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Thread: 2010 Ford Taurus SHO

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    2010 Ford Taurus SHO

    A 365 horsepower Taurus? Who'd have thunk it?

    A $38k Taurus?

    Who'd have believed it?

    And that's the dilemma. Ford's new hot rod, twin-turbo V-6/AWD Taurus SHO is a magnificent piece of work. It's more powerful - and about as quick - as a V-8 Mustang GT.

    It's also as expensive as a fully loaded BMW 3-Series - but it's still "just" a Ford.

    And that could prove to be a problem, even though the SHO is a lot of fun.

    WHAT IT IS

    The SHO (Super High Output) is a high-performance version of Ford's bread-and-butter Taurus sedan. With a base sticker price of $37,170 it is about 30 percent more expensive than a standard Taurus SE ($25,170). That puts it in direct competition with entry-luxury performance sedans such as the BMW 3-Series.

    WHAT'S NEW

    The SHO returns after being absent from the Taurus lineup for several years. First-ever AWD SHO.

    WHAT'S GOOD

    Big V-8 power with medium-sized V-6 fuel efficiency; almost as much interior and trunk space as the departed Crown Victoria in a less cop car/old fogey wrapper. Tomb-quiet cabin; rock solid ride quality.

    WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD

    A base price, before adding options or paying taxes, of almost $38k (!) for a Taurus
    is maybe asking too much. Probably won't hold its value nearly as well as similarly expensive BMWs and other high-status cars.

    ENGINES & PERFORMANCE

    The standard engine is a twin-turbocharged 3.5 liter, 365 hp "EcoBoost" V-6 that is the first of Ford's new generation of high-power/high-efficiency engines. It is teamed with an SHO-specific six-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive.

    Despite weighing nearly 4,300 lbs., the SHO can reach 60 mph in just over 5 seconds flat - and runs the quarter mile in the mid-high 13 second range.

    But why not a V-8? After all, the last SHO had one. Aren't we going backwards here?

    More like sideways.

    Ford is moving away from V-8s in part out of anticipation of the eventual return of $3 or $4 per gallon fuel and has turned to technologies such as multiple turbocharging and direct fuel injection to achieve V-8 output and performance with acceptable fuel economy.

    Thus, the SHO's medium-sized V-6 produces an awesome 365 hp (and 350 lbs.-ft. of torque, comparable to a much larger V-8 engine) while managing a still-respectable 17 mpg city and 25 mpg on the highway. A similarly powerful V-8 would be less fuel-efficient because of its larger displacement and the fact that its eight cylinders are "always running" - and thus burning fuel - while the SHO's twin-turbo V-6 has two fewer cylinders and about two liters' less displacement to feed.

    With a smaller displacement turbocharged engine the turbos force-feed air to the engine when the driver floors the gas pedal - which temporarily increases its total capacity and power output. But when the driver backs off the accelerator pedal, the boost dials down and efficiency goes back up.

    The bad news is that this efficiency isn't inexpensive.

    The complex twin-turbo V-6 is one reason why the SHO costs almost $40k before adding options. A similarly powerful 5 liter V-8 without turbocharging would likely be a lot cheaper to produce - but it would also probably rate gas mileage in the mid-high teens. And that would create a big problem for Ford with Uncle Sam and his recently enacted Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) mandates - which punish automakers for building cars that don't meet a certain city/highway average (heading up to 35 mpg by 2020).

    Unfortunately, many people may no longer be able to afford this sort of efficient performance.

    DRIVING IMPRESSIONS

    Despite being twin-turbocharged, the SHO doesn't behave like it is. There is no audible whistle as the turbos spool up, no sudden rush of power (in between flat spots) typical of many turbocharged engines. Instead it just goes - like a larger displacement engine. A V-8, even. And that was just what Ford was shooting for. If the "Ecoboost" V-6 is going to win over buyers who love V-8s, it has to behave like a V-8, period.

    And it does.

    The SHO accelerates powerfully, especially once rolling. Mid-range "roll on" is outstanding. Punch it when you're doing 40 and you'll be at 80 in what feels like warp speed. Off the line it's a bit sluggish for a moment, but this is more due to the ingot-like weight (4,368 lbs.) and the standard full-time AWD system - and automatic transmission. So, no burnouts. But that doesn't mean it won't keep pace with, say, an automatic-equipped V-8 Mustang GT.

    Handling-wise, it's not quite as stellar. You can only do so much with what is still, after all, a Taurus under the skin - even with the optional 20 inch wheels, ultra-performance summer tires and sharper steering.

    No slam on the Taurus. It's a fine family car. But it's no BMW 3-series, either.

    The SHO is much more adept at accelerating very quickly in a straight line than taking curves at very high speeds.

    But, it is super smooth, big and heavy-feeling (in a good way). Really quiet. A wonderful highway car. Indeed, it would make a great car for the highway patrol. Fast, stealthy-looking - and with a roomy back seat for perps, too.

    STYLING & UTILITY

    Now that the Crown Vic has been retired, Ford no longer makes a full-sized (six passenger) sedan. But a look at the specs shows that while the SHO is about the same size interior-wise as a current Toyota Camry, it really isn't much smaller where it counts than the old Crown Vic.

    For example, although the Vic measured 212 inches bow to stern while the Taurus is nearly a foot shorter (212.9 inches) overall, front head and legroom are almost exactly what they were in the Vic: 39 inches of headroom and 41.9 inches of front seat legroom compared with 39.3 inches of front seat headroom and 42.5 inches of front seat legroom in the Crown Victoria. Rear head/leg room is comparable, too - and the SHO's 20.1 cubic foot trunk is virtually the same size as the Vic's 21 cubic foot trunk.

