Ford Taurus (fifth generation)

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Ford Taurus, fifth generation (5G)
2008 Ford Taurus SEL .jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Ford
Also called Ford Five Hundred (Middle East)
Production May 2007–May 2009
Assembly Chicago, Illinois (Chicago Assembly)
Designer J Mays (2005)
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout Front engine, front-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive
Platform Ford D3 platform
Related Ford Taurus X
Mercury Sable
Lincoln MKS
Ford Flex
Volvo XC90
Powertrain
Engine 3.5 L DOHC Duratec 35 (Cyclone) V6
Transmission 6-speed 6F automatic
Dimensions
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)
Chronology
Predecessor Ford Five Hundred
Successor Ford Taurus (sixth generation)

The fifth generation of the Ford Taurus is an automobile that was manufactured and marketed by Ford Motor Company for the 2008 and 2009 model years. Originally intended as a mid-cycle update of the Ford Five Hundred, the Ford Taurus nameplate was revived after its unveiling at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show. As the revived Taurus replaced the Ford Five Hundred, a revived Mercury Sable replaced the Mercury Montego; the Ford Freestyle was renamed the Ford Taurus X.

Retaining the Ford D3 platform of the Ford Five Hundred, the fifth-generation Ford Taurus shifted from the mid-size segment to the full-size segment. With the 2008 withdrawal of the Ford Crown Victoria from retail markets, the Taurus became the largest Ford sedan (outside of fleet sales). As the Ford Taurus X was marketed as a crossover SUV, the fifth-generation Taurus became the first version of the Taurus sold exclusively as a four-door sedan; all-wheel drive became an option for the first time.

The fifth-generation Ford Taurus was assembled in Chicago, Illinois at Chicago Assembly, alongside the Mercury Sable and the Lincoln MKS. The 2008-2009 Taurus was marketed in North America, South Korea, Mexico, and the Middle East. Outside the United States, Canada, and South Korea, it retained the previous Ford Five Hundred branding.[1]

For the 2010 model year, this generation was replaced by the sixth-generation Ford Taurus, which is the current North American version (as of the 2018 model year).

Design[edit]

As a rebranded and modified Ford Five Hundred, the 5G Taurus featured an engine with 30% more power; a front facelift; chrome-trimmed, fender-located faux engine vents; revised tail lights; and increased sound absorption measures, including foam pellets expanded into the A-pillars and a new sound-absorptive material, marketed as Sonosorb, used throughout the body. The 5G Taurus used a new 6-speed automatic transmission (the GM-Ford 6-speed automatic transmission, jointly developed with General Motors), in contrast to the Aisin 6-speed used in the Five Hundred, and was no longer equipped with the CVT.[2] Handling was revised by re-engineering the front end – transferring the weight of the engine from the sub-frame directly to the chassis via hydraulic mounts – increasing front suspension travel by 10mm (10%) and retuning the suspension.[3]

Exterior[edit]

The Fifth-generation Taurus was a upgraded and rebranded Five Hundred.

The exterior of the 5G Taurus is largely carried over from the Five Hundred, apart from a revised front fascia with a three bar grille, headlights, and fog lights; revised tail lights; roof-mounted Satellite radio antenna; and chrome-trimmed, fender-located faux engine vents. Each trim level features new wheels.

Ford's chief designer Peter Horbury noted that the Five Hundred's styling had been problematic and said of the front and rear facia modifications: "when we did the face lift, and it became the Taurus; it didn’t set the world on fire, either. If you remodeled either end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I’m sure you’d still know what it was.'"[4]

Interior[edit]

As with the exterior, the interior of the 5G Taurus is largely carried over from the Five Hundred with subtle differences such as darker simulated woodgrain and new steering wheel. Ford relocated 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 interior featured a revised radio faceplate with chrome trim around the buttons, a new double-tiered bin in the center console, and a new shifter design. Notably the 5G Taurus features Ford's SYNC system, developed by Microsoft, which accepts voice commands and can connect the driver's cell phones and MP3 players to the car, while organizing personal information.[5]

Models and Engines[edit]

The 5G Taurus was offered in SE, SEL and Limited trim levels. The SE retailed at approximately $24,000 US$, with the middle option SEL at US$26,000 and the Limited at US$30,000.[5] 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 GM-Ford 6-speed automatic transmission.[6]

Taurus nameplate[edit]

The fourth-generation (4G) Ford Taurus was manufactured concurrently with a larger, new front-wheel drive sedan, the Ford Five Hundred and was discontinued in late 2006 for model year 2007. After discontinuation of the 4G Taurus, the Five Hundred, which did not perform to expectations,[7] was rebranded as the 5G Taurus.

