Amid complaints that you could buy a Taurus in any color, but not cheaply, Ford brought out a price leader Taurus G sedan for 1996 that’s carried into 1997 with one change, a new blue denim exterior color. The prices stays at $18,545, which includes $550 for freight.

The G keeps it simple with black rather than body-colored side moldings, rocker panels and mirrors. There’s also no power locks and no chance to buy the 3-liter, 200-h.p., Duratec V-6.

You have to settle for locks that function one door at a time when you press the button or insert key. You really don’t appreciate power locks until you do without, especially in a midsize sedan that takes more effort to get toeach button than it does in a little subcompact Escort. Women who travel aloneand parents who travel with kids demand power locks.

Another irritant is that you can get only the 3-liter, 145-h.p., Vulcan V-6, not the peppier Duratec V-6. The Vulcan V-6 means the trip down the merger ramp or up the incline must be taken more cautiously.

The Vulcan V-6 is for the older or less aggressive driver content to move from place to place without burning too much fuel (20 m.p.g. city/29 m.p.g. highway).

Dual air bags are standard, ABS a $570 option. With an AM/FM stereo with cassette at $175, you reach $19,290.

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