Gadling gear review: the 2010 Ford Taurus

No dear readers, you didn’t stumble onto Autoblog – this is still Gadling, your favorite travel site. In this review I will indeed review the latest Ford Taurus. But first, let me explain why a car is being reviewed here. Back in August, Ford approached me and asked whether I’d like to take their latest Taurus for a one week test drive.

Now, I’ve never reviewed a car, so I was initially a little hesitant. I’m not a huge car fan, and I couldn’t immediately see a link between this car and travel. But when Ford explained all the new technology they added to the 2010 edition, I instantly realized that this car could be the perfect road trip vehicle. So, here are my observations from driving the 2010 Ford Taurus for a week.

If you are reading this, expecting to read about its engine, or how fast it’ll go around the Gadling test track, I’m going to disappoint you – I only looked at the road trip friendliness of this vehicle.

The basics are pretty normal. I got the 2010 Taurus AWD Limited. Getting a car for a review is pretty cool, someone from the local review pool firm called me, dropped the car off, and drove off in a second waiting vehicle. As soon as I saw the car, I was actually pleasantly surprised – this did not look like the Taurus I had expected. It looks sporty, one might even describe it as “cool”.

Inside the Taurus, the “cool” factor continues. This model comes equipped with almost every gadget you can think of; adaptive radar controlled cruise control, heated and cooled seats, flappy paddle gearbox, electronic memory seats, Microsoft SYNC system, satellite radio, Bluetooth carkit, variable color interior lighting, heated rear seats, keyless entry, seat massage feature, keypad unlocking, MyKey system, power adjustable pedals, rear power sunshade, blindspot indicator system, Sony speaker system and dual climate control.

Unlike how I normally treat gadgets, I actually read the manual for about 20 minutes before taking my first drive in the car.

As I mentioned – there isn’t much I can say about the engine or other mechanical features, but as someone who does quite a bit of driving, I found the Taurus to be very pleasant to drive. It has enough “zip” to pull away nicely, and it handles and corners quite comfortably. That is about the extent of my vehicle knowledge to explain how it drives. Thankfully, my gadget skills can now take over.

The gadgetry inside the 2010 Taurus is impressive. The dash and controls are well designed, and the steering wheel has buttons to control the radar assisted cruise control, phone and the radio. That cruise control is something worth some extra attention – Ford added the radar assisted cruise control as an option to the 2010 Taurus, and after a little practice, I started to really love it.

The system uses a radar under the grille to determine the distance to the vehicle in front of you. When cruise control is enabled, the system keeps a close eye on the distance, and will slow down your vehicle when the distance starts to decrease. At first, it is very scary to use it – but then you realize that it knows exactly what it is doing.

Another safety feature comes from the Ford MyKey system – you can assign one of the keys to a young(er) driver, and limit what they can do with the vehicle. Speed is limited to 70, and the radio won’t work until everyone is buckled in. Small things like this show that Ford put some thought into keeping drivers safe.


There is no shortage of entertainment in the 2010 Taurus. The Microsoft SYNC system allows for audio from the following sources:

  • FM Radio
  • AM Radio
  • Sirius satellite Radio
  • Line in jack
  • USB audio connector for iPod, Zune, USB flash drives and other compatible players
  • Bluetooth stereo streaming audio

The USB audio was very easy to use – I tested it with the Microsoft Zune and a 4GB flash drive, and it worked flawlessly. The same goes for the Bluetooth audio streaming. I paired the car with my T-Mobile MyTouch, and as soon as I got in the vehicle, it started streaming music from my phone.

Sadly, in the version of the car I tested, the display was just a 2 line screen, a version with a larger display is available.

Despite the small display, you can still access a navigation menu – the Microsoft SYNC system is pretty smart – instead of relying on a whole bunch of navigation electronics in the car, the car actually calls Microsoft, allows you to tell them your destination, and then sends the directions back to the car, all using your phone. Obviously, this isn’t as seamless as a full navigation solution, but the few times I used it to find an address, it worked perfectly. The only downside is that it had to call Microsoft whenever it had to recalculate my route.

Other interior features

Fans of buttons won’t be disappointed in the 2010 Ford Taurus. The experience starts with the keyless entry – you simply unlock the vehicle, and as long as you are within a couple of feet of the dash, you can start it by pressing a button. Despite all the buttons and knobs, operating the car is pretty simple. The radio takes a little getting used to, as it operated on a combination of buttons and a selection knob, and things like pairing your phone may take a little practice.

The inside is quite roomy, though I kept getting annoyed by the design of the center console – it has several little compartments that help make it all look nicer, but just get in the way.

The rear of the vehicle is also pretty spacious, and features a large armrest in the middle.

Final thoughts

This was actually more fun than I had expected – it is obvious that I know little about cars, as I was actually stopped 5 times by people around me asking if this “was the new Taurus?”. I did not know this was such a highly anticipated car. I even had one current Taurus owner ask if he could take a quick drive with me – so I ended up driving a stranger around the block while he fiddled with the knobs ooo’ing and ahh’ing over the SYNC system.

