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regfootball

2008 TAURUS test drive

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Drove one today.

only got time for a quick post first.

Yes, it's improved. Successful improvements in some areas and in other areas I wonder if the effort was enough. Overall, I would be happy to get one to replace my 500 soon, although I am not sure it doesn't keep me from looking at some other vehicles.

Most notably, the extra horsepower I did not feel as much as you think a 30% power increase should feel. For example, I also drove an Outlook again today and gosh if the Outlook didn't feel peppier at times. Credit typically poor Ford transmission programming for the car not fulfilling its potential.

The interior of the Taurus is VASTLY improved, even with only simple changes. Credit going to a black dash and doors and some added chrome and some textured door inserts. The car I drove had cloth seats, too, which I liked a lot.

Quieter inside, noticeably, although still not as quiet as I expected.

The car looks quite a bit sleeker with the new lower and less upright front end, the fender vents, reshaped hood, door spats, removal of side molding, and iced taillights. Its a really nice look. I can say that with a straight face.

The MSRP was like 27 grand, entirely affordable and very nice for the MSRP. Maybe not as good a value as the Aura....but it has a lot more usability and space than the smaller midsizers.

Based on the test drive, i stick to me statement that they will increase sales over the 500 by 50%. I might go so far as to say they will even double them now. It's improved at least enough for me to say that.

Edited by regfootball
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One of the guys at BON test drove one and said the fit and finish on the interior was even better than the Five Hundred, and he thought the Five Hundred's was pretty decent. He said panel gaps were nice and tight.

Salewise, I think it will do about 10K a month once production ramps up as long as they keep it fresh...and I think I'm being slightly conservative with that estimate. I'm really looking forward to the June sales figures. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm always anxious for the sales figures to be released...too bad it only happens once a month.

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One of the guys at BON test drove one and said the fit and finish on the interior was even better than the Five Hundred, and he thought the Five Hundred's was pretty decent. He said panel gaps were nice and tight.

i would say that the fit and finish is maybe like 5% better, but the 500's is pretty good. the issue on interiors with the 500 has been the monchrome sea of plastic. the new dark dash and doors adds contrast and the grain is a bit nicer. the plood is nicer and there's a bit more chrome. the leather has always been decent but now you can get perforated. The steering wheel is even a bit nicer. Even just the change to a textured and patterned insert above the armrests is HUGE.

The vue out the hood is nicer too because its been reshaped and doesn't stand up so much. the antennae was moved off the front fender. yay! it gets struts under the hood now instead of a prop rod.

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Interesting..I'll have to test drive one....

10k might be a bit high...but if the news from Ford cars stays good-I can't see why it couldn't get to that mark...

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it is quieter inside the cabin, but not tomb quiet like a Lexus. The Outlook was even quieter inside. You still get tire 'ka-thump' over harsh expansion joints and still some tire whine, but the really tiring high pitch whine seems to be muted. A good deal of improvement, but its no buick inside yet, i don't think.

my 500 has Pirelli tires and I will never buy those pice of crap tires again in my life. total f-ing garbage. The sales guy even said people have been bitching a lot about the Pirelli's that came on the 500. The SEL Taurus i drove had something else I think, they felt like they had a less stiff sidewall and the turning response was not as direct.

The shift quality was ok, but not as quick or clean as the Aura or Outlook. The manual shift mode with paddles of the Aura is greatly missed. The Taurus is programmed in typical Ford fashion to wait quite a bit before it downshifts and it does not allow very quick revving like the Aura does. Funny since its the same tranny I think. I also think the tranny short shifted and did not seem to want to operate in the meat of the powerband.....that was reminsiscent of my 99 SHO. My seat of the pants said this was maybe a 6.8-7.0 second 0-60 which sucks because I had hoped it would be within a half of a second of the Aura and Maxima. I would basically fire Ford's powertrain engineering staff, or whoever is in charge of transmissions because they basically don't know how to set it up to make it responsive to aggressive driving. The front wheel drive taurus is still not overly heavy so its not too much to ask for them to set this thing up like the wonderful Aura......power all over, lightning quick smooth shifts. I am sure Ford does it this way for EPA testing and durability issues but in this day and age you gotta wring out everything you can out of a motor.

Come to think of it, i saw an MKz test that was around the 7 second mark, so i would use that as a basis to confirm that that is where it will likely end up. Dammit.

At least from launch, it's a lot easier to get it going and smoother and quieter. That alone is a welcome reason to switch to this car over the 500.

The suspension didn't seem that much different than the 500. I think they have some work to do with this car from making softer initial compliance. There is an initial stiffness in the suspension that really makes it seem less compliant than it actually is. The funny thing is the 500 doesn't have major roll stiffness in turns. I didn't wring the Taurus out to test its cornering prowess. Steering effort at low speeds was supposed to have been improved..the 500 is very stiff to turn the wheel at start. The Taurus maybe had improved a bit, but I wonder if it wasn't the different tires as much as anything.