    So really, the only thing lost is the ability to carry that sixth person - in which case Ford has other options available (such as the Flex, which can handle seven people).

    Lookwise, the SHO is a handsome car, with a high beltline and a stocky linebacker athleticism about it. It has a very nicely finished interior, with a high end look and feel to it.

    The only issue is the SHO may still look too much like a standard-issue Taurus for some buyers' tastes.

    QUALITY & SAFETY

    This car is light-years better than any previous Taurus in terms of put-togetherness, quality of materials - and the availability of some high-ticket features, including power rear privacy screen, radar-guided adaptive cruise control that adjust your speed to the speed of traffic (as well as keeping the car from going faster than the set speed when going down inclines), suede-trimmed seats with built-in massagers (and heaters/bun coolers), 10 GB music hard drive and Ford's latest navigation system, which includes a "look ahead" map display that instead of the flat map type used in most other cars.

    All of this is very swank. The only potential problem (again) is that the SHO may be too obviously still a Taurus. A quick and richly appointed Taurus, no question. But a Taurus still, nonetheless.

    That means it will likely depreciate much more sharply than a $40k BMW or Audi.

    As far as safety:

    The standard Taurus does very well in crash testing so the SHO should be even safer given it has the added advantages of full-time AWD and can be equipped with Ford's Cross Traffic collision warning system, a rearview back-up camera and Park Assist. It comes standard with front seat side impact and curtain air bags as well as traction and stability control.

    Performance fans will like the optionally available "defeat" switch that lets the driver manually turn off the traction control.

    THE BOTTOM LINE

    The new SHO's a fun sled. Powerful enough to mess with some formidable contenders - and posh enough on the inside to stack up favorably against entry-luxury stuff from BMW, Audi and Lexus.

    But it may be too expensive for its own good.

    Much of this is not Ford's fault, it's important to note. A V-8 SHO could have been built for considerably less - probably around $30k, out the door. But that's wasn't a feasible option thanks to Uncle Sam's ever-more-strident fuel economy edicts. So if you like the SHO but it's too rich for your blood, don't blame Ford.

    Shake your fist at the clowns in DC instead.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mase's Avatar
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    $38k for a Taurus!!!

    First: it's not going to hold it's value like a BMW or MB.

    Second: American car companies need bread and butter products that sell in quanitiy. This is just like Ford trying to revive the TBrid. They don't get it.

  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dBrong View Post
    $38k for a Taurus!!!

    First: it's not going to hold it's value like a BMW or MB.

    Second: American car companies need bread and butter products that sell in quanitiy. This is just like Ford trying to revive the TBrid. They don't get it.
    I agree; the point you make about depreciation is a really good one, too. I should have included that in my review!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    I agree; the point you make about depreciation is a really good one, too. I should have included that in my review!
    I learned this a long time ago: The cost of leasing a car is all about depreciation - what the car will be worth at the end of the lease.

    For instance, let's say a $38k Taurus depreciates by 50% over 3 years. Without interest or other expenses that's $19,000 / 36 = $527 a month.

    Let's say a $42k BMW 3 series depreciates by 40% over 3 years - that would be $16,800 / 36 = $466 a month.

    You can drive a BMW for $61 less a month, than a Ford!!

    I believe most people lease high end cars: BMW's, Volvo's, MB, Lexus. An expensive American car, that has high depreciation doesn't stand hell's chance of being a winner in this type of competition.

  6. #6
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dBrong View Post
    I learned this a long time ago: The cost of leasing a car is all about depreciation - what the car will be worth at the end of the lease.

    For instance, let's say a $38k Taurus depreciates by 50% over 3 years. Without interest or other expenses that's $19,000 / 36 = $527 a month.

    Let's say a $42k BMW 3 series depreciates by 40% over 3 years - that would be $16,800 / 36 = $466 a month.

    You can drive a BMW for $61 less a month, than a Ford!!

    I believe most people lease high end cars: BMW's, Volvo's, MB, Lexus. An expensive American car, that has high depreciation doesn't stand hell's chance of being a winner in this type of competition.
    Yep!

    And: Why couldn't Ford have built a less expensive alternative to those $40k BMWs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Yep!

    And: Why couldn't Ford have built a less expensive alternative to those $40k BMWs?
    It's always been my opinion that you can go with a somewhat larger (heavier) engine, with inexpensive tweaks, that puts out decent performance, rather than an exotic which has a lot higher cost.

  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dBrong View Post
    It's always been my opinion that you can go with a somewhat larger (heavier) engine, with inexpensive tweaks, that puts out decent performance, rather than an exotic which has a lot higher cost.
    It's the &%$@!! government.

    Ford could have made a $25k 300-plus hp SHO.... problem is it wouldn't meet either CAFE or saaaaaaaafety requirements.

    So, we have government-mandated extra safe, fuel efficient cars .... that more and more of us can't afford to buy!

    For some perspective:

    My 1976 Trans-Am cost about $6,000 in 1976. It was a loaded, top-of-the-line muscle car, with almost every option available that year.

    Adjusted for inflation, the '76 Trans-Am cost about $22k in today's money.

    Today, a similar car like the V-8 Mustang GT or Camaro is a $30,000 car, easily.

    Most of the 20-30 percent increase in expense is due to the add-on cost of meeting safety and emissions requirements.

    If these mandates did not exist, it would be possible to sell a new base model Mustang GT for around $20k.

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    I understand your pain! ( verstehen- "Unederstand" with my Dutch-US spelling) I hope it comes across properly.
    Last edited by dBrong; 12-04-2009 at 10:09 PM.

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