Autoblog[8] and The Truth About Cars[9] expressed disappointment that Ford let 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),[10] the Detroit automakers regularly abandon established models in search of "the next big thing".[11]

How can it go away? It's the best selling car in America.

Alan Mulally, 2006[12]

After taking position as CEO at Ford Alan Mulally said in an interview with the Associated Press that he was baffled the Taurus had been discontinued, saying he believed discontinuing the Taurus was a mistake, and that the Five Hundred should have been named "Taurus" from the beginning.[12] In mid 2007, revamped versions of the Five Hundred and Freestyle were unveiled as "Taurus" and "Taurus X" at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show.[12] In a later interview, Mulally said the Taurus name was well known and had positive brand equity, something that would take time and money to give to the Five Hundred.[13]

Variants[edit]

Mercury Sable[edit]

2008 Mercury Sable

For the 2008 model year, the Mercury Montego received the same mid-cycle update as the Ford Five Hundred; in line with the revival of the Ford Taurus, the Montego was renamed the Mercury Sable. Receiving the same 3.5L V6 and 6-speed automatic as the Taurus, cosmetic updates to the Sable were more extensive, with a redesigned front and rear fascias, larger grille, and clear-lens taillamps. The redesigned interior adopted several changes, including two-tone leather seating, with hydrographically printed woodgrain in multiple color patterns.

As part of the closure of the Mercury brand, the Sable ended production after the 2009 model year; no Mercury Sable counterpart of the sixth-generation Taurus entered development.

Ford Taurus X[edit]

2008 Ford Taurus X SEL

Alongside the mid-cycle update to the Ford Five Hundred/Mercury Montego, for 2008, the Ford Freestyle crossover SUV received a similar update, adopting the Ford Taurus X nameplate. Sharing the powertrain of the Taurus/Sable, the Taurus X adopted a revised front fascia, similar to the Taurus sedan. In line with larger Ford SUVs, the Taurus X offered an outdoors-themed Eddie Bauer edition for the first time.

Following lower than expected sales, the Taurus X ended production on February 27, 2009; while not an official replacement, the Ford Flex is also a crossover SUV based upon the D3-platform Ford Taurus.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "So we got a Ford Five Hundred". DriveArabia.com. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
  2. ^ PFM Staff. "Ford's 263-hp Large Car… the Taurus". Hendon Publishing.
  3. ^ Kim Reynolds (September 2007). "First Drive: 2008 Ford Taurus, Born Again: Reinvented and coming in on little cat's feet". Motor Trend.
  4. ^ Mike Duff (June 2011). "What I'd do Differently: Peter Horbury". Car and Driver.
  5. ^ a b "2008 Ford Taurus features more power, style, and more standard safety features". Media. Ford.com. February 7, 2007. Archived from the original on October 15, 2007. Retrieved February 7, 2007.
  6. ^ Siler, Steve; Mike Dushane (February 2007). "Ford slaps a once-successful nameplate on its refreshed and reinvigorated Five Hundred". Car and Driver. Retrieved February 25, 2007.
  7. ^ "Storied Ford Taurus reaches end of line". Detroit News. October 23, 2006. Retrieved August 14, 2007.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "So long, friend. Ford producing last Taurus next week". Autoblog. Retrieved July 26, 2007.
  9. ^ "Ford Taurus: Oedipus Wrecks". The Truth About Cars. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
  10. ^ "Toyota Corolla history". Edmunds.com. Retrieved April 4, 2008.
  11. ^ "How Ford starved its Taurus". USA Today. October 25, 2006. Retrieved October 25, 2006.
  12. ^ a b c "CEO insisted in bringing "Taurus" back". MSNBC. February 7, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2007.
  13. ^ Ford CEO Alan Mulally on the new Ford Taurus. Autoinsider news. July 26, 2007.

External links[edit]