Ford wants you to believe the 2012 Ford Taurus
is smart, but it's still more State College than prestigious University. And that's okay, too, because the Taurus redesign in 2010 shows how grown up it is since it went away to college. Inundating the driver with technological safety acronyms and all the newest hip electronic features, the Taurus is more than just competent, on most days it's kind of good, too.
All four trim levels return for 2012, the more-than base SE, refined SEL, fully-equipped Limited, and the jock of the group: the SHO.
Prices begin at $25,555 for the SE, $27,755 for the SEL, $32,155 for the Limited, and $38,155 for the SHO, less taxes and fees.
For the most part, the 2012 Ford Taurus is well-behaved and well-received, packed full of usable features with a roomy, comfortable, and at times, sporty drive and above-average fuel economy.
The SHO adds twin-turbo performance, all wheel-drive, and a six-speed automatic transmission you can shift yourself, albeit with finicky paddle shifters. Regardless, it's a confident option to the more expensive imports.
Body style: Five-passenger, four-door, sedan
Engines: 3.5 liter 24-valve DOHC V-6, 3.5 liter twin-turbo 24-valve DOHC V-6
Transmissions: Six-speed automatic, Six-Speed automatic with paddle shift
Models: Ford Taurus SE, SEL, Limited, SHO
Not much has changed since the 2010 new model, but the 2012 Ford Taurus comes standard with Ford's new Sync voice activated entertainment and communications system. Added to the 2011 color palette is a new ginger-ale metallic hue. And there's also a new integrated blind-spot sideview mirror at each door to aid the driver's peripheral vision. No bad news is still good news, right?
Aside from the new ginger-ale metallic hue, the 2012 Ford Taurus's exterior remains unchanged from 2011 models. It still looks juiced and competent, but not aggressive. Stylish 19- and 20-inch painted luster nickel aluminum rims sit beneath slightly-flared front fenders; the handsome three-piece chrome grill returns, as does sporty molded body panels. The SHO EcoBoost can be identified by raspy twin-tip exhaust snarl and subtle badging. More changes are coming for the 2013 model year.
Controls in the 2012 Ford Taurus are neatly assembled. There's a dual-zone climate control, auxiliary jack for tunes, plenty of storage and serene ambient lighting. Ford's MyKey allows a parent to set a speed limit for their young-driving children, and of course, standard on all trims is the new Sync voice activated communications and "infotainment" system. The wheel is meaty and the seat cushions, made from a concentration of soy foam to reduce "petroleum-based substances" are flat and cushy, perfect for a long commute.
Performance & Handling
No one will mistake the 2012 Taurus for a fire-breathing track warrior, but in the real world, and despite the pedestrian suspension settings, the non-SHO models have adequate power around town and on the highway. Front-wheel drive comes standard on base trims and rides with a bit of understeer when pushed.
The standard 3.5-liter Duratec V-6 provides 263 horsepower and 249 lb.-ft. of torque, certainly enough to surprise and pass most traffic. Straight-line performance is solid good, not great, and the Taurus goes from a standstill to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds.
If you're into a more NASCAR'ish ride, then the SHO's sport-tuned suspension, all-wheel drive and twin-turbo EcoBoost engine is for you. It puts out 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel it from 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds.
Safety -- and the perception of it -- are key features to the full-size Ford Taurus. There's available AWD to prevent spin in slippery conditions, adaptive cruise control and collision warning, AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, front and side curtain airbags, an available rear camera and Ford's SOS Post-Crash Alert System, all carryovers from 2011 models.
EPA Fuel Economy
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
SE: 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway
SEL: 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway
Limited: 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway
SHO: 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway
- Rooting for the home team
- Surprising power and fuel economy
You Won't Like
- Bland Styling
- Lackluster steering
- Finicky paddle-shifters
The 2012 Ford Taurus is a competent and mature sedan.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Toyota Avalon
- Nissan Maxima
- Hyundai Genesis sedan