- Long list of standard features and cutting-edge options
- Quiet and comfortable ride
- Humongous trunk
- Available fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine
- Available all-wheel drive
- Cabin can feel confining
- Drives like the big, heavy sedan it is
- MyFord Touch interface can be frustrating to use
- SHO model's steep price tag
The large American sedan is making a comeback. Some might say it never left and only went into hibernation until fuel efficiency gains were achieved, but Ford has one of the best-equipped, most efficient family sedans available. Once a common sight in American driveways, the Ford Taurus slipped off buyers' radar in the early years of the 21st century due to its uninspiring design, lack of amenities and mediocre performance. But a major overhaul in 2010 made the Taurus a much more desirable option for consumers seeking a full-size, feature-laden sedan.
For 2014, the Chicago-built Ford Taurus gets a slight equipment shuffle and even more available safety features, including a new lane-keeping assist system that's part of the Driver Assist option package. Inside, the 2014 Taurus incorporates the latest versions of the Sync voice control and MyFord Touch touchscreen interface systems. Unquestionably, these systems bring the Taurus into the modern era by expanding functionality and connectivity options in the cabin. But we've found that it takes time to acclimate, especially if you're accustomed to driving a car with a more traditional control layout.
The standard V6 on the 2014 Ford Taurus pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission that drives the sedan's front wheels, though all-wheel drive is also available for buyers who are weather-challenged. The high-output turbocharged V6 on the SHO model is aimed at drivers who want to go quite a bit faster, while on the opposite side of the spectrum there's a thrifty, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. With an estimated 26 mpg in combined city/highway driving, the EcoBoost four-cylinder is a smart choice for buyers who want a big sedan with a small appetite for fuel.
Naturally, the 2014 Ford Taurus isn't the only full-size sedan vying for your attention. As in the heyday of American sedans, you owe it to yourself to check out the fully redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Impala. Rounding out the Big Three's offerings, the competitively priced Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger are also worth serious consideration given their combination of style, performance and features. We'd also recommend a test-drive of the recently updated Hyundai Azera along with the Toyota Avalon, which comes in a highly efficient hybrid variant. Most of these rivals have roomier passenger quarters than Ford's sedan, but the 2014 Taurus remains a solid choice, particularly if tech features, fuel efficiency and available all-wheel drive are high on your priority list.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2014
There are no major changes for the 2014 Ford Taurus, save for new wheel designs and minor tweaks to standard and optional equipment. A lane-keeping assist feature has been added to the Driver Assist package.
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
The 2014 Ford Taurus is a full-size five-passenger sedan offered in SE, SEL, Limited and SHO trim levels.
Standard equipment on the entry-level SE includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, integrated blind-spot mirrors, LED taillights, an exterior-access keypad, cruise control, air-conditioning with rear seat vents, a six-way power driver seat (manual recline), a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
The SEL adds 18-inch wheels; heated mirrors with puddle lamps; remote ignition; dual-zone automatic climate control; upgraded cloth upholstery; a leather-wrapped steering wheel; an auto-dimming rearview mirror; satellite radio; and the Sync system, which provides Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and allows you to control phones, iPods and other media players through voice commands.
Options on the SEL are extensive: Group 201A includes rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, power-adjustable pedals, MyFord Touch (includes a large center touchscreen plus two additional displays in the gauge cluster), two USB ports, an SD card reader, RCA video/audio input jacks, expanded Sync functionality (including traffic updates and turn-by-turn directions) and an additional center speaker. Free-standing SEL options include leather upholstery (packaged with heated front seats and a six-way power passenger seat), a power sunroof, 20-inch wheels, a rear spoiler and a voice-activated navigation system.
The Taurus Limited has the MyFord Touch interface and rearview camera as standard, along with 19-inch wheels, keyless ignition/entry, ambient interior lighting, perforated leather upholstery, heated/ventilated 10-way power front seats with driver-seat memory functions and a power tilt-and-telescoping wood-trimmed steering wheel. The Limited's optional 301A package adds automatic high beams and wipers, a heated steering wheel, an auto-dimming driver-side mirror, a blind-spot warning system (with rear cross-traffic alert), power-adjustable pedals, a 12-speaker Sony sound system with HD radio, heated rear seats and a rear sunshade. The Driver Assist package further adds adaptive cruise control, a collision-warning system with brake support, lane-keeping assist and an automated parking system. Additional stand-alone options for the Limited are 20-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, a sunroof, the navigation system and multicontour front seats with active bolsters and a massage feature.
