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2010 Ford Taurus SEL and 2010 Ford Flex SEL test drive

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Had to beat the deadline and do my auto show test drive to get my 50 bucks.

So i went to my local Ford dealer last saturday.

Considering I just bought the cobalt, and really should be getting out of my Taurus X for financial reasons, I really wasn't shopping cars. Just wanted the 50 bucks.

But i hadn't driven an 010 Taurus yet. I had driven a Flex once, but very briefly and it was AWD. I have had a Ford 500 and currently the Taurus X so its kind of like dating your girlfriends sister or cousin or mom. "It's all going to feel the same". IYKWIM.....LOL.

I really wanted to test the more basic trims because if i do buy again anytime in my life that would be the trims I'd probably get. I would have loved to have shredded a SHO or an Ecoboost flex but i didn't want to violate someone else's future nice ride.

This particular dealer has a very short and restricted test drive loop so i really couldn't beat on it, or slalom with it, or cruise at high speed for a long time. That, coupled with the familiar feel meant I was just searching to find the unique flavor in these more recent P90 variants.

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In particular, the difference of the 010 Taurus to my old 500 or just about any other vehicle, is striking. The car feels larger and more substantial than the 500 or heavy Taurus X. Partly this is due to the high sill on the side windows, which actually i was fine with. Its not as confining as the LaCrosse as far as the windows (although the console and dash are more confining in the Taurus). The rear window is a mailslot though. The old 500 had exceptional visibility. The view out the back of the 010 Taurus is marginal. Fortunately, the view out the front is good. The interior itself is a unique automotive cocoon. It feels solid and substantial and swoopy with the curve of the console sweeping up into the dash. I really liked the new interior aside from the visibility issues. The center stack is awesome. I liked the controls. The removal of the center storage atop the dash sucks though. The gauges are really nice. Non leather steering wheel felt great except it lacked leather and of course was thin. Ford needs to move their SWAC up where the thumb wants to be and make them rock up and down, not side to side. I liked the paddle shifters but the car downshifts for you in M mode anyways, WTF? Rear seat space has not been compromised so much like others say, it was too big on the 500 to begin with. Seats felt a little soft and lacking support. No surprise since the target audience is blue hair baby boomers and toyota defectors.

Interior quality I felt was really good. A few hints of cheapness here and there but there is so much heft and detail in the design that overall the impression is you get more than you paid for. MSRP was about 28,000, price was around 25 OTD.

Power was good. Moved out nicely but didn't slam you into the seat or leap off the line with torque steer. brakes average. car felt REALLY BIG. Sort of like a luxury tank. Not as lively as I assume a 3.6 LaCrosse would be, although the tranny banged out shifts a little quicker than the 3.0 LaCrosse does. I will go on record saying that the LaCrosse has sharper steering, and a firmer ride. The Taurus is a big comfortable soft tank. Not as soft as the Lucerne. Nor is it a floater. But the Taurus is what I term the ultimate new age cruiser. If you want a little bit more involvement and maybe even a slightly quieter and smoother car, the LaCrosse has an edge (no pun). LaCrosse's motor is more aurally pleasing. Both have equally dramatic interiors. The huge trunk on the Taurus or optional SHO or generally better value vs. pricing may just tip the scale in favor of the Taurus to some.

(the new Regal interior after seeing it this weekend may indeed be a little better to a lot of folks than either the LaCrosse or Taurus but clearly the LaCrosse and Taurus are going foot to foot in a larger car market).

So overall I liked the Taurus and I obviously like Ford's products on this platform. Its a nice evolution of their large products and it feels worth more than its price. Its comfortable and solid and stylish. Provides great utility also. The car needs a better ride steering and handling setup on the non SHO models.

Overall, because I feel it nails basic virtue, I give it an A-. Taurus SEL compared to the LaCrosse CX I drove before I would probably call a draw. Personal preference. My only comment is that the LaCrosse felt more lively and had some better ride, steering, and handling. Interior quality of the LaCrosse was maybe just a bit shy of the Taurus. Really, similarly equipped, the two cars are potatoe, pototo.

I would encourage nearly anyone I know to put the Taurus on their test drive list if they want a large, comfortable, high value car, just like I would the LaCrosse.

Edited by regfootball

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Thanks for the review. My 2010 Taurus brochures came in the mail today. Maybe I can rent one on one of my weekend trips this summer.

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For the Flex, my point of reference is the Taurus X I already own, and the GM Lambdas.

When i bought my T-Rex, the Flex had just came out, and my impression of it then is the same as now. Where the Taurus X felt more agile and car like, the Flex felt a little more like a bus, larger, and a little slower with the reflexes.

Same still holds true. The Flex drives comfortable and solid. Its not a floater, in fact, its ride is stiffer than the Taurus. Its just big and heavy. The FWD does help on acceleration, it was a little quicker than the AWD Flex i remember driving. It's also noticeably less quick than the 010 Taurus. But it was entirely good and non deficient for a huge crossover with standard rear air and all the space. I would guess if you 0-60'ed it it would be 8.5-8.9 seconds and probably a full second or tish more slower than the 010 Taurus.

