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2010 Ford Taurus
The Ford Taurus was once a symbol of what American car companies could do right. Then it became a symbol of everything they were doing wrong.

In 1986, Ford made big news with the Taurus, which sported a long list of customer-friendly innovations that made it the best-selling car in America.

Then came SUVs, and the innovations stopped while Ford, like GM and Chrysler, shifted its focus. The Toyota Camry captured the sales crown for the first time in 1996 while the Taurus was allowed to dodder off to the rental lot pasture.

Ford eventually slapped the name on what had been the Five Hundred, a good and practical car, but one that hadn't caught on with customers. After the name change, it still didn't.

This new Taurus might just bring back the magic. Arriving a year earlier than Ford had projected, thanks to new hi-tech design and engineering processes, the 2010 model is more dynamic looking and, once again, features some interesting innovations.

Among its new available features is a "Cross Traffic Alert" system that uses radar to detect cars approaching from the side as the car backs out of a parking space. A massaging driver's seat is also available. In an industry first, it works out kinks not only in the driver's back, but in the bottom and thighs, as well. Ford promises the massage is "enough to help relieve fatigue, but not enough to be distracting to the driver."

Starting prices will be the same as for the current Taurus, at about $26,000. The massage is extra, however.

NEXT: Chevrolet Spark

Last updated January 13 2009: 3:59 PM ET
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