The original Ford Taurus SHO was produced as an after thought. It was Ford's way to get rid of a bunch of high performance engines they ordered from Yamaha for a Pontiac Fiero competitor that never came out. After production ceased in 1999, no one thought we'd see another SHO come out of Ford, what with the economy spiraling downward and all the public calling for American car companies to build more practical and fuel frugal cars.
But the company that brought us one of the best and most fuel efficient hybrids on the road today, decided that with a little medicine they'd dish out some sugar along with it, and that brings us to the 2010 Ford Taurus SHO. There's no high-performance Yamaha heads this time around, no special edition splicer wheels, not even a manual transmission. But there are two turbo chargers, over 100 more horses under the hood and cavernous, luxurious interior. But does all that a SHO make? Read on to find out...
PRICE: Base: $38,595
SPECS: 3.5 liter ECOBOOST V6, 365 hp, 350 lb-ft of torque.
MPG: 17 city/25 highway.
RIDE: For the performance version of their most iconic midsized sedan, the Ford Taurus SHO drives really, really calmly. So calmly in fact you'll be forgiven for thinking you were instead riding in a Lincoln—well, you would if anyone still drove Lincolns. The SHO's twin turbo'd V6 pumps out 365 horses with 350 lb-ft of twisting power. For those reading off the numbers with question marks after each digit, let us put to you this way, this car is more powerful than a BMW 550i and an Audi A6. It's fast. It's sub five second zero to 60 time suggests that it's also quick, but driving it, you would never guess. It's so damn smooth. Part of that is probably due to the fact that the car feels heavy. Hit the "go" pedal and you won't rush to 60, instead you glide on a velvety wave of torque. It's a little too uninvolved. It seems as thought the car was built for Dad's who want to go fast without make their kids spill their Lunchables.
The six speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, if not quickly. The paddle shifters allow you a little more control, but there's just no replacement for a proper manual. You feel like you would rather be rowing through the gears yourself. It would definitely make the experience much more enjoyable. Conversely, take this on the highway on a long trip and you'll be counting your blessings. It's made for the highway, it seems. You can easily breeze past slower cars and despite it's heft and length, the AWD system lets you easily toss it in and out of lanes. It's a fast sedan, no doubt. But is it sporty? Well, not necessarily, but that's not really a bad thing. Ford has cars to fill that void, this is meant to provide a different exhilaration. The kind where you say, "Oh, shit, I'm doing 100 mph?!"
EXTERIOR: The original Ford Taurus was such a design success, such a departure from the norm, that they threw it in RoboCop! The models that came after were way less exciting. It was like Ford realized only mid-western suburban moms were buying them and gave up on designing a cool looking car. The 2010 Taurus fixes all'a that. The design is imposing. At 202.9 inches, it's almost 10 inches longer than a BMW 5 series. And it's tall. Maybe Ford felt the need to make it super masculine? Who knows. All we know is we love it. You feel like you're driving something substantial. The proportions are as large as its profile, making it seem retro and futuristic all in the same glance. Although the bulges are bulky, they don't seem overly so. We know it's made by a competing company, but it oddly feels like a long lost cousin to the new Camaro (please, no hate mail). The only details separating the SHO from the normal Taurus is the dual exhaust set up out back and the "ECOBOOST" badge on the trunk. Oddly enough, we think that's a good thing. The car is already styled to within an inch of its life, we wouldn't want to see what would happen if Ford tried to make it look "sporty".
INTERIOR: You know those cars that are huge on the outside and weirdly small on the inside? The Taurus is not one of those cars. It's huge inside. Big enough for five people to comfortably ride around in. If there's only four of you, you could take it on a road trip have everyone feeling content with their personal space. Up front, the bucket seats are comfortable but not meant for performance driving. They don't keep you in place at all—hit a corner and depending on your size, you'll find yourself sliding around the seat. Not too much though, the cool looking suede will stick your clothes and try to keep you in place. Both driver and passenger get heated seats with ass massages. Pretty nifty for Fords everyman sedan.
TECH: In the SHO you get all the tech for has to offer: a bass-heavy Sony sound system with a navigation system, a 10GB hard drive and, of course, the voice controlled, Bluetooth connected Microsoft Sync. There's also the optional BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) system (our car had it) that alerts you to, you guessed it, cars in your blind spot. Cool, but not necessary.
SUMMARY: The 2010 Ford Taurus SHO is a comfortable, fast, large touring sedan. Not quite the sporty performer we thought it'd be, it instead makes us want to devour large stretches of interstate with a few our of friends. If you're looking for an American alternative to Europe's midsized sporty four doors, this is it.
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