A disclosure: I debated about evaluating this Taurus. After a tumultuous five seconds of mental wrangling, I determined reporting on it may provide practical insight for those in the car market. While this is a 2011 model, the 2015 models are still highly related.
A second disclosure: The reason for my first disclosure is my parents own this particular car. This isn’t stopping me from being candid in my thoughts about it; in fact, their observations reflect living with it and are highly insightful. My opinionatedness on late model cars seems to run in my DNA.
When the article about the cars of my father ran in June, I concluded that his 2007 Ford Five Hundred had been a bit of a disappointment and speculated it would soon be going away. I was right; this is the car that soon replaced the Five Hundred.
Back in July, the older sister of Tom, a friend of my parents, died quite suddenly. An email one night from Tom stated he needed to sell this 2011 Taurus as part of his sister’s estate. A few days later it was parked in my folk’s garage. It had 26,000 miles on the odometer.
In other words, this Ford is much closer to new than is the typical five-year old Taurus.
Equipped in SEL trim, this Taurus is motived by the standard twenty-four valve 3.5 liter V6. For 2015, Ford’s website advertises it as having 288 horsepower.
Sitting on a 112.9″ wheelbase, the Taurus is not a small car. In fact, I recently took this picture of a similar Taurus sitting next to a Toyota pickup and noticed there wasn’t a great deal of difference in height between the two. While an interesting contrast, let’s just say the overall height of the Taurus is 60.7″.
As a comparison the height of a 1975 Ford LTD is 54.3″ and people typically think of it as being a rotund pig. This is just an observation.
Climbing inside I was presented with an item that I have oft criticized in newer cars. Why, I even took a picture of my leg next to this item to show maneuverability and the physical size of this item. While I had expected it to be as unpleasant and intrusive as a proctological exam, I quickly had a profound realization.
While the console (like many contemporary consoles) is an insidiously corpulent engulfment of interior real estate, Ford got this one right. I knew this console was only slightly smaller than, say, a 1975 Ford LTD, but this console is dished out to actually make room for one’s leg. I drove this Taurus all over town, up hills, around curves, at both high and low speeds. Never once did this console make any encroachments upon my person.
As far as consoles go, this one isn’t too bad. Who would have thought?
Driving this car is where it all comes together. The naturally aspirated 3.5 liter is a very good match for the 3,900 pounds of this Taurus. My father said he is truly appreciative of its low end torque as it rarely requires a downshift when climbing hills, especially at highway speeds – quite unlike the 3.0 liter in his old Five Hundred. Their fuel economy in this Taurus has been in the mid-20s and far superior to that of their now sold Five Hundred.
The ride is terrific regardless of pavement type or condition.
In writing reviews, I approach it from the standpoint of having to live with the subject car in ordinary everyday situations for five to seven years. How many g’s it can pull on a skidpad, the number of pistons in the brake calipers, and whether the SYNC system (as this Taurus is equipped) can bluetooth connect to my iPhone while tethered to my iPad so I can Skype Mrs. Jason are all rather pointless.
It’s the little things that can make or break one’s enjoyment of a car. With the ignition switch on the dash, it’s highly visible and easily accessible. It seems as if it’s becoming more common (Chevrolet had similar on the ’00 to ’05 Impala, and I’m wanting to say I’ve had a rental or two with it) and it’s a nice touch. My father likes the placement as it’s more conspicuous at night.
The only downside is his keys rub this crease. Some may find this an irritant; my father won’t care until the keys rub a hole in the plastic and short something out. Then he’ll sell it.
The interior of the Taurus is very comfortable and quite inviting. It’s understandable why my parents chose to buy the car. However, my father has experienced a repetitive issue with the design of the interior.
My father will be 72 in December and at 5’7″ he isn’t the tallest likely driver of a Taurus. Like me, he likes to adjust the seat toward the high end of its range; unlike me, age has started to interfere with his range of physical motion. With the seat adjusted to his preferences, it has prompted him to hit his head on the door frame multiple times upon exiting the car.
Getting into the driver’s seat of this Taurus was the first time in over a quarter-century I haven’t had to adjust a seat after my father vacated it. At my height of 5’11”, I had to slouch to prevent connecting my head with the top of the door jamb. Again, this is an issue that any prospective buyer will need to evaluate for themselves.
As a far-flung example on accessibility, my paternal grandmother is ninety-four. She refuses to sit up front if my mom and dad are together as she believes married people should be in the same seat. Having broken her hip this last May, navigating her legs around door frames, door sills, and body curvature for entry into the backseat is a convoluted affair for her. However, the overall height of the Taurus plays well to her physical limitations as plopping her posterior onto the seat cushion has been drama free.
It remains to be seen how well my mother does with ingress and egress after her knee replacement later in December. With my being able to pinpoint over a half-dozen extended relatives over age 90, this Taurus will be taxiing a lot of geriatrics.
My mother has only one complaint about the car. When asked about it, she said the inside rearview mirror, combined with the rake of the windshield, creates a blindspot in one’s viewing area. She said on a recent excursion she nearly hit a car that was hidden by the rearview mirror.
Mrs. Jason had the very same complaint about the rearview mirror in a Dodge Charger we once test drove, which completely killed her interest in the car.
Both my parents love the trunk with its twenty cubic feet of space. Opening the trunk did result in being reunited with that red and blue blanket which has likely been around since the late 1960s. I vividly remember napping on that blanket as a child and my sister habitually wrapping herself in it, claiming she was going to marry her Mr. Potato Head. It has since traveled many hundreds of thousands of miles in various car trunks. It’s made of some fabulous material which wears like iron.
Would I buy a Taurus? Had my budget been bigger last year when car shopping, I might have looked at a Taurus. Overall, it is very comfortable with decent power and respectable fuel economy. For my parents, it fits them better than did their Five Hundred and it is leagues better than the pile of rubbish 2001 Taurus I once owned. Overall, I’m glad to say I was woefully wrong with a few preconceived notions about the Taurus and I thoroughly enjoyed driving it. My daughter will be driving in a number of years, so I may have to ask myself the purchasing question again someday.