Passing power did seem improved as well, although you find it odd that the 500 with the tiny duratec actually has good passing power to start with. The Taurus has quicker kick down and greater reserves that would seem much more suited to dangerous two lane roads.

The antenna has been moved off the front fender and the hood lowered and resculpted. It's a big improvement. Makes the car feel like less of a boat.

The airbag cover is a much less in your face shape, it really is nice to have it recessed more now. The steering wheel itself is leather covered and thick and meaty.

The new plood is a huge improvement over the plood in my 500. It has a natural gloss level to it and the pattern is not as loud. It compliments the charcoal dash nicely. The charcoal dash was used to get rid of the glare problem so many 500's had with the tan dash shining up. It seems to do the trick and looks way richer and better to boot.

I get the feeling that this car would benefit greatly from an SVT team job on the steering and suspension and adding the twin force v6 with paddle shifters as an option would so rule. The chassis is rock solid and deserves a winning effort in the suspension department.

i think braking was the same.

struts replace the prop rod to hold up the hood.

Edited by regfootball
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I saw one during the trim. I give it a solid "meh"

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Drove one today.

only got time for a quick post first.

Yes, it's improved. Successful improvements in some areas and in other areas I wonder if the effort was enough. Overall, I would be happy to get one to replace my 500 soon, although I am not sure it doesn't keep me from looking at some other vehicles.

Most notably, the extra horsepower I did not feel as much as you think a 30% power increase should feel. For example, I also drove an Outlook again today and gosh if the Outlook didn't feel peppier at times. Credit typically poor Ford transmission programming for the car not fulfilling its potential.

The interior of the Taurus is VASTLY improved, even with only simple changes. Credit going to a black dash and doors and some added chrome and some textured door inserts. The car I drove had cloth seats, too, which I liked a lot.

Quieter inside, noticeably, although still not as quiet as I expected.

The car looks quite a bit sleeker with the new lower and less upright front end, the fender vents, reshaped hood, door spats, removal of side molding, and iced taillights. Its a really nice look. I can say that with a straight face.

The MSRP was like 27 grand, entirely affordable and very nice for the MSRP. Maybe not as good a value as the Aura....but it has a lot more usability and space than the smaller midsizers.

Based on the test drive, i stick to me statement that they will increase sales over the 500 by 50%. I might go so far as to say they will even double them now. It's improved at least enough for me to say that.

Removal of the side door protection molding was the single worst thing they did to this car IMO. It now looks taller and even more ungainly, plainer and more generic than ever and many used 2007's on dealer lots look like dent kings or fat womans butt's which totally ruins the look of a car for me. If anything Ford would be wise to offer it as an option at least like Toyota is doing with the Camry/Avalon, Chevy with the 2008 Impala or Chrysler with the Sebring/ Avenger and 300/Charger. This way those that like the plain look and don't mind door dings can have there way and guys like me can have ours!

Good write up other than that. I'm surprised the new 3.5 wasn't a lot faster than the old noisy 3.0 liter. Maybe it needs to break in or Ford has to work on the 6 speed programming more. Those would be my only issues with this car but it does offer a lot of room and HP for the money.

Edited by ponchoman49
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Removal of the side door protection molding was the single worst thing they did to this car IMO. It now looks taller and even more ungainly, plainer and more generic than ever and many used 2007's on dealer lots look like dent kings or fat womans butt's which totally ruins the look of a car for me. If anything Ford would be wise to offer it as an option at least like Toyota is doing with the Camry/Avalon, Chevy with the 2008 Impala or Chrysler with the Sebring/ Avenger and 300/Charger. This way those that like the plain look and don't mind door dings can have there way and guys like me can have ours!

Good write up other than that. I'm surprised the new 3.5 wasn't a lot faster than the old noisy 3.0 liter. Maybe it needs to break in or Ford has to work on the 6 speed programming more. Those would be my only issues with this car but it does offer a lot of room and HP for the money.

don't judge the redo until you see it in person. the new 08 taurus looks sleeker, lower, and less flabby in person. In black in particular it looked hot.

the door modling thing is tough these days. so many cars have different height doors and beltlines it doesn't do you any good to have moldings anymore. for example, if the wind catches my aztek door and flies open, the part that hits your car and leaves a big red gouge is going to be way above the beltline and the part of my door that hits it is more like a pointed edge in the sheet metal crease that no molding is wide enough to stop anyways. the plastic saturn doors were the only way around this but the media banished those because of the 'panel gaps' issue.

I hate the moldings on my 500. hate em. ugly as sin. I love the new look with the clean sides and the door spats at the bottom. It's a very subtle 'ground effects' look. The spats were put there with standard wheel wheel mud guards because some early 500's had paint degradation on the bottom of the doors from debris. The spats and moldings fix that.

Edited by regfootball
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by the way, this car KILLS all trims of the impala, except for the SS. and even then the SS is a flabby floater, albeit with a small block under the hood. there really isn't any advantage the impala has over the taurus now.

Edited by regfootball
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