Owner drive: 2013 Ford Taurus Limited in the UAE
The Ford Taurus is a bit of an oddity in the market. It’s not an obvious choice for most, and given that its direct competition includes the well-regarded Dodge Charger, you’d be forgiven for dismissing the Taurus altogether. However, the Taurus is aimed at a far more niche market than the Charger.
Ford would have you believe the car is aimed at people who simply enjoy driving large cars, as opposed to looking for a practical large family car. A quick peek at the interior, particularly the rear seats, would reveal why they’d say such a thing. Despite its long length, its wheelbase is much smaller than the Charger’s, so the interior of the Taurus is what you could call “snug”. Rear leg space is nowhere close to the best in its category; that being said, it is still tolerable for even tall passengers to sit in for a couple of hours.
So the Taurus isn’t the sportiest, nor is it the most spacious in its class –- what purpose could a car like this possible serve?
After 22,000 kilometres with our car, the answer becomes clearer. The Taurus doesn’t aim to snatch away customers from the Charger. This is, for all intents and purposes, a bonafide cruiser to replace the prehistoric Crown Victoria. You’re cocooned in comfort and you don’t have to work the Taurus very hard to get going, although more spirited driving will ensure you’ll be at your wit’s ends trying to contain its excessive weight.
Starting off with the interior, assuming you aren’t claustrophobic, it’s an incredibly inviting place to be in. I particularly love the sporty cockpit feel, the way the dashboard waterfalls into the central tunnel and surrounds you with soft-touch plastic. It’s a massive upgrade from the hard plastics of the previous model, although it’s still a messy patchwork of panels, with very few clean lines. Customisable ambient lighting adds some sophistication, and external noise is kept out very well, although the 20-inch wheels add a bit of tyre roar not present on smaller wheel options.
Ford’s MyFord Touch SYNC system comes standard on SEL models and above, with an 8-inch screen, while the base SE comes with a more basic version of the system with a 4 inch screen. Our Limited features the premium 390W Sony sound system with 10 speakers and 2 subwoofers, which is decent for the most part, and goes pretty loud, but mid-ranges can be annoyingly muddy. Connectivity options are generous, with an SD card slot, two USB ports, Bluetooth and RCA inputs available. The notorious touchscreen system has received a few updates recently that improve the stability, but it’s still too finicky to be in a vehicle. The customisable instrument cluster screens perform flawlessly though.
When it comes to driving the Taurus, there are plenty of driver-aids on the Limited trim to make your life easier. In particular, the rear-view camera is an absolute necessity, as the tall boot combined with the miniscule rear window make for utterly horrendous rear visibility. On the positive side, you never notice when you’re being flashed by the Land Cruiser behind you. Blind-spot indicators on the mirrors, adaptive cruise control and collision warning systems all combine to make your daily commute down Sheikh Zayed Road a breeze.
Being based on the rather ancient Volvo-derived D3 platform, more spirited driving tends to strain the limits of the Taurus. You’re constantly reminded of the sheer weight of this thing, and even though the electric steering is well weighted, it’s not very communicative, as is typical of most electric steering. None of this helps with driver confidence. However, the engine delivers superb mid-range power and the 6-speed automatic transmission is responsive and well suited to the engine. Unfortunately, the rocker-switch for shifting gears manually is dismal, and paddle shifters are sorely missed. Fuel economy is surprisingly good, averaging 13.5 litres/100 km in city driving; highway driving can lower that figure further.
So far, while an unusual choice of car, the Taurus has proved to be pretty solid and affordable to run, thanks mainly to free services every 10,000 km, up to 60,000 km over 3 years. However, the dealer is very eager to push unnecessary extra services like an engine flush at a mere 20,000 km. Aside from inconvenient service-centre timings and some customer-service gripes, owning this car has been a pleasant experience.
Photos by Jude Niroshan Abeyeratne.