Up Close: 2010 Ford Taurus

Even with a large three-bar chrome grille, the previous Taurus was a bland-looking full-size sedan, even by full-size-sedan standards. It's still no stunner, but the 2010 Taurus has an elegance that the previous model lacked — especially on the inside, which features premium materials on uplevel versions.

The new Taurus incorporates styling cues of Ford's European cars, including a large lower-bumper opening. The slim headlights and trapezoidal grille — sans Ford's recent trademark three chrome bars — combine to create a sleek front end that carries all the way back to the rear roof pillars. I'm not a fan of the forward-leaning trunklid styling, however; it's reminiscent of the back of a classic wood boat, which doesn't translate that well to land.

The Taurus' new interior styling is pretty nice. The instrument panel features sporty circular gauges with blue backlighting and a sleek center control panel that flows into the center console, much like the one in the Lincoln MKS. Overall materials quality in higher-end versions of the Taurus is good, on par with what's in the MKS. The Taurus' backseat is spacious and features some of the softest seat cushions around.

Ford's changes to the Taurus take its flagship sedan in the right direction, and I suspect the interior will pleasantly surprise many shoppers. Let us know what you think of the interior in the comments.

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