Ford Taurus (fifth generation)
|Ford Taurus (fifth generation)|
|Manufacturer||Ford Motor Company|
|Also called||Ford Five Hundred (Middle East)|
|Assembly||Chicago, Illinois (Chicago Assembly)|
|Designer||J Mays (2006)|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door sedan|
|Layout||Front engine, front-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive|
|Platform||Ford D3 platform|
|Related||Ford Taurus X
|Engine||3.5 L DOHC Duratec 35 (Cyclone) V6|
|Transmission||6-speed 6F automatic|
|Wheelbase||112.7 in (2,863 mm)|
|Length||201.8 in (5,126 mm)|
|Width||74.1 in (1,882 mm)|
|Height||61.5 in (1,562 mm)|
|Curb weight||FWD: 3,741 lb (1,697 kg)
AWD: 3,930 lb (1,780 kg)
|Predecessor||Ford Five Hundred|
|Successor||Ford Taurus (sixth generation)|
The fifth-generation Ford Taurus is a full-size sedan that was manufactured for the 2008 and 2009 model years. Originally intended to be sold as a facelifted 2008 Ford Five Hundred, Ford executives re-branded the vehicle as the Taurus shortly before its sale; the Mercury Montego counterpart of the Five Hundred took on the Mercury Sable nameplate. The first generation of the Taurus sold as a full-size car, the fifth generation is also the first to be sold exclusively as a sedan. In the place of the station wagon, the Ford Freestyle was replaced by the Taurus X crossover sport-utility vehicle.
This generation of the Taurus was sold in North America, Mexico, and the Middle East. Outside the United States and Canada, it retained the previous Ford Five Hundred branding. All versions of the Taurus and Taurus X were assembled at Chicago Assembly in Chicago, Illinois.
The Ford Taurus was one of the company's best-selling nameplates. However, it suffered from slumping sales since the late 1990s, steadily losing market share in the midsize segment to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. The fourth-generation Ford Taurus soon relied heavily on sales incentives and fleet sales, which further diminished its appeal. The Taurus was discontinued in late 2006, being succeeded by the Ford Fusion and Ford Five Hundred, however the Five Hundred did not perform to expectations.
However, this caused a controversy within the auto industry, with popular automotive websites such as Autoblog and The Truth About Cars expressing their disappointment at Ford for letting the Taurus nameplate decline. MSNBC interviewed many Ford workers who felt that Ford unjustly abandoned the car that had done so much to revitalize Ford and the US industry. In an October 25, 2006 USA Today editorial, "How Ford starved its Taurus" it was noted that while the Japanese stick with their popular models and keep them up to date and competitive, (such as the Toyota Corolla, which has been in continuous production since the 1960s), the Detroit automakers regularly abandon established models in search of "the next big thing".
However, after Alan Mulally became Ford's CEO, rumors were rampant that he was interested in reviving the Taurus. These were fueled by the fact that he said in an interview with the Associated Press that he was baffled to find out that the Taurus had been discontinued when taking position as CEO at Ford, as well as stating that he believed that discontinuing the Taurus was a mistake, and that the Five Hundred should have been named "Taurus" from the beginning. The rumors of a possible Taurus revival were confirmed in mid 2007, when the revamped versions of the Five Hundred and Freestyle were unveiled as "Taurus" and "Taurus X" at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show, a decision that was influenced strongly by Mulally. In a later interview, Mulally explained that the fact that the Taurus was well known and had a positive brand equity associated with it, something that would take lots of time and money to give to the Five Hundred.
The exterior of the Fifth-generation Taurus is largely carried over from the Five Hundred. Apart from that of the front fascia, the Taurus is practically identical to that of the Five Hundred. Some design features on the Taurus were first used on a 2007 option package for the Five Hundred entitled the "chrome package".
The Taurus has a different front fascia that has Ford's signature three bar grille, new headlights, a new front bumper with fog lights, and side fender vents. The Taurus also gains new wheels, each differed on whether the SEL or Limited model was specified. Around the back, the Taurus has Ford Fusion style clear taillights and an added roof mounted Satellite radio adapter. However, despite these new design features, the Taurus' shape has been criticized for looking too similar to that of the Volkswagen Passat.