For roadtrips, this really is a fantastic vehicle. It has all the entertainment you could need (except for rear seat DVD). It is comfortable, powerful and extras like the adaptive cruise control make for a safe ride.

Of course, all this fun comes at a price – the version I tested was just under $37,000. This is obviously still less than a comparable German car, but I can’t help feel that it is rather high. Still, I handed the car back after a week feeling sad that I couldn’t keep it longer, and went back to my trusty minivan. Ford managed to make a car that impressed me, and that takes a lot of effort.

Detroit, home of the Uniroyal Giant Tire

Interstate I-94 East from Ann Arbor, Michigan to downtown Detroit is a monotonous drive. Low-rise housing complexes, mall parking lots and the Detroit Metro airport pass you by on the mostly flat route, snaking its way towards the heart of the Motor City. But if there’s one weird landmark you’re not likely to miss along the way, it’s Detroit’s very own Uniroyal Giant Tire, rising more than 80 feet above the roadway.

This giant disk of premium rubber has been greeting Detroit-area commuters for more than 40 years. First built in 1964 as a monument for the World’s Fair in New York, the tire was originally a working Ferris wheel which could hold 96 riders. After the Fair’s conclusion the wheel was moved to its current home along the interstate. It’s been confusing and delighting motorists ever since, suddenly rising into view like a celestial hubcap sent from the heavens above.

It’s fitting that Detroit, a city that has long staked its reputation on the auto industry, would have such a landmark. But perhaps these days, with all the doom and gloom that’s been forecast in the state of Michigan, it’s become more a ghostly reminder of glory days past than a symbol of Detroit’s hopes for renewal. Still, for anyone who’s ever driven that flat road East towards Detroit, it’s a much needed symbol of whimsy and pride that never fails to make you smile.

On the road with the Lincoln MKS

When Ford contacted us about taking Lincoln’s new MKS out for a test drive, I thought that they had the wrong website. Autoblog, our sister site, takes care of all things automotive, and they would certainly be better equipped to handle a test drive. And in addition to being an airplane person, well, I’m not a very good driver.

But they made a good point: everyone on Autoblog has seen the MKS a dozen times and travelers go on road trips too. The content is just as valid. Further, since I was driving across the state of Michigan several times for Easter weekend I had ample time to test the vehicle out. So I agreed to take a look. But I made no promises about editorial content.

For those (myself included) among us that are not in the vehicle testing circles, I first have to comment on the kick of getting a test vehicle delivered. A third party company in the greater Detroit area handles the entire transaction, calling you before delivery and dropping off the vehicle wherever you want. They came to my office one sunny morning with a Mercury chase car and a pleasant woman tossed me a set of keys, asked me to sign a form and disappeared within five minutes. I was left with a bright red MKS for the weekend to do with as I pleased. Road tripping across Michigan over several days seemed like a good opportunity to acquaint myself.


As luxury vehicles go, the MKS has all of the amenities that one comes to expect: a smooth, quiet ride, powerful V6 engine, heated and cooled comfortable, leather seats, wood trim, push-button starting and embedded navigation. Where I was surprised was in the features above and beyond.

Microsoft Sync is installed in the vehicle, and navigating though the touch screen AV system I was easily able to link up my iPhone via it’s Bluetooth link. Thus, for the duration of the trip when someone called the phone in my pocket the music automatically turned down and the call when through the speakers. Similarly, if I wanted to make a call I just pressed the talk button on the steering wheel and annunciated “DIAL” etc etc. Audio quality was decent, and I only lost one caller who happened to be inside of the noisy Detroit Metro Airport.

In fact, much of the interior control was handled from the steering wheel, including adjustment and selection of the MP3 audio system that I was constantly grazing about. It’s a nice feature that many manufacturers overlook.

Though hardly necessary, there is also a backup camera and very sensitive parking system that automatically beeps with increasing intensity as you approach a stationary object. This makes parallel parking a breeze, though it’s strange getting used to looking down instead of behind you when backing up.

Part of the MKS features I learned from the simple transition from my Audi TT – that is, the complete opposite in suspension and handling. Pulling onto I-94 on my maiden voyage to Buffalo Wild Wings, I got up to cruising speed and proceeded to start messing with the navigation. Only when my passenger pointed out that I was driving 95MPH did I realize that I was speeding – I had assumed my normal “comfort speed” as tuned to the TT on the expressway. That same vibration and feel was 20 MPH faster in the MKS.

Of the road trip? I enjoyed seamless navigation, an excellent ride and ultimate comfort as I drove from Ann Arbor to Kalamazoo to South Haven to Flint to Detroit in a head turning, modern car. My weekend couldn’t have been spent in a better piece of machinery. Oh and about the bad driver comment? I was lucky enough to get through the entire state without getting any speeding tickets or bumping into anything. My girlfriend? Not so lucky.