Pros: affordable price, reliability, roomy, traditional look inside and out.
Cons: noisy motor at idle, sloppy shifting at low speed, depreciated faster than most cars
In March of 2006, I traded in my 2002 F-150 and bought a slightly used 2005 Ford Taurus. The reason for this change came on the heels of my wife and I learning that we were expecting our first child in October. We needed a good family sedan for a good price and this seemed to be our best find.
The Specifications Of Our Taurus
The Taurus that we bought was the SE model with the base "Vulcan" 3.0L V6. It had power locks, power driver seat, CD Player, and all the other normal standard features cars of today have. It is a light green color with the standard hubcap-like wheels. It had approximately 22,000 miles on the odometer, and the carfax history showed it had a clean title. We even found out that it was a local leased car. The inside had gray cloth seats and dash, which were a 60/40 split on the front.
Road Manners and Performance
The 3.0L "Vulcan" V6 is a old school pushrod six-cylinder engine. It is rated to put out approximately 155 horsepower, with the torque being close to its horsepower output. This engine is no where close to being the performance powerhouse of other cars in its class. However, it is just enough to get you on to the interstates and to get around slower traffic. The engine is a little more noisier than I think it should be, especially when the air conditioner of heat is running. The compressor seems to bog the engine down some. I spoke with a dealer mechanic about this and he said that it one disadvantage to the 3.0L V6. However, the engine idles smooth and is relatively quiet under highway speeds. Overall, road manners are pretty good. The Taurus has a comfortable ride and body roll is reasonable for a mid-size sedan. Steering is also smooth and is relatively easy to turn the car, even in tight situations.
The shifting patterns on the Taurus are not the best in the world. When I first bought this car, it acted as if the computer was telling it to shift too early under light acceleration. This resulted in a slight "jerking" of the car until the RPM was higher in its gear. I took it to the dealer (under warranty) and they reprogrammed the computer. It seemed to help this problem alot. However, I am used to the way the GM cars shift, so this Ford seems a little sloppy crusing through the city sometimes. However, the car does not "jerk" once the computer was reprogrammed. On a bright note, the transmission does a good job with keeping the right gear under highway cruising speed.
Thoughts on the Interior
I really like the simplistic interior of the Taurus. Gauges are easy to read, with displaying speed, tachometer, temperature, gas, and battery voltage. However, I wish it would show and oil pressure gauge (I think it should be required on all vehicles). There is a little bit of extra information for the driver to see during a trip. The Taurus can display average gas mileage, trip time, and estimated miles until empty. The seats are plush and comfortable, with room for up to six adults (fold down the middle front seat, of course). Something Ford does not skimp on is the use of cup holders. There are a total of four cup holders: two in front (when middle seat is folded out) and two in the back. The back seats are very roomy for adults, and there are pouches behind the front seat to put odd and end items. The power seat and power doors work fine. Actually, the power window motors move the windows faster than most other cars I have been into.
Thoughts on the exterior
Ford designed the Taurus to have a more traditional look over the last three years. Personally, I like this version some of the extreme retro looks some cars are getting now. It definitely shows to the public that it is a family car, but with a little bit of taste and dressing. One of the biggest attraction to me and possible alot of rental companies is the trunk capacity of the Taurus. I can pack two big suitcases, a travel playpen, a stroller, and odd and end toiletry items and be able to comfortably close the lid.
Reliablity and Gas Mileage
The Taurus originally had a bad reputation for being expensive cars to maintain once they got older. It seemed like they always had major mechanical issues. However, Ford has finally gotten the car's bugs worked out and now the Taurus is known as one of the most reliable domestic cars on the market. So far, our Taurus has been reliable and has only cost us money for oil changes. The Taurus uses regular gasoline, and gets reasonable gas mileage. The average highway mileage I have gotten on long road trips is around 27 miles per gallon. Although this is pretty decent, other competitors have cars that size getting over 30 miles per gallon with more horsepower and torque. The gas tank is about 18 gallons, which is enough to get us about 400 miles before having to fill up again.
As stated earlier, we were looking for a family car that had size, value, and reliability. The Taurus seemed to be the best choice (we had looked at 04 Malibus, 04 Bonneville with similiar miles), and so far we have been right. We were able to get this car for under $12000. It is a shame that Ford stopped making this car in 2006. Also, it should be noted that now there is probably a big market for those looking to buy a Taurus. They are at the age now where alot of rental and lease companies are upgrading and dealers are getting them at auctions. This means you may be able to get a car just like mine with low miles alot cheaper than what mine cost. I am sure there are many low mileage Taurus vehicles that are under $10000. But the flipside to that is that the value of these car will drop more than most other vehicles out there. Either way, this is not a bad car to own, especially for the long term.