No kidding: New Ford Taurus is really good

The rebirth of the Taurus name was greeted by laughs but, it turns out, Ford has made a good car out of what was the Five Hundred.

Improved drive
The Taurus' interior is handsome but still doesn't look as well put together as some competitors'.
Improved drive
With its new 260 horsepower V6, the Taurus has power enough to accelerate without feeling strained as the Five Hundred did when pressed hard.

The engine also provides enough power for the six-speed transmission to work smoothly. In the Five Hundred, the car would often slog between shifts that seemed to come too early.

The Taurus' 57 horsepower improvement over the old Five Hundred also comes at no cost in terms of fuel economy. In fact, the Taurus gets about one mile more out of each gallon than the Five Hundred did, according to new EPA estimates. (It's actually not that unusual for an increase in power to result in better fuel economy. A stronger engine doesn't need to work as hard.)

The suspension is also tighter, but this is still no performance sedan. The Taurus is supposed to be a roomy, comfortable cruiser. The new shock tuning makes it feel more controlled in turns and over bumps, though, while still offering a smooth ride.

Steering remains a weak point. It doesn't feel like you're tossing around one of those American land barges of the old days, but the steering still feels a bit remote and numb. Still, it beats the Toyota Avalon in this respect.

New old name

Big small shape

Improved drive

Top safety

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