As with the exterior, the interior of the Fifth-generation Taurus is largely carried over from the Five Hundred. However, it offers many subtle differences such as using a darker shade of woodgrain, a new steering wheel, among other changes. Ford chose to relocate the wiper switch from the left hand side (as with the Five Hundred) to the turn signal stalk on the right hand side, as has been the design of every Taurus since its 1986 introduction.
The radio is a new design that has chrome trim around the buttons, a new double tiered bin is in the center console, and there is a new shifter that is of a different design. However, the most notable feature of the Fifth-generation's interior - a feature that was new for the Taurus - was Ford's SYNC system, developed by Microsoft. This feature accepts voice commands, and can connect the driver's cell phones and MP3 players to the car, while organizing personal information.
Models and Engines
The fifth generation Taurus is now offered in three models; the SE, SEL and Limited. The SE is the base model that costs approximately $24,000 US$, with the middle option SEL costing around US$26,000 And the top of the line version Limited, which costs US$30,000. This generation of Taurus uses the 263 hp 3.5 L Duratec 35 V6 which replaces the 203 hp (151 kW) Duratec 30 3.0 L V6. The Five Hundred/Freestyle's ZF-Batavia CVT, which had a maximum torque capacity of 221 lb·ft (300 N·m), is also replaced with a Ford-GM joint venture six-speed automatic capable of withstanding the Duratec 35s additional torque. The Aisin AW six-speed automatic that was used on FWD Five Hundred and Montegos was also replaced by the new six-speed.
As with the Taurus, the Sable name was resurrected to apply to an updated version of the Mercury Montego. However, the changes from the Montego to the Sable are more extensive to that of the Five Hundred to the Taurus. From the Montego, the Sable sports a new front fascia, hood, fenders, trunk, and taillights. Inside, the Sable offers similar options and features to the Taurus, although it has the unique features of two toned leather seats and light woodgrain trim. The Sable offers the same drivetrain improvements as the Taurus.
Ford Taurus X
When the revived Taurus was launched, a crossover variant was launched with it, entitled the Taurus X. As how the Taurus is revived from the Five Hundred, the Taurus X was born from the Ford Freestyle, itself based on the Five Hundred. The Taurus X sports a revised front fascia, hood, wheels, fenders, and taillights over the Freestyle. It also contains the same drivetrain improvements as the Taurus and Sable. As with the Taurus, the Taurus X also boasted some minor interior changes, mainly with the addition of the Microsoft SYNC system as an option. The Taurus X was offered in three models; SEL, the Limited, and a top of the range Eddie Bauer edition.
Due to sluggish sales, the Taurus X ended production on February 27, 2009. Afterwards, Ford re-tooled its Chicago Assembly Plant for the 2010 Ford Taurus (sixth generation), which went into production in June 2009.
Notes and references
- "So we got a Ford Five Hundred". DriveArabia.com. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
- "Storied Ford Taurus reaches end of line". Detroit News. October 23, 2006. Retrieved August 14, 2007.
- "So long, friend. Ford producing last Taurus next week". Autoblog. Retrieved July 26, 2007.
- "Ford Taurus: Oedipus Wrecks". The Truth About Cars. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
- "Toyota Corolla history". Edmunds.com. Retrieved April 4, 2008.
- "How Ford starved its Taurus". USA Today. October 25, 2006. Retrieved October 25, 2006.
- "CEO insisted in bringing "Taurus" back". MSNBC. February 7, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2007.
- Ford CEO Alan Mulally on the new Ford Taurus. Autoinsider news. July 26, 2007.
- "2008 Ford Taurus Limited review". The Truth About Cars. July 18, 2007. Retrieved August 3, 2008.
- "2008 Ford Taurus features more power, style, and more standard safety features". Media. Ford.com. February 7, 2007. Retrieved February 7, 2007.[dead link]
- Siler, Steve, and Mike Dushane (February 2007). "Ford slaps a once-successful nameplate on its refreshed and reinvigorated Five Hundred". Car and Driver. Retrieved February 25, 2007.
- "Ford strengthens crossover leadership with introduction of new 2008 Taurus X". Media. Ford.com. February 7, 2007. Archived from the original on February 10, 2007. Retrieved February 7, 2007.
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