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Taurus LX (1996)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

SEE ALSO: Ford Buyer's Guide

A Fulmer family review

Dave Fulmer, retired TV writer/director, classic car restorer
Mark Fulmer, Editor In Chief, The Auto Channel
Susan Fulmer, School Counselor
Kathleen Fulmer, 8th grade student

Mark: We tested the LX model, which starts at $20,980. Both GL & LX include automatic transmission, dual air bags, air conditioning, power windows and AM/FM stereo. The LX adds nicer interior trim, power door locks and seats, aluminum wheels and a better engine - a 200 horse 3.0-liter V-6. This Duratec engine is the strong and silent type and has no problem with traffic situations.

Dave: I cut my teeth driving a 1926 Peerless, and it doesn't compare to this hardly at all.

Mark: The Taurus made an immediate impression on me. The body curves and steep rake of the windshield all seemed much more futuristic than I expected for a family sedan.

Susan: I liked the look . The Ford Taurus exterior has good line and the green color is very pleasing.

Kathleen: It's very comfortable, it's got a lot of footroom, and it's really good in the turns. The sound system was fantastic. I loved it.

Mark: Inside, there's room for the family of four, with special attaching features built in for infant car-seats - which worked great when tried with granddaughter Kylie. Leg room was very adequate, although headroom can get sparse for the over six foot crowd. The elliptical dash instrumentation can appear intimidating, but actually it's quite easy to use and straightforward.

Susan: The dashboard looked great but as a left hander, it was a bit clumsy.

Dave: This car feels bigger than it really is. It feels solid. As a Mercedes driver, I feel very secure in this car. It's very tight. The visibility is incredible. Placement of the mirrors is very good - I can see the whole road. Trunk space is impressive.

Kathleen:. I like the temperature gauge telling you what it is outside and inside. I like the panic button on the remote - it's nice and loud.

Dave: In my age group we are looking for comfort and ease, and reliability. I like the lights on the transmission. It corners very well, it doesn't have the squishiness that many American made cars have had. It certainly is a good conversation car, very little wind noise.

Susan: I felt real good about the visibility. I felt totally safe in that car.

Dave: The Ford engineers have been listening to their customers. They have very carefully taken into account what people want and they have delivered it in a very commendable, very desirable, very handsome package. I am totally impressed, and I've been driving cars for over 60 years.

Mark: This is a very popular vehicle. I talked to Ford yesterday and they said they had standing orders for 100,000 and they were all grins. Looks like the Taurus gets a thumbs up from the Fulmer family.

Ford Taurus LX

Price Base: $21,530, including $550 destination As tested: $24,390

Equipment Standard: Dual airbags; air conditioning; aluminum wheels; power locks and windows; AM/FM stereo and tilt steering wheel

Options: Preferred equipment group, which includes cruise control, AM/FM/cassette stereo, power door locks and driver's seat, anti-lock brakes and keyless entry system ($1,360)

EPA mileage estimates City: 20 Highway: 29

Dimensions Length (in): 197.5 Width (in): 73.0 Height (in): 55.1 Wheelbase (in): 108.5 Weight (lb): 3,326

Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, front drive Engine: 3.0-liter DOHC Duratec V-6 Horsepower: 200 @ 5,750 Torque: 200 @ 4,500 Fuel: Unleaded regular Transmission: Four-speed automatic Performance 0-60 (sec): 8.9 Quarter mile (sec/mph): 16.8/85 70-0 (ft): 194 Top speed (mph): 111, electronically limited

Capacities Front head room (in): 39.2 Front leg room (in): 42.6 Rear head room (in): 36.2 Rear leg room (in): 38.9 Interior (cu ft): 101.5 Cargo (cu ft): 15.8 Fuel (gal): 16.0

Warranty Three-year/36,000 bumper-to-bumper