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2010 Ford Taurus SHO – “It’s Back and Better than Ever”

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Filed under Automotive, Featured, Ford, Test Drives

The first time I tested a Ford Taurus SHO back in the early 1990’s I was so enthralled with the car that I picked up my wife and drove it 850 miles to Monument Valley, Utah.

I just picked up the all-new 2010 Ford Taurus SHO and I am so impressed that I wish I could drive the SHO to the moon, that’s how much it has been improved since the last generation.  Today’s Taurus SHO is so much more substantial and luxurious.

The new Taurus SHO delivers on the authentic sleeper sedan formula but adds all-new luxury appointments, convenience features and technologies to an unsurpassed balance of power and fuel economy.  This new sports derivative answers enthusiast’s calls for a premium Ford flagship with more attitude.

The foundation of the new 2010 Taurus SHO is a 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine.  This advanced powerplant generates 365hp at 5,500rpm and 350lb.ft. of torque from 1,500 to 5,200rpm, resulting in significantly improved power, flexible torque and fuel economy compared with larger, normally aspirated V8 engines.  This also is Ford’s most powerful EcoBoost engine.

A key feature of this EcoBoost engine is gasoline direct injection.  The direct injection of fuel into the cylinder during the intake stroke, as opposed to port-style injection to an externally mounted intake, produces a well-mixed air-fuel charge.  Fuel vaporization during the intake stroke cools the incoming air, improving volumetric efficiency and lowers the likelihood of knock.

The results are improved throttle response, reduced cold start emissions characteristics and improved fuel economy.  The cooled charged enables an increased compression ratio, improving efficiency at partial load, while the higher compression ratio allows for better volumetric efficiency under full load engine behavior.  You will experience normally aspirated V8 power without compromising V6 fuel economy.

The 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6 also uses twin turbochargers and twin water intercooler, as opposed to a single unit.  The reduced size of each turbocharger results in reduced internal inertia, allowing this advanced engine to avoid the ‘turbo lag’ often prevalent in earlier-generation turbocharged applications.  From the driver’s seat, the rewarding result is linear power delivery across a broad torque band from 1,500 through 5,250rpm.  Peak torque building quickly off idle ensures responsive acceleration from a standing start and a big push on your back as you accelerate quicker than you think.

The quick acceleration of the 365hp engine is enhanced with a 6-speed automatic with manual shift and all-wheel-drive.  SelectShift provides conventional operation or a manual shift mode that gives you complete control over gear selection.  For performance-minded drivers, paddle shifters mounted on the steering column allow ‘match-rev’ downshifts and will hold manually selected gears for precise control.  Intuitively operated, a squeeze on either paddle will deliver an economical upshift under acceleration, while a gentle push forward brings a smooth downshift, synchronizing the engine and transmission speeds for more response and positive engagement.  It is smooth and well engineered.  You’ll really enjoy the dual personality of the 6-speed SelectShift.

Also enhancing acceleration is the unique SHO driveline that is contemporized with the incorporation of a sophisticated All-Wheel Drive System that engages automatically and unobtrusively.  The unit contains an advanced array of internal electromechanical clutches to efficiently distribute torque to the wheels with optimum traction.  Standard all-wheel drive allows the SHO to efficiently deliver its high performance to the pavement under a wide variety of conditions.  With all four wheels turning during a hard launch, the new SHO can accelerate out to 60mph from a standstill in just 5.0sec.  That’s very fast for a full-size sedan.

The Taurus SHO fully independent suspension and steering have been sport-tuned to give enthusiast drivers more precise control, confident handling, excellent communication and a very compliant ride over rough road surfaces.  The Taurus SHO features an advanced electric power assist steering (EPAS) system that provides response road feel and enhanced on-center balance while offering the additional benefit of increased fuel economy.  The sport-tuned suspension has uniquely tuned shock absorbers, springs, stabilizer bars and strut mount bushings specifically developed and harmonized to deliver the highest level of Ford DNA road holding, cornering agility and steering responsiveness available in a Blue Oval full-size sedan.  Keeping everything up front rigid and tight is a thick strut tower brace.

