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2008 Ford Taurus Review - Who Says You Can't Go Home Again?

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

SEE ALSO: "Road Trip" 2008 Ford Taurus Video Review
SEE ALSO:Ford Buyers Guide

by Marty Bernstein

Miami, Florida June 22, 2007; Florida may be the retirement home of millions, but today in the capital of AARP mem-bers, Ford brought a trusted, valuable name out of retirement with the introduction of the updated, spruced-up, safety-centric, vibrant and, yes, youthful 2008 Taurus.

Press kit hyperbole aside, the walk-around, in a hotel courtyard, confirmed many of the 500 improvements that make the ’08 Taurus more distinctive, quieter, more responsive and safer. Most of these attributes and features were missing in the previous models or the lackluster 500 forerunner and mark this vehicle as rein-vigorated.

Highlights presented by Ford marketers and engineers, include new exte-rior styling, a good looking interior, new powertrain, new all-wheel-drive system, and standard safety features and structural upgrades with 5 star ratings to further enhance crash protection and provide a competitive advantage. A few details I really liked included:

• Three band chrome grill that’s distinguishing

• Fusion inspired sheetmetal, that’s not derivative, it’s distinctive

• Chrome accents to make the bland, bling like, but yet tasteful

• Huge interior space that’s exceptionally quiet and comfortable

• A smart, stylish instrument panel with all the techno-goodies

• Improved horsepower and six speed transmission

• Amazing safety improvements and enhancements

And this was just from a static view.

Driving the Taurus in the congested, chaotic, clamorous traffic of Miami, over a pre-determined route, confirmed all the attributes previously detailed and in the area of power – a new V6, 260 HP engine -- and handling ease exceeded expectations.

Fortunately, there was no need to experience the enhanced safety fea-tures and attributes of the Taurus with include Ford’s AdvanceTrac® electronic stability control system, dual-stage driver and passenger front air bags, seat-deployed side air bags for driver and front passenger, and Ford’s Safety Canopy™ side curtain air bags – Standard Safety Canopy Systems with rollover sensor -- for both rows and front-seat side airbags with special features to insure added safety when deployed in case of an accident.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The safety features of the Taurus also include the frame of the vehicle which incorporates many engineering designs from the Ford owned Volvo brand, specifically the S80 model. That’s right: engineering with Volvo attributes. This includes energy absorbing front-end crash structure that will collapse in stages – think of an accordion folding – side impact engineering designs for added impact absorption.

When tested by both the government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety the Taurus gar-nered 5 star ratings in three different tests: front end collision, F150 T-bone or side impact and rear end hits.

Base price for the Taurus will be $23,995 including destination and deliv-ery … at this price it’s goal is to capture sales from the Toyota Avalon and Chrysler 300. Two trim levels will be available and, of course, there a list of optional packages offering a variety of special features and benefit. The top-out, fully loaded Taurus will carry an MSRP in the $33 thousand neighborhood.

Thomas Wolfe’s autobiography, You Can’t Go Home Again, published two years after his death was not prophetic where Ford is concerned, in my opinion. The name Taurus may be old, but this is a new vehicle that could well set a new standard in family sedans and throw down the gauntlet for competitors.