I get my Fords for free. I'm an insurance adjustor with a large national insurance company, they provide us with a new Taurus when we hit 60,000 miles. I think this will give me an unadulterated opinion of the vehicle.
I've had two so far, a 1997 Ford Taurus GL, and a 1999 Ford Taurus SE.
The major problems I've experienced with both of these cars is electrical problems. The first one was a disaster. In 60,000 miles, the car went into the shop 14 times for electrical problems. They ranged from interior lights that would not ever go out when the car was on (thus making it dangerous to drive at night -- I had to pull the lights under the dashboard and keep the dome light off), to the power steering going out at 75mph right before taking a curve on the interstate. I had the power windows go out, the power locks suddenly lock or unlock as you're cruising down the street, the alternator needed a change, and I went through three computers.
The second one is quite minor. I currently have 8500 miles on it, and the radio/clock keeps blinking on and off as you drive. I'll have Ford look at it next time it goes in for maintenance.
As far as comfort, this is an excellent car. My office is in my car, and the SE package is very nice, with electric seats, lumbar support, and the remote that locks/unlocks the door and opens the trunk is a nice touch -- you don't need to set down all your packages (or in my case a ladder that fits in the trunk) to open the trunk -- just hold it in your hand and pop it open, then set your things right in it!
As far as safety, being in the insurance industry and having the company purchase these cars exclusively for its employees should be testimony enough -- they have superb safety ratings. They hold up well in crashes, and they do a good job of protecting the passengers.
Remember one thing though, in the purchase of a Ford product:
I used to think that was just a joke... however, with my experience with the Taurus, that is close to true.