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A Well-Appointed Family Hauler
2008 Ford Taurus X AWD Eddie Bauer
A three-quarter front view of a maroon 2008 Ford Taurus X AWD Eddie Bauer

In short: A solid, all-around family crossover.

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.

A view of the front interior and rear exterior of the 2008 Ford Taurus X AWD Eddie Bauer

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.

A three-quarter rear view of a maroon 2008 Ford Taurus X AWD Eddie Bauer

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.

Base Price: $31,620 /As tested: $37,050

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, all-wheel drive, 7-passenger, 5-door crossover

Engine: 3.5-liter V6
263 hp @ 6,250 rpm
249 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
6-speed automatic with overdrive

Curb weight:
4,203 lbs
112.9 in
200.3/74.9/67.6 in
Turning circle: 41 ft

Brakes: disc front and rear with ABS and power assist
Suspension: independent MacPherson struts, rear-facing lower L-arms in front; independent multi-link with coil-over shocks in rear
Traction: traction control, stability control

0-60 mph: 8.2 seconds (est.)
Top Speed: 111 mph

EPA City: 16 mpg
EPA Highway: 24 mpg

Safety: front and side airbags in front, side-curtain airbags for all rows, stability and traction control

Likes: spacious interior, available comfort features

Dislikes: instrument panel lighting, suspension tuning

2008 Ford Taurus Limited AWD

A three-quarter front view of a 2008 Ford Taurus Limited AWD

The Taurus Limited, while large like its sibling the Taurus X, is a four-door sedan that seats five. The rear seats of the Taurus Limited fold down like the Taurus X, but not completely flat, and the pass-through space from the trunk cannot handle anything larger than an oversized suitcase. Instead of heated/cooled seats, a rear seat DVD player—something you are more likely to find in minivans—makes an appearance. The sedan comes with the same engine as the Taurus X, and a six-speed automatic transmission provides smooth shifts. Rounding out the Taurus Limited’s major options are power-adjustable pedals with memory seating, bringing the overall price to $33,600.

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Text: Chuck Arehart
Photography: Ford Media and Chuck Arehart

(Updated 05/16/08 SCV)