The Ford Taurus is like the kid I've known since I was in kindergarten but wasn't close to. I've known Ford's full-size sedan for what seems like forever and even hung out with it a few times, thanks to a few test drives over the years, but we've never bonded. I was excited to see what a week together would do for our relationship.
My excitement quickly cooled a few days into my weeklong test drive of the 2013 Ford Taurus; while it looked ready for anything, this five-seater didn't live up to its promise when I put it to some hard use.
For 2013, the Taurus received an updated look. The sedan now has a sculpted hood and and overall sporty look to its front end.
The standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine had plenty of pickup, but it wasn't refined. Acceleration was a bit herky-jerky when I put the pedal down, but average in-town and moderate highway driving were without issues. For those looking for even more power and luxury, Ford offers the Taurus SHO with a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6.
The 2013 Taurus SE base starts at $27,395, including a $795 destination fee. My test car, the midlevel SEL with all-wheel drive, had a $35,635 price tag.
From the front, the sporty 2013 Taurus now looks much more athletic and less interested in chauffeuring your mom and dad to dinner. The Taurus' sedate-looking rear end looks up to the chauffeur task, though. The trunk's chrome strip and LED taillights make the Taurus look updated but not recklessly youthful.
Getting in and out was easy, thanks to the Taurus' low step-in height, but the doors are a bit long for younger kids to handle; you may want to park this car far from others until the kids master opening the door without dealing out door dings.
At 20.1 cubic feet, the Taurus' trunk is the largest in its class, and it easily beats its competitors' trunks: the Toyota Avalon at 14.4 cubic feet and the redesigned Hyundai Azera at 16.3. With a trunk that large, it should come as no surprise that it's very deep. The trunk has a sculpted interior that tapers inward toward the passenger compartment. It's a good size, but if you have multiple large boxes you may need to get creative with the space to fit them all.
The Taurus has a standard 288-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine that's paired to a six-speed automatic transmission and uses regular unleaded gasoline. It gets an EPA-estimated 19/29 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive. The optional all-wheel-drive Taurus gets 18/26 mpg. The optional turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine gets 22/23 mpg.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Some-Good Times
The interior of the Taurus impressed at first. The stitched leather seats look upscale and actually feel pretty nice. However, the plastic throughout the cabin seems cheap and sounds hollow. Combine this with a fair amount of wind and road noise creeping in and the Taurus interior's overall feel starts to decline.
The center stack is devoid of most common buttons, thanks to the optional MyFord Touch system. Instead, the controls for nearly every function are activated via the touch-screen. When the panel is touched, a click sound is made. While my fellow Cars.com Family reviewers haven't liked the system, I found it to be cool and space age-y. For me, MyFord Touch was somewhat easy to use, but I noticed something odd about it. The 3-D-rendered compass correctly showed the direction I was heading in, but the directions on either side of it were incorrect. For example, I'd be driving west and the compass would show W on the screen, but to the left of the W where a S should be for south it instead read N for north. If I turned to the left, the compass would change to S, which was correct. It was weird.
The few buttons that do exist in the Taurus feel a bit light to the touch, though they're rimmed in chrome. My kids loved pushing the glove box button that's located to the left of the glove box. They thought that seemed upscale.
The Taurus has many large storage compartments; I could actually fit a cube of Kleenex in the center console. The doors each had a pocket big enough to fit a water bottle in them.
Rear legroom was good for my two school-aged kids. For the three-seat second row, there are two cupholders and two seatback pockets.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Galore
The 2013 Ford Taurus has been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It earned the top score of Good in front, side, rear and roof-strength crash tests. It also received an overall safety score of five stars out of five from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It earned five stars in front and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover crash test.
The Taurus has two sets of lower Latch anchors. They're easily accessed, but they're located about a third of the way toward the center of the Taurus. This allows the Latch anchors to be used to install a child-safety seat in the center seat position. This unusual placement doesn't seem like a big deal until one notices that the inboard Latch anchors are in the exact same spots as some of the seat belt buckles. Learn more about the 2013 Taurus' Car Seat Check.
The Taurus has standard front-wheel drive, all-wheel-disc antilock brakes, an electronic stability system with traction control and six airbags, including side curtains for both rows.
Optional features are all-wheel drive, auto-dimming headlights, rear parking sensors, a backup camera, a blind spot warning system, a collision warning system and Active Park Assist, which helps to parallel park the car.
Get more safety information about the 2013 Ford Taurus here.