Taurus SHO takes full advantage of the multi-link SR1 rear suspension design.  Named for its 1:1 shock absorber ratio, this configuration provides an inherently stable baseline for the SHO development team to fine tune for enhanced driver control and agility.  In addition, the SR1 rear suspension geometry provides increased travel, while enabling the use of standard 19in. and optional 20in. wheels and tires.

For the discriminating automotive enthusiast, Taurus SHO offers an available SHO Performance package consisting of upgraded brake pads, recalibrated EPS for even more responsiveness, a ‘Sport Mode’ setting for the standard AdvanceTrac Electronic Stability Control and a short 3:16 to 1 final driver ratio for faster acceleration at launch.  The package also includes 20X9in. premium painted alloy wheels wrapped with Goodyear 245/45ZR20in. performance compound Eagle F1 tires.  That is a lot of tire surface meeting the road during acceleration and cornering.

Quickly slowing the Taurus SHO down from speed are big 13in. vented discs up front clamped with twin 48mm cast iron calipers, while the rear brakes measure 12in. solid discs and are clamped with single 43mm cast iron calipers.  Power Assist, ABS, AdvanceTrac and Traction Control work in unison to help with your control of the car when traveling on slick or wet pavement.  When braking softly or hard the feel of the pedal was very linear insuring me that the car would be stopping quickly and straight.

A key element of the authentic SHO formula is the subtlety of its unique design cues.  Up front are HID headlamps, a uniquely finished interpretation of the Ford signature three-bar grille, wide lower air-intake, chin spoiler to help keep the front end hugging the ground during high-speed cruising, a SHO-specific white LED parking lamp strips, plus a power-dome hood enabling the twin-turbocharged engine to fit neatly underneath.

From the side you see a steeply raked windshield A-pillar, a chrome strip around the greenhouse, pull-out door handles, fender vents with Taurus stamped in the middle, aluminum door sill plates with Taurus inscribed, deep lower side extensions that follow the front fascia through the rear fascia, 19 or 20in alloy wheels and tires that fill up the fender wells.  The rear features large, wraparound lamp clusters, a decklid-mounted spoiler, a chrome strip at the center of the decklid cover intersected by a large Ford Blue Oval badge, Taurus and SHO badges and 3in. round twin chrome exhaust tips.  The new Taurus SHO is a wolf in sheep’s clothing!

The new Taurus SHO interior encourages performance driving.  The dashboard and ‘eyebrow’ shelf reminds me of last year’s dual-cockpit Mustang design that adds a sporty touch with the real aluminum trim plates.  All of the material is soft and made of high-grade material.  Leather-trimmed, high-backed sport seats use Miko Suede inserts made from recycled post-consumer yams from plastic soft drink bottles.  The 10-way power seats are well bolstered for spirited driving.  The three-pod instrument cluster is straight-ahead and easy to see and is finished with chrome rings as all of the instrument panel controls are.  The SHO accelerator and brake pedals are trimmed in aluminum.

Ford engineers and designers have thought it through to come up with a performance sedan that is fun to drive as a proud owner of the all-new SHO.

The all-new 2010 Taurus SHO offers an impressive array of standard equipment including dual power heated memory side mirrors, solar tinted windshield, premium sound system, SYNC Voice Activated System, dual electric auto temperature control, tilt/telescoping/leather-wrapped and perforated steering wheel that feels perfect in your hands, power express up/down front windows, cruise control, variable-rate intermittent wipers/washers, power door locks, reverse-sensing parking sensors, dual map lamps, grab handles above all passenger doors, center console with three cupholders, a deep storage bin with a leather padded top, rear pull-down center console with dual cupholders, dual vents behind the front center console to more quickly bring warm or cool air into the rear, intelligent access door-mounted keypad with push button start/stop, MyKey allows customers to activate a restricted driving mode, persistent Belt-Minder safety belt reminder, audio system volume limits, an earlier low-fuel warning, and consistently-engages AdvanceTrac stability control.  The top speed can be limited to 80mph, and speed chimes can be programmed to engage at 45, 55 or 65mph, Easy Fuel Capless Fuel Filler System which is great and makes filling up the tank a hassle-free solution that provides a consistent self-seal after every refueling, Ford SYNC is the full integrated, in-vehicle voice-activated communications and entertainment system that combines 911 assist, vehicle health report and GPS-based features including business search and call completion.  SYNC connects to MP3 players, iPods, memory sticks and PDAs.  The latest version of SYNC in the Taurus SHO adds traffic directions, and information, providing turn-by-turn route guidance and the capability to access and personalize content.  Ambient light system with MyColor allows the SHO driver to program interior lighting from a choice of five soothing colors to suit any character or preference.

