Ford Taurus Review

If there's a feeling I hate as much as any other, it's being too late. Getting to the party after all the fun's been had.

When I was a kid, a big Ford, optioned properly, was a cool grownup's car (think red Galaxie 500 XL hardtop or convertible with knock-offs and a big V8...or better yet, just look at the picture above).

By the time I got my license (a mere decade later), big Fords were grandma's cars. In fact, the only person I knew who owned one was my friend Sara's grandma.

And from there, they devolved into service animals. If you've hailed a cab or been pulled over by the police in the last 25 years, odds are it was a big Ford Crown Victoria.

So what, you ask? Well, the Crown Vic is on its way out. Available only as a fleet vehicle now, it'll be unavailable, period in a year or less. And it's here that paths of opportunity cross.

Ford's been trying to rehabilitate the Taurus nameplate since Alan Mullaly took over a few years ago and ordered the well-built, competent but bland Five Hundred rebadged as a Taurus. Here's the chance. Make the Taurus a little bigger and a lot better, and there's a vehicle worthy of being considered Ford's flagship.

Fully cognizant of what happened to the last guy who said this out loud: Mission Acccomplished.

The 2010 Taurus is a surprise and a delight. Big, roomy, powerful, carefully assembled of higher quality materials than the Blue Oval has been known for in quite some time. Yes, Virginia, this is a Ford interior:

The tester I drove for a week was the top-of-the line SEL model (base price $27,170)...with a 3.5 liter V6 and six-speed automatic transmission. Loaded with the rapid spec package that includes SYNC, reverse sensors, ambient lighting and 19 inch wheels as well as a separate leather package, the sticker stopped at $31,890.

The EPA says 18 city/28 highway.

The only downer I could find is the agressively angled headrests...which hit me exactly at a point where I had to tilt my head down slightly in order to drive. If I were shorter or taller (I'm six feet even), it probably wouldn't be a problem, but still.

The Taurus is a triumph for Ford...the first truly relevant family sedan that company's made since the first Taurus in 1986...and the first desirable big grownup's car since...well, probably the '63.