The Ford Taurus is available in SEL and Limited trims for 2008. Both can be specified with front-wheel drive or with a road-oriented all-wheel-drive system, and both come with a new 3.5L V6 engine making 263 horsepower and 245 lb-ft of torque, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The combination brings impressive fuel economy for a large car, with EPA ratings of 18 mpg city, 28 highway.
The Taurus has an unusually versatile interior for a sedan. The back seats are split 60/40 and fold flat to expand the cargo floor, and the front passenger seat will also fold flat, to accommodate narrow items up to nine feet long.
Standard conveniences on the SEL include air conditioning, leather shift knob and steering wheel trim, tilt steering, and remote keyless entry. The Limited model steps up to bright-finish alloy wheels, perimeter lighting, heated power folding side mirrors with memory, front heated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-disc CD changer for the audio system, and woodgrain trim.
A wide range of safety features are included in the Taurus, such as driver and front passenger side air bags, Safety Canopy side-curtain bags, and anti-lock brakes. A new steering wheel design now positions the driver's front air bag farther away. AdvanceTrac electronic stability control is available.
Sync is now standard on the Limited and optional on the SEL. The new system responds to voice commands and permits an easy, hands-free interface for a variety of cell phones and portable entertainment devices, such as iPods, Zunes, and other media players, either through a USB cable or wirelessly via Bluetooth.
Other major options include adjustable pedals, a power moonroof, a navigation system, a DVD entertainment system, Sirius satellite radio, a reverse sensing system, and remote start.
The Ford Taurus, formerly called the Five Hundred, gets a more powerful, 3.5L "Duratec 35" engine for 2008, along with a new six-speed automatic transmission. The new powertrain combination gets a nearly ten-percent fuel-efficiency improvement over the previous setup.
There's a slightly different look to the Taurus, with a new three-bar chrome grille, more sculpted hood, and new front fascia, plus new taillamps and dual chrome exhaust tips and more brightwork all around.
For 2008, a new sound-deadening material called Sonosorb has been installed in doors, pillars, and headliner; there have also been some structural improvements, and the climate control system is 50 percent quieter than before. The suspension has been tuned for more travel and a softer ride, and the engine is now mounted on isolating hydraulic mounts for smoothness. For safety, a new steering wheel design helps bring the front air bag farther away from the driver.
Also, the much-hyped Sync voice-activated, hands-free communication and entertainment interface is a new option.