2013 Ford Taurus at the 2011 New York Auto Show

  • Competes with: Nissan Maxima, Toyota Avalon, Dodge Charger
  • Looks like: A meaner, yet not leaner, Taurus
  • Drivetrain: 237-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; 290-hp, 3.5-liter V-6; and a 365-hp, turbocharged V-6
  • Hits dealerships: Early 2012

It’s surprising to see so many new cars being revealed in New York this week that will go on sale fairly soon. The 2013 Ford Taurus isn’t one of them, and car shoppers will have to wait until the calendar reads 2012 before they can buy the 2013 model, which features a slate of upgrades from the current model.

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While the changes aren’t radical compared with the current Taurus that was launched in 2010, they try to make up for some of the Taurus’ low points. The car’s relatively cramped interior dimensions — at least compared with its enormous size — remain the same, however.

The base 3.5-liter V-6 returns, but it gains 27 horsepower, to 290 hp, and is more efficient, Ford says. The current V-6 gets 18/28 mpg city/highway.

An all-new turbocharged four-cylinder joins the lineup. Ford says it will get at least 31 mpg on the highway. It's rated at 237 hp but makes 250 pounds-feet of torque, just a few behind the base V-6’s 255 pounds-feet. Both engines are teamed to six-speed automatic transmissions. The steering is more responsive, and braking gets a boost with better pedal feel, Ford says.

The high-powered SHO returns for 2013 with a 365-hp engine making 350 pounds-feet of torque and all-wheel drive, along with upgraded brakes. The SHO gets a black grille and side mirrors to help differentiate it from the regular Taurus, along with standard 19-inch wheels with 20s optional.

Inside, there are a number of small revisions to cabin materials, but the biggest addition is the instrument cluster with digital displays and the optional MyFord Touch multimedia system — it’s standard on the SHO — that we’ve seen in the new Explorer and Edge SUVs.

A new hood, hexagonal grille and a revised rear with LED taillights surprisingly alter the look significantly. The Taurus is now more aggressive in terms of design, especially the SHO model.

There is also a slew of new options, from a heated steering wheel to massaging seats and a powered rear window shade. Optional safety features, such as adaptive cruise control, collision warning system, blind spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert, will also be available.

The upgrades all seem welcome, especially the new optional turbo engine, but we wonder if they will help large-sedan shoppers overlook the Taurus’ tight cockpit.

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