While big sedans no longer drive big sales numbers for automakers, there are still a sizeable group of buyers who enjoy them. Spend any time in a Taurus, Charger, or Impala and you’ll see why: they deliver an abundance of comfort, room, and power at a reasonable price. The Ford Taurus indeed has all of that covered, and for 2013 it’s looking to bring something else to the segment… fuel economy. Let’s see how big the gains are.
The big news for Ford’s biggest car offering is actually small news, well smaller anyway; and it’s not exactly new either. Okay, enough of the runaround. What we’re trying to say is that Ford’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost I4 engine is now available in the 2013 Ford Taurus.
But, that’s not the only news as this mid-cycle re-fresh also begins with the typical redo of front and rear fascias, but it doesn’t end there. The hood gets a more muscular shape, taking design cues from the high-performance SHO model, wheels are wider to fill up the wheel wells better, and rear quarter panels get reshaped to house larger full-LED tail lights. It’s a big improvement on what was already a strikingly sleek design for a big sedan, and it still looks great.
The interior also looks good, but maybe not as grand as Ford likes to think. Fit and finish is first-rate and materials have been upgraded, but our SEL equipped tester’s black-on-black theme made for a very dark environment. It’s also not as roomy up front as you might expect from such a big car, but the layout is practical and there are plenty of small-item storage nooks. Both the back seat and trunk are huge however, the latter holding 20.1 cubic-ft. of goods.
And there’s no lack of tech. to go around with features like SYNC and MYFord Touch. This is the latest gen. of MyFord Touch and its operation is improved, but the bottom row of buttons are still hard to see and access, and some of the touch screen controls are small and hard to hit precisely with while driving. Fortunately there are plenty of redundant controls on the steering wheel as well as voice command; so driver distraction can be reduced.
And, it was driving this Taurus where the new EcoBoost I4-turbo really piqued our interest. Here output rates 240-horsepower and 270 lb-ft. of torque, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels only. You have to go with the standard V6 if you want to add all-wheel-drive.
So, it’s off to the track we go to see what type of motivation the 2.0 provides. Well, with a healthy growl and a nice hit of power, you can hit 60 in 8.0-seconds. Those numbers aren’t super impressive, but the car doesn’t feel underpowered at any time, especially not when you stay around 35-hundred RPM where the power delivery is extra-thick. The quarter mile took 16.2-seconds at a speed of 87 miles-per-hour. Through the cones, you won’t exactly forget it’s a big car, but the Taurus does wear its weight well. It feels very sporty, with a nice hefty wheel that gives surprisingly good feedback. Body roll is minimal. Brakes are very sporty as well, with a nice firm pedal, bringing our eco-2-point-0 to a halt in just 126-feet.
Now, it’s doubtful that many Taurii spend too much time on the track, so thankfully it feels great on the street as well. We drive so many small cars these days that driving one this big feels old-school and sort of comforting.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are the true reasoning behind adding the 2.0-liter EcoBoost to the Taurus and they are impressive for a big sedan; 22-City, 32-Highway, and 26-Combined. We averaged a good 27.8 miles-per-gallon of Regular in mixed driving. And that makes for a slightly better than average Energy Impact Score of 12.7-barrels of oil burned annually with CO2 emissions of 5.7-tons.
And, while it may be more economical to operate on the back end, it will require a little extra investment up front, as the 2.0-liter EcoBoost will add $995 to any front-wheel-drive SE, SEL, or Limited Taurus.
Smaller engines in big cars is certainly the wave of the future, as there are still plenty of people who need a full-size car to haul 5 full-sized adults, but would like to do so more efficiently. Well, the 2013 Ford Taurus has indeed gotten more efficient, but there are also enough new tweaks to help keep it in its proper place as the standard bearer of full-size American passenger cars.
Engine: 2.0-liter EcoBoost I4
Torque: 270 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 8.0 seconds
1/4 mile: 16.2 seconds @ 87 mph
EPA: 22 mpg city/ 32 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 12.7 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.7 tons/yr