Even though Ford launched its new Five Hundred sedan for 2005, Ford's midsize Taurus continues into the 2005 model year with a simplified lineup. Sedans and wagons are offered in SE and SEL trim levels. Two new body colors are available. The SEL models gain woodgrain trim on the console, doors and instrument panel. When properly equipped, sedans seat up to six occupants and wagons seat up to eight. Mercury offers a related Sable sedan.
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Aerodynamic teardrop-shaped headlights and large taillights are the major styling cues on the four-door Taurus sedan, which rides on a 108.5-inch wheelbase and wears 16-inch tires. At 197.6 inches long overall, the Taurus is approximately 8 inches longer than the Toyota Camry. Seven-spoke aluminum wheels are mounted on SEL models.
The Taurus sedan can seat up to six people with a front bench seat and folding center storage console, or five in models equipped with front bucket seats. All four doors contain map pockets, and the trunk holds 17 cubic feet of cargo.
Standard SE equipment includes air conditioning, remote keyless entry, cruise control, a cassette stereo, and power windows, locks and mirrors. Moving up to the SEL model brings a driver's door keypad, a six-way power driver's seat, lighted visors, a HomeLink garage-door opener and a CD player.
Under the Hood
Two 3.0-liter V-6s are available. The base Vulcan overhead-valve engine produces 153 horsepower. The alternative Duratec dual-overhead-cam V-6 makes 201 hp. Both engines team with a four-speed-automatic transmission that incorporates adaptive shift control. Ford also offers a flex-fuel version of the 153-hp V-6 that runs on a mixture of E-85 ethanol and gasoline, or either substance alone.
The front airbags deploy at one of two inflation levels based on crash severity and whether or not the seat belts are buckled. Side-impact airbags and antilock brakes are optional.
The Taurus sedan is satisfying in most respects, but it doesn't stand above the midsize pack, which includes the league-leading Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Ride and handling are acceptable, but the Taurus can feel a little ponderous at times; it can also exhibit a harsher-than-expected ride.
Performance with the dual-cam V-6 is vigorous and responsive. The automatic transmission functions in an easygoing manner but may suffer just a bit of hesitation when downshifting.
Interior space is ample, but large roof pillars impair visibility. All the seats are comfortable and supportive. Despite a few drawbacks, attractive prices help make the Taurus a good buy against much of the competition.
The Taurus wagon looks similar to the sedan, except at the rear. Powertrains in both body styles are identical, but the wagon holds 38.8 cubic feet of cargo when the second-row seat is up and 81.3 cubic feet when that seat is folded. A rear-facing third-row seat for two occupants is optional. Back to top
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