Had a nice party invitation yesterday via Facebook: a reception introducing the new 2010 model year Ford Taurus redesign, with Ford Exec Director of American Products Frank Davis in attendance. Now, I’m not a big car nut (like a few friends of mine) but I am still interested in cars and concerned about the long-term health of the American car industry as a bellwether for the national economy, so I RSVP’d yes and showed up promptly at 6pm for the event.
Turns out that it was a very low key cocktail reception in the back of an upscale pub on the trendy 16th Street Mall in Denver, with chic little finger food and an open bar. More importantly, though, was the presence of a couple of different people from Ford and a small enough crowd that we actually had time to get into a more serious conversation.
First off, here’s a pic of the new Ford Taurus for 2010:
Well, I should say that I haven’t owned a Ford since we had a hand-me-down Ford Explorer years ago, which I liked, but not enough that we bought a new one when it started to show signs of age. The last American car I bought was a Chrysler Town & Country van, and the vehicle I drive now is a Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
Nonetheless, my parents have a couple of older Japanese sedans and I have certainly done more than my fair share of driving rental cars throughout the years, including a number of Ford Taurus vehicles… so I’m not unfamiliar with the issues and requirements of a five-person sedan.
To cut to the chase, I really liked the new Taurus, though I have to say that it felt much more “gangsta” or “ghetto” or “urban” (pick your term) than the previous more sedate model years have, more in line with a Dodge Avenger than a Toyota Avalon. The car also now has a lot more of a European feel too, from the tighter suspension and greater feel of the road to the fit and finish. Ford exec Frank Davis confirmed that Ford is bringing over many of its European innovations to American cars, and that the super-popular Ford Fiesta is going to arrive in the US within the next twelve months too.
Don’t know the Fiesta? It’s a super-cute, highly fuel efficient sedan. Here’s a pic:
No, just kidding. Just wishful thinking. Adaptive Cruise Control will automatically slow you down so that you don’t whack the back of the slower car in front, and will automatically resume your set speed once they’re no longer in the way. Slick!
The interior of the car is nice too, definitely yet another step from the cheap, plastic-y interiors that for too-long characterized American cars:
Would I buy a Ford Taurus? Probably not, because I need the space for a cello, an occasional bike, and my three kids who have friends join us occasionally too. On the other hand, would I consider buying one for my folks if their current car goes kaput? Quite possibly, though the 19/23 mpg is a disappointment in 2010. Ten years ago that kind of gas mileage would have been understandable, but I expect at least 25mpg from a sedan, if not 30+.
Finally, it was very nice to be able to have long, thoughtful conversations with the execs from Ford and its PR agency, so I am thankful to have been invited. Now, about that loaner Ford Fiesta… 🙂