As you probably already know, crossovers are today’s name for what we
used to call station wagons - they “cross over” between truck-based SUVs
and car like cargo-haulers. Crossovers offer the practicality and higher
seating position of an SUV, with the greater comfort and somewhat better
fuel economy of a car.
surpassed those of traditional SUVs last year, and the trend line is
heading upward fast. Ford hopes to do well in the segment with the
Taurus X combined with its smaller five-passenger Edge.
Ford debuted its
crossover as the Freestyle in 2004 as a 2005 model. Highly touting its
credentials as a family wagon in the Explorer tradition, the Ford folks
had high expectations for their Volvo-based wagon. Well, despite some
decent press reviews press, the Freestyle didn’t sell like the old
Explorer did, and neither did its companion, the Five Hundred sedan.
So, what did Ford do?
They publicly declared that they would bestow the hallowed name of
Taurus on both cars, so we now have a Taurus (again) and the Taurus X.
From what I have heard, the name change has not improved sales rates,
although the new cars are significantly better than their predecessors.
I drove 2005 Freestyle
nearly three years ago, and it seemed pretty nice, despite unconvincing
wood like trim and a fairly modest 3.0-liter engine with a continuously
variable transmission. The good news is, the new Taurus X is better
looking, featuring Ford’s new signature three-strip chrome grille, and
has acquired some real muscle under the hood. Its 3.5-liter V6 puts out
263 horsepower instead of the 3.0’s 203 - a nearly 30 percent
improvement. The two-ton car moves along smartly through its new
six-speed automatic transmission.
The only real loss is
in fuel mileage. Posted figures for all-wheel drive models like my
“Alloy Clearcoat Metallic” test vehicle are 15 City, 22 Highway- I
averaged 14.6 mpg. Granted, the 2008 numbers are lowered for all cars
from the 2007 figures, but that’s still not that great.
The environmental story
is better, though. The 3.5-liter Duratec earns a stellar 9.5 out of 10
for its Air Pollution score. The Greenhouse Gases score is an average 5,
but that’s not unusual for an engine of three-and-a-half liters
You can buy a Taurus X
in three levels - SEL, Eddie Bauer, and Limited. All are all built in
Chicago. My tester was the Eddie Bauer model, with its unique two-tone
paint, larger 18-inch wheels, and special badging. This is the first
time that the Eddie Bauer package has migrated from its original home on
Explorers and Expeditions.
Every Taurus X comes
well equipped. Selected standard features include remote keyless entry,
air conditioning, AM/FM audio system with CD, heated rear window, power
driver’s seat, and the usual power windows, locks, and mirrors. My
tester had Camel leather seating, too (is that leather made from camels
or the color of camels?).
features include AdvanceTrac traction control and four-wheel anti-lock
brakes. AdvanceTrac keeps your car heading where you want it to go by
actually predicting the vehicle’s path using a sensor and then making
adjustments to the engine torque and brakes. Anti-lock brakes help
prevent skids and are becoming a standard for almost every car these
The Taurus X is rated
the safest seven-passenger crossover in America. It aced the government
crash tests and got a “Top Safety Pick” rating from the Insurance
Institute of Highway Safety. It boasts a multitude of airbags, including
the Safety Canopy side curtain air bag for all three rows of seats.
You can easily pack the
Taurus X with options - my tester had $5,540 worth of them. These
included a navigation system, power liftgate, Sirius Satellite Radio,
heated seats, chrome rims, a DVD Family Entertainment System, and a
reverse sensing system that beeps when there’s something nearby when
you’re backing up. All worthy, but the final price, with transportation
charges, came to $37,110. You can buy an SEL with front-wheel drive
starting at $27,605.
One intriguing new
feature available on the Taurus X is the SYNC system developed with
Microsoft. A Ford exclusive (for now), it allows hands-free,
voice-activated control of your phone and entertainment system. That may
be the best safety feature of them all. My tester, sadly, didn’t have
SYNC, but I will report on it as soon as I sample a Ford that has it.
Handsome, roomy, and
safe, the Taurus X seems like the right car for a lot of people right
now. With fuel prices rising, more miles per gallon would be welcome,
but if you’re carrying your whole family, it beats the Expedition, and
is way easier to park, too.
By Steve Schaefer ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Ford Home Page
Byline: Crossover Review provided by Tony
Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: Taurus X is the right car
Topic: The 2008 Ford Taurus X
Word Count: 855
Photo Caption: The 2008 Ford Taurus X
Photo Credits: Ford Taurus X Internet Media
Series #: 2008 - 23
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2008 Ford Taurus X
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2008 Ford Taurus X