Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dispatch drives the 2008 Taurus, and it doesn't completely blow

So I went on that Chicago trip and the dowdy Ford Fusion we thought we booked just happened to morph into a spanking new Taurus. I was delighted with the swap however, as this is a car that has been in the news recently... though not necessarily for good reasons. This would also be my chance to sample Ford's new V6, which it seems quite proud of and in turn will be stuffing in every one of its cars it fits in.

If you've read a few reviews of this car from different sources, you'll see that some like the new engine a lot, while others say it ain't all it's cracked up to be. Stock me in with the former, as I found it to be smooth and quite powerful. It's got plenty of power for families that will buy this car, probably more than enough actually. I had a decently good time heaving this massive car through traffic, and flooring it from a standstill resulted in impressive acceleration.

In newly chrome-spangled Taurus guise, it looks approximately 20% better than it did as the Five Hundred. Thankfully though, the example we were issued wasn't fitted with the horridly ribbed chrome wheels you'll see on most of these, rather these unoffensive two-tone 17s.

That said, this is still a boring car. The high seating position combined with 5-beer steering leaves you with the impression of rolling down a back alley in a wingback perched atop a Radio Flyer... and the strong V6 makes it a very steep alley.

The interior isn't terrible. Most of the plastics have some squish and don't shine too harshly. The worst stuff I found was right on the steering wheel directly above the radio/hvac buttons... not the best place to hide it. There's plenty of room obviously, though I expected even more given the hugeness that permeates the driving experience. My most curious discovery had to be the many dead insect trapped within both of the reading lights of the overhead console (4th picture below). How they got there is a noodle scratcher for the books.

Bottom line: There's nothing wrong with this car. If the Taurus was the only car sold in America, everyone would be perfectly happy with it. But it isn't, and the others are just better.

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