Once again, Ford Motor Company is depending on the Taurus to nurse the company back to health, just like when the first Taurus was introduced over twenty years ago. Although it lives up to Ford’s expectations of being a good all-around family crossover, the 2008 Taurus X is not likely to be the class-leading contender that Ford needs in order to run in the black.
The Taurus X is a large vehicle, and with its third-row seating, accommodates up to seven passengers. While the third-row seats offer a surprising amount of legroom, the passengers who sit there will become good friends, as the lateral space is tight. Also notable is that both rows of rear seats easily fold flat for plenty of cargo space. Unfortunately, the X’s power liftgate intrudes on the cargo space and is susceptible to damage.
Along with its size, the Taurus X is well equipped. The Eddie Bauer edition, for example, boasts 18-inch chromed wheels, leather-trimmed heated/cooled front seats, a remote-controlled power liftgate and a navigation system. All of these special features help launch the sticker price to a lofty $37,050 from a base price of $31,620.
Among the standard equipment on the Taurus X is a 3.5-liter, 24-valve V6 engine that produces 153 horsepower. The engine provides plenty of power and torque to accelerate well, though the engine’s sound quality and smoothness leave something to be desired. In overall driving, Ford’s crossover posted 19 mpg.
Other standard features include a handsomely designed interior with wood trim, and well-placed switches and buttons that accentuate the message of luxury. All of that coziness disappears come nightfall, however, with the car’s dull-green backlighting in the instruments and switches.
Aside from its unattractive backlighting, an aspect where the Taurus excels is safety. The crossover boasts up to six airbags, and excellent crash test scores earned it accolades from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Additionally, the Taurus X offers anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control.
The latest Taurus model executes its design intentions very well for target markets, but would benefit from some additional improvement. For instance, the suspension needs some tuning for improved ride control and driver response. If Ford expends some more effort tweaking the finer points, the Taurus X could be an out-of-the park homer instead of just a fly ball in the deep.
Warranty/Service: Three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty; five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and roadside assistance.
Text: Chuck Arehart