My thoughts on the new 2010 Ford Taurus

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:

ford taurus 2010 exterior
Now, in terms of my experience with the car itself…

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:

ford fiesta 2010
Anyway, the Taurus now sports all sorts of slick safety features too. Yeah, it has a complete set of airbags, antilock brakes, etc, but it now also has neat radar-based features like Cross Traffic Alert and a Blind Spot Information System, both designed to help you minimize accidents from lack of visibility. What most impressed me, though, was the Adaptive Cruise Control feature: if you’re on cruise control and the car in front is going slower than your speed, it shoots a laser and vaporizes them, leaving you to fly through the debris.

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:

ford taurus 2010 dashboard
Inside the arm rest is a USB plug and an external audio jack: coupled with Microsoft Sync, it’ll let you plug and forget your iPod (or, presumably, Zune), controlling it all from the dashboard controls. Finally.

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… 🙂

7 comments on “My thoughts on the new 2010 Ford Taurus

  1. First of all, I thought this article was written by a woman, apparently not. Secondly, why would anybody put ant credence into what a Toyota Owner would say about anything? Thirdly, he is worried about the health of the American Automobile Industry? Next statement, “I drive a Toyota Highlander Hybrid. What a Piece of Crap!

  2. Rick, what an amazing comment. Thanks for leaving it. You demonstrate quite neatly why the US auto industry – and a number of US industries – are foundering: the inability to actually *hear* commentary and criticism from potential customers who chose something else.
    Does it matter that I’m a man, not a woman? Why do you think that someone who evaluated all the cars in the market and opted for a Toyota doesn’t have meaningful thoughts and commentary on US cars?
    I will say that the executives from Ford Motor Company didn’t share your extreme bias…

  3. It is good to hear that the interior is nicer than they have been in the past; my husband and I always have negative comments when we rent American cars because the interiors seem so cheap. Thanks for the review. The car is not on my list of cars I’d consider, but I am pleased to hear that car companies are listening to the feedback!

  4. I’d love to know why you felt the Taurus is much more “gangsta” or “ghetto” or “urban” What makes it urban, ghetto, or gangsta?

  5. Dave —
    Thanks for coming to the Summer of Taurus event! My goal is to get you to take another look at Ford — we’re different! When the Fiesta is out next year — send me an email and we can have you take a look at it! Finally, I am sure with great products like the Mustang, the GT500, the Fusion, the Fusion Hybrid, the Taurus, the F150 and the F150 Raptor, the Flex, the MKT, — Ford has a product for you — just Drive One! Thanks for the article!

  6. I own a 2010 Taurus. I test drove a few other cars before deciding to buy my Taurus. I can feel the road; I can feel the pick- up the engine offers; the car seats are so comfortable. I notice how the European styling of the Taurus has turns heads. This car does not feel or look like “an old man’s car”. My favorite feature is the heated seats. I love the hands-free phone and the capless gas tank too. How exciting are the options for the Ford vehicles! Check into Ford’s vehicles!

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