Throughout the history of the automobile, every now and then a new model would come along that stood out from the crowd-the Ford Taurus was certainly one of those. The Ford Taurus was revolutionary and it changed the entire American automotive industry with its new and exciting aerodynamic look that was soon to become ubiquitous within the industry.
The First Generation was between 1986 and 1991. The Taurus began as a mid-size sedan between 1986 and 2007. It was so popular that it sold over 2 million units by the end of its first generation. The 1986 lineup for the Taurus included the L, MT-5, GL and LX. The L was the basic model and offered only the basics and it came with a 2.5L HSC four-cylinder engine that offered 90hp with the option of the Vulcan V6 that offered 140hp. The MT-5 was made to compete with the Japanese market and was available with a 5-speed transmission and a 2.5L, 4-cylinder engine that offered 90hp. View Taurus Inventory
The GL offered standards such as a folding armrest, electric windows and locks and rear headrests. It came with the Vulcan V6, 3.0L engine that offered 140hp as did the top of line LX. The LX came standard with unique features such as body cladding, cornering lamps, automatic climate control, luggage convenience kit, and a premium sound system. The Taurus Wagon was offered with the same trim packages respectively. The MT-5 Wagon was discontinued in 1987 and in 1988 the MT-5 was discontinued.
In 1988 the Taurus SHO (super high output) debuted and it was built by Ford's team of designers who created the Ford Mustang SVT Cobra. It housed a 3.0L, 182 cubic inch 24-valve DOHC engine that made 220hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. It was exclusively mated to the Ford MTX-IV transmission. For a Taurus, this SHO could go.
The Second Generation was between 1992 and 1995. The lineup included the GL, and LX models as the L model was discontinued. The LX Wagon came with a 3.8L Essex V6 and the Essex was optional on all Taurus models. In this generation, the manual transmission and four-cylinder engines were replaced by the automatic V6.
The exterior of the Ford Taurus gained a new look and the interior was completely redesigned; the Taurus re-emerged as longer by a few inches and heavier by a few hundred pounds. It offered a newly designed radio that could be easily accessed by drivers without taking their eyes off the road; this was a great safety feature.
A passenger side airbag was added which was a first for a mainstream sedan and this became standard in 1994, making the Taurus the first in its class to offer dual front airbags. In 1995, a new SE model was added to the lineup which would be a step up from the base model GL. The SE came standard with a floor-mounted shifter, front bucket seats, a center console and a rear spoiler; the SE was never offered as a wagon.
The Third Generation was between 1996 and 1999. The Taurus had a completely new look. The lineup included the GL and the LX. The GL offered nice standard features while the LX could be dressed to the nines. During mid 1996, a new base model "G" was added the lineup. The new look and shape of the Ford Taurus was developed by Ford's chief designer at that time, Jack Telnack, who said that he wanted it to "stand out to sedan buyers," and he likened it to being as comfortable and easy as "a pair of slippers." Some believed that the oval-shaped Taurus was designed to mimic Ford's blue oval logo.
The new Taurus offered upgraded exterior features such as chrome accents on the LX model that came with chrome dual-exhaust tips and optional chrome alloy wheels. The user-friendly interior now appealed to a more upscale audience with a slightly wrapped-around cockpit area that made everything accessible and easier to view.
A new flip-fold center console was added to the bench seat models that had a storage bin and cup holders, and bucket seat models offered a traditional center console with a floor-mounted shifter. In 1999, production of the Ford Taurus SHO was halted.
NASCAR saw the introduction of the Taurus in this generation when it replaced the Ford Thunderbird. The Ford Taurus was the first sedan that was approved by NASCAR for competition and #88 Dale Jarrett was the first to drive it and win the Winston Cup (presently Sprint Cup) championship. Greg Biffle, #60, won the Busch Series (presently Xfinity Series) championship with the Taurus. The Ford Taurus went on to win two Busch Series championships and three Winston Cup championships.
The Fourth Generation was between 2000 and 2007. The Ford Taurus lost its oval shape in this generation and it became more sophisticated with sharper lines and less defined curves. The back windshield was less slanted, making more headroom inside the newly revamped cabin and more storage space in the trunk. The lineup beginning in 2000 consisted of the LX, SE, SE Special Value Group, and the SE Comfort. In 2001, the SE Special Value Group and the SE Comfort were renamed SES and SEL and in 2005, the SES and LX were dropped.
Interior changes included inviting woodgrain accents around the power window and lock deck in the front doors, and an updated steering wheel was embellished with woodgrain accents. In 2003, to celebrate Ford's 100th anniversary, a Ford Taurus Centennial Edition was available with many unique extras to include nicer wood trim, special wheels, premium leather seats, headlights with black accents, and the owner's manual came in a leather storage jacket engraved with "Ford's 100th Anniversary Edition."
In 2006, the Taurus Wagon was discontinued. In 2007, the Ford Taurus was no longer offered to the general public and was only available as a Fleet vehicle. This was due to declining sales.
