I had the pleasure of driving a 2011 Ford Taurus Limited twice last week courtesy of Budget Car rental…
Then heading out on a pair of 400-plus mile trips. I’m here to report the Taurus kept me entertained, comfortable and safe.
Let’s take a closer look.
The 2011 Taurus was my favorite at the Greater Kansas City Auto Show earlier this month. Ford resurrected the Taurus in 2010 with a bolder exterior design. The new Taurus body style, compared to the very popular early 2000 model, is five inches longer, four inches taller, three inches wider and it stands out in a crowd.
No more plain jane body style. The 2011 Taurus is a head turner both when parked or hurtlling down the highway.
The Limited model comes with 19 inch wheels and tires. It’s 3.5 liter V6 roars like a lion but the car rides like a cool, cool cat on the highway. I had to turn down my IPod a couple of times on my solo drive south to remind myself I was actually driving.
The higher height makes getting in and out of the 2011 Taurus easy. You don’t feel like you need to brace yourself and then fall in. I settled into the comfort of the driver’s seat on my first long drive and felt like a pro at the controls on my second trip.
The front passenger seats in the Limited model move forward, back, up & down, have lumbar support are heated and cooled. Yes, cooled. So no chance of burning your ass off in shorts or sweating like a pig in your business suit during the summer with its leather seats.
There’s a memory button for drivers Numero Uno and Dos that sets and resets the seat settings, steering wheel height and depth, brake and gas pedal height and depth and the angle of the outside mirrors. Pretty cool.
The memory button is just one more way of keeping harmony at home when your spouse kidnaps your ride.
The Taurus seats five, two in front and three in the back. It has enough trunk space for extended road trips. And yes, I think it’s even big enough for an all-girl trip (meaning at least one more suitcase per person for added outfit changes and of course the all-important shoes).
"Dang, the back seat is huge."
That’s a direct quote from the 10 year old car kid living in our house.
On one road trip, I had skinny ass Mike D in tow. Mike D did not dress for the trip north and got a little chilled. So on the ride back, Mike D turned his seat heater to high and kept it cranked to the max for 196 miles until we got back to KC.
Gotta be a record.
The gauges are all within easy reach and Ford has a spiffy, new Ice Blue trademark lighting system for the dash instruments. There are LEDs with seven colors to fit whatever the mood that illuminate the front and rear footwells, door handles and all-important cup holders.
The steering wheel is loaded with buttons to help control your speed and the media. Not Hearne or Greg or Kelly, the car’s audio and information systems. The Limited edition has a Sync system for hands free control of the music and your cell phone. My rental included a number of pre-programmed Sirius Satellite radio stations.
When cruising around with the 10 year-old in back, I commented on the old-school, non-digital, multi disk CD player. At which point the mouthy car kid quickly reminded me that Grandpa uses his all of the time. Right.
The 2011 Taurus comes standard with six airbags, AdvanceTrac Electronic Stability traction control, ABS brakes, rain sensing wipers and projector beam halogen headlights. The Limited Edition I drove had a rear-facing camera that came on every time I put the car in reverse. The left half of the rearview mirror was the monitor.
This feature is a huge help when backing into tight spaces or being able to see small objects behind the vehicle.
I backed into a tight parking spot with the assistance from both the audible warnings and video monitor which made me feel like a Hollywood stunt driver for a few moments. Very few.
The 3.5 liter V6 was pretty good on gas. I averaged 22 mpg combined highway and some in city driving on trip one. And 25 mpg on my second trip which was mostly highway. On each trip I used cruise control as much as possible set at 70 or maybe slightly higher (wink).
There are four Taurus models. The base model SE starts at $25,000 and you can grow into the high perfromance SHO with every bell and whistle in the book for a cool $37K.
The bottom line:
*** Curb Appeal – Four out of Five Lug Nuts
*** Comfort – Five out of Five Lug Nuts
*** Gauges – Four out of Five Lug Nuts
*** Safety – Five out of Five Lug Nuts
*** Gas Mileage – Three out of Five Lug Nuts
*** Price – Four out of Five Lug Nuts