A CAR FOR ALL SEASONS
The 2013 Ford Taurus line
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Thu, Mar 22, 2012
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Roy Nakano It’s the car that saved Ford in the 1980s. It’s also the car that CEO Alan Mulally brought back to life when he joined Ford to turn the car company’s fortunes around once again just a few years ago. For 2013, Ford has invested considerable effort to make sure its bread and butter Taurus keeps its class-leading status. LA Car had an opportunity to evaluate the new line during a recent press preview in Portland, Oregon. Portland in March may seem like a less than idea time and place and show off your new goods, particularly if the new goods are cars. And, indeed, this press preview was met with more than its share of rain and snow. It turns out, however, to be a perfect setting to show off some of Ford’s all-season capabilities.
The new car benefits from the addition of torque vectoring control. This feature uses a slight amount of braking force on the inside front wheel when accelerating through a corner, resulting in a vehicle with more control when increasing speed through the curves. For a big car like the Taurus, the feature manages to make it feel like a smaller and more maneuverable vehicle. The new Taurus also adds curve control, a Ford braking control feature aimed at slowing the car if it senses a driver inadvertently entering a curve too quickly. With application of four-wheel smart braking, the car can reduce speed swiftly. Ford says that entering curves or on- and off-ramps too quickly contributes to more than 50,000 crashes each year in the U.S. Notwithstanding the weather in Portland, we are happy to report that none of the journalists contributed to that statistic during this short lead. All Tauruses now come with electric power-assisted steering (EPAS). EPAS improves steering response by speeding up the steering ratio and rigidly mounting the steering rack to the subframe. The EPAS system allows for a high degree of tuning to optimize steering feel, plus it saves fuel and—if done right—provides drivers with enhanced feedback. Our time behind the wheel of the Taurus leads us to believe that Ford got it right in this area. One attribute of EPAS that we immediately noticed was that the car stayed planted in the lane even if the street exhibited a high crown in the center of the road.
While Taurus press coverage tends to gravitate to the high performance SHO model, many of the improvements for 2013 are across the line. Consequently, consumers considering a Taurus for the day-to-day commute will benefit from the changes. In the Oregon preview, we got behind the wheel of an all-wheel drive Taurus and found it to be a pleasing driver. Despite taking the long trek from the Pacific coast through winding roads to Portland in rain and snow, the drive was fatigue-free. Great seats and a great ride contributed to this. The all-wheel-drive worked unobtrusively to keep the car firmly planted, even with the less-than-ideal climatic conditions.
UNDER THE HOOD 2.0-liter EcoBoost® engine The 2013 Taurus is the first car in Ford’s North American lineup to offer the advanced 2.0-liter EcoBoost® engine. Ideal for full-size sedan buyers seeking maximum fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance, this advanced engine combines direct injection of gasoline and a turbocharger to provide performance comparable to naturally aspirated V6 engines offered by competitors. It’s a route that Audi, BMW and Mercedes have taken with their bread and butter sedans, so the Taurus is in good company.
The EcoBoost® 2.0-liter is anticipated to deliver an estimated 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque while delivering highway fuel economy of at least 31 miles per gallon. Ford is happy to point out that its performance bests Toyota Avalon by three miles per gallon. A relatively high compression ratio is enabled by the use of direct injection of gasoline, operating at fuel pressures from 2,200 to 2,800 psi. The unique turbocharger is optimally matched to the EcoBoost® 2.0-liter engine and direct injection system, providing precise fuel pressure control to deliver boosted power at low rpm without the turbo lag associated with boosted engines of lesser designs. Ti-VCT 3.5-liter V6 engine There’s a new base engine in the SE, SEL and Limited Taurus in the form of a 3.5-liter V6 that benefits from twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT), achieving better fuel economy, more horsepower and a reduction in part-throttle emissions compared to the previous standard Taurus V6. Ford expects this engine to deliver an increase of two miles per gallon on the highway, and 10 percent more horsepower than the previous model. To maximize durability, the engine has chain-driven camshafts, high-strength forged metal connecting rods with floating pins, a fully counterweighted forged steel crankshaft, die-cast aluminum deep-sump oil pan and four-bolt main bearing caps with side bolts through the engine block. Ford tackles noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics through the employment of a tuned composite upper and lower manifold, and a silent-chain camshaft drive.
