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.

Top safety
The Taurus' close Mercury cousin is, as before, named the Sable.
Top safety
In advertising, Ford bills the Taurus as "rated the safest full-size car in America." That's based on the Taurus' "Top Safety Pick" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Taurus actually shares that award with one other large car - the Audi A6 - not counting its own corporate twin, the Mercury Sable, shown here. The wagon version of the Taurus, the Taurus X, got the award, as well.

To earn that award, a car must get the Insurance Institutes's top rating of "Good" for front and side impact protection as well as for whiplash protection in rear impacts. Starting last year, cars were also required to offer electronic stability control, at least as an option. ESC is a computerized system that helps a driver maintain control when a skid or rollover threatens.

The Taurus also gets 5 stars, the top score, for front and side impact safety, according to the government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

New old name

Big small shape

Improved drive

Top safety

Lots to like
Aura Green Line: GM's hybrid cost cutter Saturn's hybrid sedan costs less than other hybrid cars, but it's not worth as much either. (more)
Ford Edge: Lost in the crowd The sweet-looking Edge is a good, but not great, crossover SUV. (more)
GMC: Big, roomy, almost perfect General Motors' big crossover, a first for GMC, has a lot going for it. (more)