Most Taurus models remain powered by Ford's 263-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6, coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission. SelectShift is a new option that brings steering-wheel paddle-shifters, for those who want more control around curves or on mountainous roads.
There's also a new high-performance version called the Taurus SHO; it includes a new 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged 'EcoBoost' V6, which makes 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. The engine's two small turbos permit it to make peak torque just above idle. The new engine also has direct injection, and it's promised to be very fuel efficient.
The Taurus SHO includes SelectShift, which brings paddle-shifters beside the steering wheel, allowing the driver to command the 6-speed automatic transmission's shifts for curves or mountain roads. There's also a torque-sensing all-wheel drive system that uses electromechanical clutches to send torque to the wheels with the most grip. Electronic power steering works with the sport-tuned suspension to handle the power and bring an agile feel.
The SHO gets a number of other performance features designed to get the most out of the driving experience. The electronic stability control comes with a 'Sport Mode,' and the SHO rides on Eagle F1 summer performance tires on painted wheels. Inside, the SHO gets Miko Suede seat inserts made from recycled materials, plus aluminum-trimmed pedals and aluminum trim throughout. Multi-contour heated-and-cooled seats are available, and there's also a 12-speaker Sony surround sound audio system.
The regular Taurus is offered in three trim levels: SE, SEL and Limited. SEL models get a dressed-up appearance with painted aluminum wheels, chrome exhaust tips; they also get supplemental parking lamps and heated exterior mirrors. The top-of-the-line Limited adds power leather seats, a reverse sensing system, and a premium sound system that includes the Sync voice-driven interface for phones and portable music devices. Limited models also get showy 19-inch chromed aluminum wheels.
The Taurus is one of the top-rated vehicles in its class in crash tests, and comes with a long list of safety features, including stability control, anti-lock brakes, front side airbags, side-curtain airbags, a Post-Crash Alert System and crash severity sensing.
Across the Taurus line, technology features will be the emphasis, with several new features making a debut for Ford in the sedan. Cross Traffic Alert and a Collision Warning system promised to aid safety, while Intelligent Access and a MyKey entry system allows parental programmability. Sirius Travel Link, a set of features for the navigation system that brings live traffic information, weather forecasts, gas prices and other info, is also newly available, as are adaptive cruise control and rain-sensing wipers.