What's offputting to me is the feeling of driving a bus. while having some sort of drug induced flashback. It just is slightly creepy inside the Flex from an interior design standpoint. Materials and assembly quality are all really good except the seat cloth is an afterthought. Seats were REALLY comfy. I love the newly added tilt AND telescope on the steering wheel. center stack is logical and nicely laid out just not up as high as in the Taurus. Head room is IMMENSE. A pillars are like COLUMNS in your view. Everything is BOXING DAY because its so boxy. All the heft and solidity of the Taurus, and then some. Its like an heirloom piece. Visibility is insanely good and almost like no other vehicle in its class.

Cargo, seating, and storage space are more than my T-Rex. The big question is how it compares to the Lambda. More in a bit.

Not a fan of how the door wraps under on the bottom. Damage waiting to happen. It's inevitable.

Tranny shifted smooth. Flex is extremely quiet. Rear air standard. You can drive 1500 miles non stop in this thing, and still hit the dance floor when you get there. You just get that feeling.

It really is a better travel vehicle than my Taurus X. Its remarkably unique from it while being similar at the same time. I would give the nod to the Flex, its just more suited to full crossover duty.

The Flex's main GM competition are the Lambdas. I have driven a few of those. It's been awhile. Where does the Lambda stack up vs. the Flex?

Surprisingly I would rate both equally capable on hauling people. The Lambda has the wider third row which may be the deal maker if you want an 8 passenger. Third row in the Flex is extremely comfy for two though. Second row comfort on the shape of the seats may go to GM but the Flex has more legroom and foot space. Overall I think the second row goes to Flex. You just sit more naturally. Front piers are equal just that GM's sit higher. Interior design is your choice, although a tiny edge in material quality i would give to the Flex. The Acadia or Traverse have more typical interior designs even if their door panels have more cheapness.

With no clear advantage on seating, it does seem clear that the cargo area of the Lambdas have advantages in size and width and perhaps even flexibility. The load height of the Flex being lower and the well behind the rear seat may be handy for some, but the higher load height of the Lambdas some consider nice as well.

I would probably say that in base FWD trim the Lambda would feel quicker and more sprite. The Lambdas always felt a little ponderous to me, even if they have a decently firm suspension and sort of sharp steering. They just feel like there is too much weight, and the visibility is not as good. While the Flex feels heavy too, it doesn't advertise it as much. Maybe because its a little softer, and a little slower. More composed.

If I had to pick, I think I would really appreciate the extra capacity of the Lambdas. However, something like a twin turbo v6 really could make me sway to the Flex. As could the 'unique' exterior. To own a traverse or Acadia would not feel unique. To me this one is a draw, it hinges on your styling preference, price and options, and what I consider a trade off between second row seat comfort of the Flex (and lower seating overall) and the cargo carrying and 3rd row advantages of the Lambdas. the lambda 2nd row seat does slide out of the way a bit easier too. and the hatch gets out of your way more easily on the Lambdas too.

Really, too close to call.

In base SEL FWD form I probably would give the Flex a B+ although I would really want to give it an A- for solid overall virtue. The seat cloth and slight lack of cargo space dings it a bit for me. Just as I would give say an Acadia or Traverse a B+ for poor second row footspace and occasionally ponderous feel.

Really, too close to call. Pick which one you like, both are great options.

Thanks for the review. My 2010 Taurus brochures came in the mail today. Maybe I can rent one on one of my weekend trips this summer.

it would EAT miles. Perfect long distance car. Just a little soft is all. No pretense of being a sporting sedan at all. Maybe that's ok! Get a LaCrosse if you want a little bit of liveliness.

BTW, Fusion feels like junk compared to both of these bigger Fords. I bet an MKs with ecoboost is really nice.

Edited by regfootball

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Having just taken a new Flex SEL FWD for a test drive myself yesterday, at my soon new place of work, similar review...and I loved the thing. Sometimes it's hard for me to get the "right fit" but it was great from first sit to cruising down the road. Really strong performance, actually, or at least peppy, new Ford tank solid, beautiful interior & electronics, etc. I wanted one.

If only a 5-seat, shorter version...oh yeah, the new Explorer. But I still like the Flex, from look to 7 seats to drive most. Need to try a new Taurus, too, but I like sitting higher so that's the one car demerit.

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i tested a routan minivan last weekend and it felt huge and clumsy in comparison to the Flex, but likewise, the Taurus X in my garage feels a little more nimble compared to the Flex.

Yet the Flex in general is one of the more nimble crossovers. In terms of refinement for a family vehicle, its exptremely high. Also, the seating position is still quite a bit lower than most. Its just the high roof tends to exaggerate things when you are inside.

Funny how the Flex' 2nd row is way more comfy than the Caravan descendants.......or even the Lambdas for that matter.

Edited by regfootball

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