The Fifth Generation was between 2008 and 2009. In 2008, the Ford Five Hundred prototype was renamed as the Taurus which was strongly influenced by Ford CEO at the time, Alan Mulally. Mulally believed in the Taurus brand recognition and its place in history it had earned as the iconic family sedan. The demise of the Taurus did not go over very well with the public because-gosh-darn-it-people just wanted their Taurus back! The Taurus was reintroduced as a full-size sedan in this generation and it offered an all new body style and interior. The new lineup consisted of the SEL and the Limited. They could be had in front wheel or all-wheel drive. The newly designed Taurus offered a spacious, plush interior, and a cavernous trunk which was even larger than that of the Crown Victoria.
Tall adults could enjoy plenty of leg room in both front and back seats. There were all kinds of cubbyholes and storage for stuff, and it featured eight cup holders throughout. It also offered a 60/40 split rear bench and front passenger fold-flat seats which would add nine feet of room to carry thing around as needed.
Full power accessories, woodgrain interior, cruise control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, CD player and a leather wrapped steering wheel made the base model something special. If you opted for the Limited, you would get 18-inch wheels, leather interior, dual-zone automatic climate control, front seat heaters, driver's side memory seating, and a cool analog clock. Options included a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, satellite radio, Ford SYNC, a navigation system and a moon roof. Talk about making a strong comeback!
The new Taurus also offered a 3.5L V6 that gave you 263hp and 249 lb-ft of torque with a six-speed transmission that was offered on all trim levels. In 2009, the Taurus added stability control and a new SE model was added to the lineup.
The Sixth Generation began in 2010 to present. The Taurus was carried over as a full-size family sedan and the lineup included the following: The SE, SEL, Limited and the long awaited return of the Taurus SHO was available again. The SE was standard with steering wheel audio controls, keyless entry and SecuriCode entry pad, a 60/40 split folding rear seat, automatic headlights, and full power accessories.
The SEL offered an automatic transmission with paddle shifters, satellite radio, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Options for the SEL included rear parking sensors, SYNC, ambient lighting, a power passenger seat, and leather upholstery. All of the above options came standard on the Limited model which also offered driver memory functions along with a premiere stereo system with a six-CD/MP3 player.
The Taurus SHO had a rear spoiler, xenon headlights, sport-tuned suspension, keyless ignition/entry, premium leather seats with faux-suede inserts, and you could opt for a sunroof, remote ignition, a 12 speaker Sony stereo system, multi-contour massaging seats, adaptive cruise control with a collision warning system, blind spot warning system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, cooled or heated front seats and heated rear seats, auto-dimming exterior driver mirror, a navigation system, rear window power sunshade, an internal hard drive that offered 10GB storage for digital music, and Sirius Travel Link.
If you still wanted more, there was more to be had. You could further opt for 20-inch wheels, a rearview camera, recalibrated steering, performance brake pads, stability control defeat, and yes, there was even more if you wanted it. The SHO came with a 3.5L twin turbo-charged V6 EcoBoost engine which made 365hp and 350 lb-ft of torque and it had a six-speed transmission with standard shift paddles. The Taurus SHO was only offered in all-wheel drive.
For 2011, the Ford Taurus Limited and SHO added a standard rearview camera and if you opted for SYNC you were given a complimentary three-year subscription for real-time weather and traffic updates. The navigation system now offered HD radio. In 2013, the Ford Taurus had a minor exterior facelift and added more perks across the board to all models as well as incorporating the newest technological advances available to date. A new heated steering wheel was added along with an interactive gauge cluster.
Also in 2013, the Taurus came with the MyFord Touch system that had an 8" screen, a new Sony sound system, multi-contour massaging seats, and push button start. It also housed more power under the hood with its standard 3.5L Duratec V6 that now produced 288hp and 254 lb-ft of torque. You could also opt for the newly available turbocharged 2.0L EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine that made 240hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. The SHO remained the same. In 2014, the Ford Taurus offered a Driver Assist package that included lane-keeping assist.
For 2015, the Ford Taurus offered the SE, SEL, Limited and SHO. The SE offered integrated blind spot mirrors, LED tail lights, SYNC voice controls and Bluetooth connectivity. The SEL offered many new options to include the MyFord Touch, and expanded SYNC functionality. The Limited offered heated and ventilated eight-way power front seats, and leather upholstery along with many upgrades to include automatic high beams, rear cross traffic alert, automated parallel parking system, collision warning with brake support and numerous stand alone options. The SHO remained sporty and plush with all the Limited's creature comforts and a powerful engine.
As of April 2016, the Taurus remains unchanged except for technological updates. The Ford Taurus is offered in the following models: SE, SEL, Limited, and SHO. Ford's new SYNC 3 now replaces the MyFord Touch system.
Will there be a 2017 Ford Taurus? It's easy to find out by visiting Cherokee Ford Lincoln on Mansell Road in Alpharetta, Georgia where you can most likely get the inside scoop. The Ford Taurus has been such an integral part of American culture since it first hit the road in 1986. It is an iconic automobile, and those who love it, simply just do. It has won more awards from more critics than you can shake a stick at.
If you are a Taurus owner, come show us your Taurus; bring it by and share your story. If you are interested in a new or new-to-you used Taurus, we have them. You can reach us from GA 400 and Mansell Road. We are near North Point Mall, the Encore Park Verizon Amphitheater, and the Mansell Road Humane Society. We are also near Sandy Springs, Milton, John's Creek, Duluth, Norcross, Gainesville, and beyond.