EcoBoost® 3.5-liter V6 engine The EcoBoost® 3.5-liter V6 that is standard in the high-performance Taurus SHO carries over from the previous model. Admittedly, it needed no changes. This engine produces peak torque across a broad plateau, from 1,500 to 5,250 rpm. Peak torque building quickly off idle ensures responsive acceleration. Combining direct injection and a pair of turbochargers, the V6 EcoBoost® engine avoids lag by employing impellers that spool up quickly for swift response. This Taurus SHO combination of power, consistent torque delivery, all-wheel drive and up to 25 mpg on the highway leaves it in a league of its own. TRANSMITTING THE POWER For 2013, each Taurus engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission for added performance and fuel economy. The lower gearing optimizes off-the-line acceleration, and the higher gears help provide economical cruising by keeping engine rpm levels low. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost Taurus is fitted with a new 6F35 gearbox featuring active transmission warm-up and a “dot nozzle” internal clutch friction material configuration. Together, these innovations contribute to overall fuel efficiency by reducing internal friction, according to Ford. Tauruses equipped with the 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine features the 6F50 six-speed transmission, while the Taurus SHO sport sedan matches a high-capacity 6F55 version of this gearbox to the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. Each Taurus powertrain features additional technologies to help conserve fuel, i.e., low-tension front end accessory drive belt, smart battery management, deceleration fuel shutoff, a variable-displacement air conditioning compressor and reduced friction lubricants.
INSIDE LOOKING OUT There’s a big push to go green, and the new Taurus is no different. The interior makes extensive use of recycled material in the cloth surfaces, in the headliner and in the NVH control components. Taurus seat cushions are made from soy-based foam, significantly reducing petroleum-based content. The 2013 model has Ford’s next-generation SYNC® with MyFord Touch®, which replaces many traditional buttons, knobs and gauges with voice activation, LCD screens and steering wheel-mounted toggles. The screens can be tailored to display information relevant to each driver by using voice command, keeping the driver’s eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. MyFord Touch is powered by a new version of Ford’s SYNC system, combining voice control for vehicle functions, enabled Bluetooth® devices, MP3 players and a wide variety of external media. Comfort and convenience technologies in the new Taurus include: Heated steering wheel, multi-contour seats with Active Motion™ (which helps reduce driver and first-row passenger fatigue with a subtle rolling massage pattern). Intelligent Access with push-button start (allows the driver to enter the car and start the engine via push button simply by having the key fob in his or her possession), Auto high beams (employs a sensor to switch headlamps to high beam when no oncoming traffic is detected), rain-sensing wipers, rear view camera, rear window power sunshade. In addition, Taurus is available with a wide variety of audio and navigation connectivity alternatives including a Sony® audio system and the latest MyFord Touch driver controls.
SKIN DEEP The Taurus was completed redesigned in 2010, but Ford has made some significant changes for model year 2013. The new Taurus features a more muscular hood. Wider wheels and tires fill out the wheel well openings, giving the car an athletic stance. Rear quarter panels house larger, full LED taillamps. Without increasing overall dimensions or vehicle weight, the new Taurus looks more streamlined, substantial and sporty. Ford says exterior build quality has been improved through the employment of digital pre-assembly. According to Ford, this technology enables engineers to address potential issues in Taurus manufacturing while still in the online phase and ensures precise, uniform surface gaps and margins once series production is initiated. Inside, the Taurus has expanded the use of soft-touch materials. Upgraded materials across the instrument panel, throughout the center console, cloth-wrapped A-, B- and C-pillars, and fully trimmed trunk space are also evident. NVH control has been enhanced in the new Taurus with the addition of A-pillar, cowl baffles, acoustic wheel well liners, shock tower wraps, and upgraded hood and dash insulators to quiet road noise.
HIGH TECHNOLOGY The new Taurus offers a bushel full of driver aid technologies, including: • Adaptive cruise control employs radar technology to monitor traffic up to 600 feet ahead, automatically adjusting Taurus speed to help maintain a safe distance • Collision warning with brake support, enabled by adaptive cruise control, provides a “heads-up” visual warning combined with an audio signal to alert the driver to slower moving traffic ahead. The system also precharges the brakes to aid stopping • Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) is designed to alert the driver if another vehicle is driving within a potential blind spot • Cross-traffic alert, enabled by BLIS, senses and warns the driver of oncoming traffic from either direction when the Taurus is backing out of a driveway or parking space • MyKey® owner controls feature allows parents or fleet administrators to activate restricted driving modes. MyKey can limit top speeds and audio volume, provides earlier warnings and prevents deactivation of stability control systems. A new MyKey feature can prevent access to blocked satellite radio content “We have significantly upgraded Ford’s flagship sedan through obsessive attention to detail,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “This evolved Taurus builds on the transformation we achieved in the 2010 model.” The new Taurus is manufactured at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant and goes on sale in the spring of 2012. For more information about Ford products, go to www.ford.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2013 Ford Taurus Prices: $26,600 (base SE) $28,800 (SEL) $33,000 (Limited) $39,200 (SHO) EPA fuel economy rating: TBD (EcoBoost® 2.0L) 19 city/29 highway miles per gallon (Ti-VCT FWD) 18 city/26 highway miles per gallon (Ti-VCT AWD) 17 city/25 highway miles per gallon (SHO EcoBoost® V6) Engines: 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected, variable valve timing EcoBoost® four-in-line, 240 horsepower, 270 pound-feet of torque 3.5-liter twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) V6, 288 horsepower, 254 pound-feet of torque 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged, EcoBoost® V6, 365 horsepower, 350 pound-feet of torque Transmission: Six-speed SelectShift® automatic with sequential manual mode