Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
As the company’s flagship sedan, the 2013 Ford Taurus is bigger than its old rivals the Accord and Camry, with lots of room inside and lots of power under the hood. Yet, despite it size, the Taurus is remarkably athletic in the turns, especially when wearing the fabled SHO badge, and equally easy on fuel.
You'll Like The 2013 Ford Taurus If...
If you like the solid feel of a full-size vehicle, but want something more modern and maneuverable than an old-fashioned SUV or wagon, the 2013 Ford Taurus is worth a test drive. Lincoln-like luxury features plus the performance-oriented SHO trim place this car in a league well above the average family sedan.
You May Not Like The 2013 Ford Taurus If...
Purists will decry the Taurus’ lack of a proper V8 engine, while those who like smaller cars with better outward visibility and a more airy interior may find the 2013 Ford Taurus to be a bit claustrophobic. Those seeking maximum fuel efficiency will be happier in a Ford Fusion Hybrid or a Hyundai Sonata.
For 2013, the Ford Taurus receives a mild exterior freshening, with a new grille and headlight treatment, new wheel designs, and larger LED taillights. A new EcoBoost 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is offered, delivering V6-like performance and 32-mpg highway fuel economy. New features include an available heated steering wheel.
The Ford Taurus’ interior can easily carry five passengers, although we think four would be more comfortable. Up front, available massaging seats help negate leg and back fatigue on long drives and can also be climate controlled to provide both heating and cooling. Most of the Taurus audio and navigation controls can be operated via buttons on the steering wheel or by voice command. Further separating itself from the pedestrian family sedan, the 2013 Taurus offers such upscale options as automatic high-beam dimmers, Adaptive Cruise Control, BLIS (Blind Spot Information System), and a power sunshade for the rear window.
Compared to most sedans, the Ford Taurus is far from being in the norm. It’s a tall sedan, with wide doors and a low roof, and a steeply raked windshield and rear window. The Taurus’ large rear deck creates a vast 20-cubic-foot trunk capable of carrying a week’s worth of luggage or two golf bags, and the low liftover makes it easy to get things in and out.
The 2013 Taurus takes the full-size sedan to new levels, delivering a smooth, quiet and comfortable ride, with the adept handling and driver feedback usually found in a more enthusiast-oriented car. Credit for the Taurus’ excellent driving dynamics goes in part to "torque vectoring" and "curve control" modules. These systems use very slight brake force applied at specific wheels to improve the car’s steering when moving rapidly around tight corners. From the driver’s seat, we found the sightlines to be better than expected, but the wide B-pillar located just over the driver’s shoulder and thick front and rear pillars somewhat hindered our view to the side. Fortunately, the Taurus’ exterior mirrors are a vast help, as is the optional "BLIS" system that warns of objects too close to the vehicle’s side when changing lanes. Ford’s new 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine has no problem delivering power with no perceptible turbo lag.
The 2013 Taurus has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $27,000 for the SE trim, around $29,500 for the mid-level SEL, close to $34,000 for the Limited trim, and right at $40,000 for the high-performance Taurus SHO. All-wheel drive adds about $1,850 to the price tag, while the 2.0-liter EcoBoost is another $1,000. A nicely equipped Limited runs about the same price as a V6 Hyundai Genesis. To get the best deal, be sure to take a look at the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what consumers in your area are currently paying for their Ford Taurus’. We expect the 2013 Ford Taurus to hold its value better than previous versions, easily outpacing residual values for the Chevrolet Impala, falling slightly behind the Chrysler 300, and landing well below the Toyota Avalon and Hyundai Azera.
Included on the 2013 Taurus’ list of standard equipment are a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power driver’s seat, steering-wheel controls for audio and cruise control, power windows with one-touch up/down functions for the driver, and Ford’s programmable MyKey system. The standard audio system is a 6-speaker CD player with an auxiliary audio input jack. Standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, electronic traction and stability control, dual front airbags, front-seat-mounted side airbags and side-curtain airbags protecting both the front and rear passengers.
Many of the high-tech features offered on the Taurus are typically reserved for more expensive luxury cars. Among the more interesting options are seats with massage function, automatic high beams, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and adaptive cruise control with collision warning. Other options include heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, Intelligent Access with push-button start, a power rear sunshade, power adjustable pedals, the SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment system (standard on Limited and SHO), and a 12-speaker premium Sony audio system. On the safety front, the optional Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) alerts the driver when other vehicles are in his blind spots, while Cross-Traffic Alert warns of approaching traffic when you’re backing up.
2.0-LITER ECOBOOST ENGINEFord’s turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine cranks out 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque (that’s more torque than Ford’s standard 3.5-liter V6), yet attains an impressive 32-mpg highway figure.FORD’S MYKEYThis system can be used to restrict vehicle speed, limit audio system volume and control other functions when a specific key is used to start the vehicle. In effect, MyKey lets parents better control the driving habits of their children, even when they aren’t along for the ride.
Under the Hood
All 2013 Ford Taurus trims start with a 288-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Optional on front-wheel-drive (FWD) models is the new 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder. The Taurus SHO offers 77 more horsepower than the standard Taurus V6, thanks to the use of direct-injection technology and twin turbochargers. With the exception of the SE trim, all Taurus models also feature steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, providing manual control of the transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is optional on both SEL and Limited trims and standard on the Taurus SHO.3.5-liter V6288 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm254 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/29 mpg (FWD), 18/26 mpg (AWD)2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4240 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm270 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpmEPC city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 mpg3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (SHO)365 horsepower @ 5,550 rpm350 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,250 rpmEPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg
Once a competitor to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the 2013 Ford Taurus now plays in a class occupied by larger, more luxurious cars like the Toyota Avalon and Chrysler 300. The Taurus offers a choice of powerful engines, including a fuel-sipping, turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cylinder and a twin-turbocharged V6. The Taurus’ base engine is a normally aspirated V6 that, unlike the EcoBoost engine, can be equipped with all-wheel drive (AWD). Ford’s 2013 Taurus is highly functional, but its aggressive looks, tall shoulders and somewhat restricted rearward view may not appeal to more conservative shoppers. However, if those shoppers are also technology geeks, the Taurus’ long list of communication and connectivity hardware may quickly force a change of heart.