The Taurus SHO includes all of the Limited's major equipment and supplements that with a more powerful V6 engine, all-wheel drive, a sport-tuned suspension, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, aluminum pedals (that are still power adjustable), uniquely tuned steering, xenon headlamps and unique leather upholstery with faux-suede inserts. The optional SHO Performance package adds performance brake pads, an even sportier state of tune for steering and suspension, a different final-drive ratio (for quicker off-the-line acceleration), a defeat function for the stability control, 20-inch wheels, summer tires and simulated suede trim on the steering wheel. Stand-alone options are identical to those on the Taurus Limited, except for the spoiler, which is standard on the SHO.
INTERIOR & SAFETY
The 2014 Ford Taurus offers a classy-looking cabin, particularly with the MyFord Touch system installed. The seating is quite comfortable, especially with the optional high-tech multicontour front seats with built-in massage. The backseat offers generous head- and legroom, even for taller adults, along with rear HVAC vents and available heated seats. At 20.1 cubic feet, the trunk is one of the largest you'll find in any sedan. Fold down the rear seats and you'll see that the Taurus offers up even more cargo space.
On the downside, the car's rising beltline, thick roof pillars and tall center console can make the interior feel confining despite its voluminous scale. The cornucopia of optional safety features is noteworthy because many of these items are typically found only on the equipment lists of high-end luxury cars.
The MyFord Touch interface consists of three display screens and gives you the ability to input commands for various audio, phone and navigation functions via voice commands, touch controls or buttons on the steering wheel. It's a smart idea in theory and it provides some nice customization possibilities. Ongoing software updates have improved the overall usability of the system, but there's still a learning curve involved for operators, and the touchscreen's icons are difficult to locate and press on the move.
Every 2014 Ford Taurus comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front seat side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags and integrated blind spot mirrors.
A rearview camera and rear parking sensors are standard on the Limited and SHO models and optional on the SEL. Optional on the Limited and SHO are a pre-collision warning system with automatic brake intervention (included with adaptive cruise control), lane-keeping assist and a blind-spot warning system that's bundled with a cross-traffic warning system (which warns you of approaching cars or pedestrians when backing up).
In government crash tests, the 2013 Taurus earned an overall rating of five stars out of a possible five, including five stars for overall frontal crash protection and five stars for overall side crash protection. The Taurus also received the best rating of "Good" in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's crash testing, including moderate-offset frontal, side and roof-strength tests.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
The 2014 Taurus is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 288 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift button on the console shifter and front-wheel drive are standard, while all-wheel drive is available as an option on the SEL and Limited models. EPA fuel economy stands at 23 mpg combined (19 mpg city/29 mpg highway) with front-wheel drive. Opting for AWD drops those numbers to 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city/26 mpg highway).
Optional on the SE, front-drive SEL and Limited models is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that's rated at 240 hp and a stout 270 lb-ft of torque. This engine is the fuel economy leader, earning EPA estimates of 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway and, most notably, an impressive 26 mpg combined.
The Taurus SHO gets a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that makes 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic with shift paddles are standard. In Edmunds performance testing, the Taurus SHO went from zero to 60 in a quick 5.8 seconds. Fuel economy ratings for the SHO are 20 mpg combined (17 mpg city/25 mpg highway).
On the road, the 2014 Ford Taurus offers a quiet and comfortable ride. The sport-tuned suspension on SHO models, especially those equipped with the Performance package, noticeably sharpens up the handling while still providing ample comfort during highway travel.
That said, there's no hiding the Taurus' hefty weight and grand dimensions. Whereas many other large sedans drive and feel like smaller cars, the Taurus has a lumbering feel around turns that detracts from driver confidence. Not helping matters is the car's challenging rear visibility.
The SHO's twin-turbo V6 offers acceleration that falls just short of its V8-powered competitors from Chrysler and Dodge, but it returns fuel economy that puts them to shame. Even so, most consumers will be just as happy with the standard V6, while pocketing the substantial price difference. Meanwhile, those looking for maximum fuel efficiency needn't settle for lackluster performance, as the available turbocharged four smoothly provides sufficient all-around thrust while earning high fuel economy numbers.
With its comfortable interior and large trunk, the 2014 Ford Taurus is an appealing rendition of the classic full-size American sedan.