Midsize car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $2,300*


1995 Ford Taurus SE 4-door sedan


1993 Ford Taurus SHO 4-door sedan


1990 Ford Taurus GL 4-door wagon


1993 Ford Taurus SHO interior


1993 Ford Taurus interior

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Antilock brakes (optional)
  • Handling/roadholding
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Ride
Cons:
  • Acceleration (4-cylinder)
  • Fuel economy (V6)
  • Radio controls

We rank the early ’90s Taurus/Sable among the most impressive domestic cars: solid, roomy, great to look at, and a joy to drive.

Overview

Launched to great fanfare for 1986, the Mercury Sable looks similar, but the midsize sedans shared no sheetmetal. Both mix contemporary design with a spacious interior. Starting in 1990, a driver-side airbag was standard on all Taurus models. A 4-cylinder engine continued to power the L and GL sedans, but wagons held a 3.0-liter V6. At LX level, sedans used the 3.0-liter V6, while the wagon benefited from a 3.8-liter V6.A high-performance SHO version, introduced for ’89, carries a 220-horsepower twin cam V6 that was built in Japan from a Yamaha design, plus all-disc brakes and 5-speed manual shift. No automatic transmission was available, but antilock braking was added during the SHO’s 1990 season. ABS was optional on other sedans.

Yearly Updates

1991 Taurus
A new 4-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift control went into Tauruses (except the SHO). Four-cylinder engines gained 15 horsepower. Antilock braking was optional on wagons as well as sedans, and the SHO gained new wheels and tires.
1992 Taurus
Subtle restyling for 1992 mixed the familiar shape with fresh sheetmetal, powered only by V6 engines. A new dashboard had space for an optional passenger-side airbag.
1993 Taurus
For ’93, the sizzling SHO finally could get an automatic transmission, with a larger, torquier engine than the manual-shift version. Base L models were dropped, but the GL borrowed most of the L’s trim to become the entry-level Taurus. All models had body-color bumpers.
1994 Taurus
All Tauruses now had both driver- and passenger-side airbags.
1995 Taurus
A Sport Edition (SE) sedan joined for ’95, with aluminum wheels and sport bucket seats. An all-new Taurus was ready to bow for ’96.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Taurus buyers had a choice of four engines in 1990, with three possible transmissions. A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, rated 90 horsepower and driving 3-speed automatic, went into L and GL sedans. L and GL wagons, and LX sedans, employed a 3.0-liter V6 that sent 140 horsepower and 160 pounds-feet of torque to a 4-speed automatic transmission. Any of those cars (except for L sedan) could be ordered with a 3.8-liter V6 that made 140 horsepower and 215 pounds-feet of torque. Connected to a 4-speed automatic, that engine was standard in LX wagons. Topping the performance scale was the Yamaha-designed, dual-overhead-cam, 3.0-liter V6 that whipped out 220 horsepower, installed only in the SHO sedan. Only the SHO came with 5-speed manual shift. Sequential fuel injection was installed on 2.5- and 3.0-liter engines for 1991, boosting 4-cylinder output to 105 horsepower. Departure of 4-cylinder engines after 1991 made the 3.0-liter V6 standard; the 3.8 V6 was standard on LX wagons, optional on all except the L. A high-performance 3.2-liter V6 went into 1993 SHO sedans with automatic–the same horsepower rating as the 3.0 V6 with manual shift, but 215 pounds-feet of torque.

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/182
Engine HP 140
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 160-165
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

20/30

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/232
Engine HP 140
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 215
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

19/28

17.9

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/182
Engine HP 220
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 200
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual

18/26

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.2/195
Engine HP 220
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 215
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

18/26

ohv I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/153
Engine HP 90-105
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 130-140
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
3-speed automatic

21/27

Road Test

Taurus feels composed over bumps and in corners. Steering is precise, and suspension movements are well-controlled. Taurus is surefooted and agile, with balanced handling in turns and minimal body lean. The firm, Euro-style ride is just right, even if you can expect a few bumps on rougher surfaces.

The weak, noisy 4-cylinder engine just isn’t strong enough to power a Taurus. A 3.0-liter V6 promises much brisker passing, and the optional 3.8-liter V6 noticeably stronger acceleration from a standstill, plus better midrange response. Harsh shifts from the automatic transmission do occur occasionally in low-speed driving. Neither V6 is frugal: One Taurus averaged just 17.9 mpg in commuting and expressway driving. For excitement behind the wheel of a seemingly sedate midsize sedan, SHO is the way to go. Acceleration rivals that of the world’s leading sports sedans.