Available options not mentioned above include Reverse Camera System that activates in reverse gear projecting on the on the windscreen mounted rearview mirror, adaptive cruise control which allows the driver to set the SHOs cruising speed while using radar technology to monitor traffic traveling up to 600ft. ahead, automatically adjusting speed to help maintain a preset distance between vehicles, Collision Warning with Brake Support works with the adaptive cruise control providing visible and audible warnings when slower traffic is detected ahead.  Brake support is activated if the driver does not respond to provided warning, and pre-changes the brake system to prepare the vehicle for stopping.  The Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert consists of two multiple beam radar modules, one each per rear quarter panel.  When an adjacent vehicle enters the defined blind spot zone, an indicator alert provides driver warning in the corresponding sideview mirror, Cross Traffic Alert uses existing BLIS radar modules to sense oncoming traffic while the SHO is slowly backed from a parking space.  When cross traffic appears within three car widths, the system provides a visible message on the instrument panel in combination with a sideview mirror warning and an audible signal.  Multi-Contour Seats with Active Motion can be specified in conjunction with heated and cooled first-row positions in the new SHO.  Multi-Contour functionality provides subtle but continuous massage to help prevent back pain and fatigue and is ideally suited for long-distance drivers.  It felt invigorating for me and my driver this week.  Voice-Activated Navigation system includes a 10-GB music box hard drive and a single CD/DVD player.  When combined with the optional rear camera system, rearview projection appears on the centerstack-mounted navigation screen, the Sony Audio system offers 12-speakers, a digital amplifier, 390-watts of continuous power (RMS) 115 dB of maximum bass sound pressure level and Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound.  Finally, an electric sliding sunroof lets more light into the cabin and adds to the ventilation.

Standard safety features include SOS post crash alert system, seatbelt reminder, front and side airbags up front, 3-point safety belts for 5-seats plus front load limiters/pretensioners, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door, safety canopy for both rows of seats, perimeter alarm and tire pressure monitoring system.

I’ve waited along time for Ford to bring back the Taurus SHO and they didn’t fail me at all.  The only item I would change would be to lower the front seats to give you a sportier feel, but while this car zooms out to 60mph in just 5sec., it is a high-performance cruiser rather than a high-performance sport sedan.  Other than that the car is as close to perfect as can be.  The base price of the SHO starts at just $37,170.00 and a nicely loaded model with the sport package that I tested stickered at just $43,050.00, not bad for a high-speed cruising sedan.



Price: MSRP $37,770 As-Tested $43,050
Type: Large Sedan
Where Built: United States
EPA Class: Large Cars


Length: 202.9 in.
Width: 76.2 in.
Height: 60.7 in.
Wheel Base: 112.9 in.
Curb Weight: 4368 lbs.
Gross Weight: 5600 lbs.
Front Head Room: 39 in.
Front Hip Room: 56.3 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 57.9 in.
Rear Head Room: 37.8 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 56.9 in.
Rear Hip Room: 55.8 in.
Front Leg Room: 41.9 in.
Rear Leg Room: 38.1 in.
Luggage Capacity: 20.1 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 6
Base Engine Size: 3.5 liters
Base Engine Type: V6
Horsepower: 365 hp
Max Horsepower: 5500 rpm
Torque: 350 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 3500 rpm
Maximum Towing Capacity: 1000 lbs.
Drive Type: AWD
Turning Circle: 39.7 ft.
0-60mph: 5.0 seconds

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 19 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 17 mpg / 25 mpg / 20 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 323 mi. / 475 mi. / 380 mi.


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