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.
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.