Ford Taurus (fifth generation)
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|Ford Taurus, fifth generation (5G)|
|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 (5G) Taurus is directly related to a group of rebadged variants, Ford's Chicago D3's, so called for the plant where they were manufactured (Chicago Assembly) and the platform (D3) they share: the Ford Five Hundred (2005–2007), the Mercury Montego (2005–2007) and third generation Mercury Sable (2008–2009) sedans; the Ford Freestyle (2005–2007) and Taurus X (2008–2009) wagons, marketed as a crossover vehicles; as well as the Lincoln MKS. The 5G Taurus is closely related to Ford's Oakville D4's: the Ford Flex, Ford Explorer and Lincoln MKT, all sharing a modified D3 platform.
Originally intended to be marketed as a facelifted 2008 Ford Five Hundred, Ford re-branded the vehicle as the Taurus shortly before its debut, with the Mercury Montego counterpart to the Five Hundred receiving the Mercury Sable nameplate. The 5G Taurus was the first generation of the Taurus sold as a full-size car and the first to be sold exclusively as a sedan.
The 5G 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.
As a rebranded and modified Ford Five Hundred, the 5G Taurus featured an engine with 30% more power; a front facelifts; 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. 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.
The exterior of the 5G Taurus is largely carried over from the Five Hundred, apart 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.'"
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.
Models and Engines
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. 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.
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, was rebranded as the 5G Taurus.
Autoblog and The Truth About Cars 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), the Detroit automakers regularly abandon established models in search of "the next big thing".
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. In mid 2007, revamped versions of the Five Hundred and Freestyle were unveiled as "Taurus" and "Taurus X" at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show. 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.
With its fifth generation, the Sable name was reapplied to an updated version of the Mercury Montego featuring a new front fascia, hood, fenders, trunk, and taillights – and similar options and features to the Taurus, albeit with two-tone leather seating and hydrographically printed woodgrain, in either Guitar Maple, Cyber Carbon and San Macassar feaux patterns, depending on the interior color. 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 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.
- PFM Staff. "Ford’s 263-hp Large Car… the Taurus". Hendon Publishing.
- Kim Reynolds (September 2007). "First Drive: 2008 Ford Taurus, Born Again: Reinvented and coming in on little cat's feet". Motor Trend.
- "2008 Ford Taurus Limited review". The Truth About Cars. July 18, 2007. Retrieved August 3, 2008.
- Mike Duff (June 2011). "What I'd do Differently: Peter Horbury". Car and Driver.
- "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.
- 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.
- "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.
- "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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