2008 Ford Taurus X Road Test Review
The Taurus name is back, and now it is used on two models, the Taurus sedan and the Taurus X crossover.
The cars bearing the new name used to be the Five Hundred sedan and Freestyle. The Taurus name was resurrected to capitalize on the popularity of the brand that once was the best-selling car in America.
The exterior of the Taurus X picks up design cues from the Ford Edge, including the headlamps and distinctive Ford three-bar chrome grille that is becoming a Ford signature. The hood, fenders and front fascia are also new.
The crossover Taurus X has a sedan chassis, a tall body and seating for seven. The flat cargo floor makes it an ideal urban companion.
The Taurus Xs chassis platform, shared with the Taurus sedan, is derived from the Volvo XC90. The body structure feels tight and solid, and it provides good handling and crashworthiness. Shared design is one benefit of Fords ownership of Volvo.
Taurus X is available in three trim levels and in all-wheel or front-wheel drive. Prices begin at $26,615 for a front-wheel-drive SEL. The test vehicle was an all-wheel-drive SEL with a base price of $29,215. The top Limited begins at $31,800.
A major upgrade for the Taurus X comes in the form of a 3.5-liter V-6 with 263 horsepower. That is nearly 30 percent more power than the Freestyles engine provided, and the added oomph is certainly welcome. A six-speed automatic transmission replaces the CVT that was used on the Freestyle.
Taurus Xs all-wheel-drive system, now similar to that of the Ford Edge, is new for 2008. It is less complex than the system it replaces, and it uses on-demand electro-mechanical center coupling to allocate a precise amount of torque from front to rear, up to 100 percent to either axle.
The Taurus X has a 112.9-inch wheelbase that enables it to have three rows of seats. It is 10 inches longer, 2 inches wider and 4 inches lower than an Explorer, with roughly the same headroom and legroom. The space behind the third seat is actually greater than that in the Explorer.
The Taurus X is one of 12 new Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products to offer Ford Sync, although the test car was not so equipped. Sync is a voice-activated, hands-free, in-car communications and entertainment system that was developed in collaboration with Microsoft. This system integrates mobile phones and media players into the vehicle using Bluetooth technology and USB connectivity.
The test car did have Fords voice-activated navigation system and Sirius satellite radio.
The Taurus X can haul seven people or a load of cargo. Creating a flat load floor is a snap. The third-row seat is a clever design. The seatback folds down, and then the whole seat pivots backward to make a load floor that aligns with the second-row seat. Even the front passenger seat can fold forward to accommodate something 9 feet long. The one drawback is that the cargo hold isnt very tall.
When the seats are upright, getting into the third row is easy because the second-row seat tips forward. Legroom in the third row is passable for adults and excellent for children. The third seat is available as a single bench or 50/50 split. The split-folding seat is the most useful configuration.
Inside, the Taurus X borrows from the Five Hundred sedan. Round air vents on the instrument panel, soft-touch paint finishes and leatherlike textures are all part of the package. The instrument panel has simple, chrome-trimmed gauges. Audio and climate controls are large and easy to use. The console has two cup holders and a gearshift.
The seats are fairly flat, especially in the second row. My backseat passengers commented that more lumbar support would be a huge improvement.
Storage compartments are plentiful. A small lid atop the instrument panel is a great space to keep maps or other small items.
Fingertip controls on the steering wheel are handy for operating the radio and cruise control.
Although the steering wheel tilts, it doesnt telescope. Even with the adjustable pedals all the way forward, I felt too far from the wheel when the seat was adjusted to be comfortable for my legs.
Side-curtain airbags and a rollover sensor are part of the Taurus Xs safety package. Anti-lock brakes and traction control are standard.
The test car was a preproduction all-wheel-drive SEL with a base price of $26,615. (The car in the photos is an Eddie Bauer AWD model) Options on our test car included heated leather seats, rear parking sensors, sunroof, navigation system, satellite radio, third seat and a power tailgate. The sticker price was $35,925.
Three years or 36,000 miles with a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Point: The Taurus X offers SUV versatility with sedan handling and room for seven. It is available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
Counterpoint: The rear seats need more lumbar support, a telescoping steering wheel would be handy and the cargo space is not very tall.