Variable-assist power steering was modified in 1992, resulting in a less-precise feel at highway speed. Also on the downside, Taurus tires thump loudly over bumps.

Head room is ample all around, and sedans have a deep, wide trunk. Analog gauges are clearly marked, but the stereo sits low and has small, poorly marked controls.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Ford Taurus LX sedan 3.8-liter

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 48

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.0 192.0 70.7 54.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
18.0 16.0 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.3 37.6 41.7 37.7
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.0 193.1 70.7 55.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
83.1 16.0 8
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.5 38.1 41.7 36.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1995 Taurus 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 77
Injury 84
Theft 55

Trouble Spots

Blower motor
Description: Squeaking or chirping blower motors are the result of defective brush holders. (1990-94)
Engine noise
Description: The motor mounts are prone to wear out prematurely so Ford has issued a voluntary recall (number 92M77) to replace the right front and right rear mounts. The coverage is 6 years or 60,000 miles. (1992-93)
Hard starting
Description: If the engine does not start or cranks for a long time then stalls, the idle air control valve may be sticking. (1995)
Oil leak
Description: Ford extended the warranty on the 3.8-liter Taurus to 7/100,000 and may compensate owners for repairs related to head gasket failures. (1994-95)
Suspension problems
Description: The stabilizer bar links wear rapidly due to lack of grease fittings, especially if a technician is careless when servicing the MacPherson struts. (1990-95)
Tire wear
Description: Premature tire wear and cupping is caused by rear wheel misalignment. (1990-95)
Tire wear
Description: Inner edge of rear tires wear excessively from camber problems corrected with a revised rear suspension adjuster kit. (1990-95)
Vehicle noise
Description: A popping noise comes from the front due to the strut rod bushing mountings moving in the frame. (1990-95)

Recall History

1990-91
Description: Front brake rotors on cars sold in 14 northeastern and Great Lakes states may suffer severe corrosion, resulting in reduced braking effectiveness.
1990-95 sold or registered in 24 states or D.C.
Description: Rear lower subframe mount plate nut can experience corrosion cracking if subjected to long-term exposure to road salt; can result in fracture.
1991-95 w/3.8-liter engine in 23 states
Description: Water can accumulate within speed-control conduit; if cable has frozen, throttle can stick and not return to idle.
1992 wagon
Description: Children can accidentally lock themselves in footwell area of rear-facing third seat or in storage compartment in wagons that lack optional third seat; self-latching assembly should be replaced with a unit that can be closed only with a key.
1992 wagon
Description: Secondary liftgate latch mechanism on some cars may not function, possibly allowing liftgate to open while car is in motion.
1992-93
Description: On cars sold in 14 Midwestern and Northeastern states, body mounts at rear subframe corners (which support engine/transmission) may detach due to corrosion, allowing subframe to drop; could result in clunking noise or altered steering-wheel alignment or, if both corners drop, could make steering very difficult.
1992-95 w/3.0- or 3.8-liter engine, in AK, IA, MN, NE, ND, or SD
Description: During high winds, heavy snow, and low temperatures, engine fan may become blocked or frozen; can cause smoke/flame.
1993
Description: Controllers intended for rear-drive vehicles (instead of front-drive) may have been installed in a few cars with optional antilock braking.
1993 in 21 states
Description: Front coil springs can fracture as a result of corrosion in combination with small cracks.
1993-1995 SHO
Description: This vehicle was previously repaired using a wiring harness that is not compatible with the vehicle circuit polarity. Dealers will install a new wiring harness, or replace the mating electrical component.
1993-94
Description: Headlights can flash intermittently as a result of a circuit-breaker opening.
1993-95 Taurus w/speed control system
Description: The speed control deactivation switch may, under certain conditions, leak internally and then overheat, smoke, or burn. This could result in an underhood fire. Dealers will install a fused wiring harness.
1995
Description: On some cars, retainer that holds master cylinder pushrod to brake pedal arm is missing or not fully installed; can result in loss of braking.
1995 w/3.0-liter and 3.8-liter engines
Description: The engine cooling fan bearing can seize. Excessive heat may be generated, melting the fan motor electrical connector, and possibly causing fan motor components to ignite.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.