automatic transmission. All wheel drive is an option, as are steering-wheel mounted shift paddles. A performance-tuned EcoBoost 3.5 liter V6 will also be an option. Suspension and handling for the car are also said to be more in line with performance expectations.
All of the expected safety equipment is there, including stability control, traction control, and a bevy of airbags. The interior is also well-spoken of, with words like “high quality,” “rich,” and “upscale” regularly used by those who have actually seen the car first-hand.
For a kid who still remembers the Taurus as the “car of the future,” it is definitely cool to see Ford move back to making their flagship sedan a showplace of technology and design. And, in keeping with tradition, the Taurus is not a luxury car, but a mid-level family sedan, complete with a starting price around $25,000. The 2010 Taurus is expected in showrooms by mid-year.
Ben Martin is the CEO of THE FATHER LIFE. He lives with his wife and five children in the Rochester, NY, area.