- The Washington Times - Friday, July 10, 2009

This is not your father’s Taurus — or anything even remotely like it. This is the completely new 2010 Ford Taurus with sleek, athletic body styling, a long list of new high-tech safety and convenience features, and the right hardware to make driving a genuine pleasure.

That might sound too good to be true, but after spending two days with the car and the Ford team that developed it, the news is good. Still considered a family sedan, the 2010 Taurus is aimed more at drivers who place a premium on the driving experience and technologies aimed at making time on the road more meaningful and fun.

Inside, a forward-leaning center stack is home for the climate controls, audio components and navigation screen. It flows in a continuous unbroken form through the instrument panel and down into the center console. This clever design allows for the interior to be formed in unbroken lines without seams.

To match its more athletic look, the new Taurus features sportier driving dynamics. It comes standard with Ford’s Duratec 3.5-liter V-6 engine, producing 263 horsepower and 249 lb.-ft. of torque, and comes paired with a choice of two new six-speed automatic transmissions. The Taurus SE offers a six-speed automatic transmission with a grade-assist hill-holding rollback prevention feature.

The SEL- and Limited-series Taurus models come with a six-speed SelectShift automatic that has shift control paddles mounted on the steering wheel for a manual shift mode that gives the driver complete control over gear selection. The SelectShift transmission enables “match-rev” downshifts and will hold manually selected gears.

The SE and SEL come with a 2.77-to-1 final drive ratio, while the Limited series uses a 3.16-to-1 ratio in front-wheel-drive models and a 3.39-to-1 ratio in all-wheel-drive models to provide enhanced acceleration.

Chassis and suspension components have been tuned to optimize roll stiffness for cornering control and responsive steering and handling while maintaining a comfortable ride quality.

Tech-savvy customers will find plenty to like. Adaptive cruise control allows the driver to set the vehicle’s cruising speed while using radar technology to monitor traffic up to 600 feet ahead, automatically adjusting speeds to help maintain a safe distance between vehicles.

The Collision Warning System is a new safety feature that uses a radar sensor to detect moving vehicles ahead and provides a visual and audible warning when slower-moving traffic is detected. The system also pre-charges the brakes and engages its brake-assist system to help the driver stop more quickly, but it does not apply the brakes like some other available systems.

Push-button Start is a new Taurus feature that allows the driver to enter the car and start the engine by simply carrying the fob. MyKey, on the other hand, allows parents or fleet administrators to activate a restricted driving mode that includes limits on audio volume, preventing top speeds above 80 mph and speed chime warnings at 45, 55, or 65 mph.

The auto-high-beams feature uses sensors to switch headlights to high intensity when no other vehicles are detected, in a range of up to 500 feet for taillight detection, and up to 2,000 feet for oncoming headlight detection. Rain-sensing wipers use an optical sensor to detect the intensity of rain and/or snowfall to adjust wiper speed.

The Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) consists of two multiple beam radar modules. When an approaching vehicle enters the defined blind spot zone, an indicator alert provides warning to the driver in the corresponding side view mirror.

Cross Traffic Alert uses the existing BLIS radar modules to sense oncoming traffic when slowly backing out of a parking spot. This system functions only while the vehicle is in reverse and warns when cross-traffic appears within three car widths.

Available this summer, the new Taurus starts at $25,170 for the SE and tops out at $37,170 for the ultimate Taurus, the SHO.

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