Large car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $9,800 – $15,000*


2008 Ford Taurus Front


2008 Ford Taurus Rear


2008 Ford Taurus Interior


2008 Ford Taurus Profile

Pros:
  • Available all-wheel drive
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Quietness
  • Visibility
Cons:
  • Transmission operation
  • Control layout

The 2008 Taurus makeover fixed most of the old Five Hundred’s relatively few defects. Somewhat more refined than its predecessor, Taurus now offers fine acceleration, good fuel economy, and plenty of passenger space. Taurus might still trail the Chrysler 300 for eye appeal and the Toyota Avalon for refinement, but this Ford has a lot to offer those who need the room of a full-size sedan.

Overview

Taurus replaced the Five Hundred as Ford’s full-size sedan for 2008, reviving a name that had previously graced the company’s mid-size car. Though Taurus and Five Hundred were very similar, Taurus got freshened styling and more power. This large sedan shared a basic design with the similarly updated 2008 Mercury Sable (formerly Montego) and the Ford Taurus X SUV (formerly Freestyle). The old midsize Taurus/Sable sedans were now history.

Ford again offered SEL and Limited models with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, but a 263-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 replaced the 203-horsepower 3.0 V6 as the sole engine. A six-speed automatic transmission was standard; the prior continuously variable transmission (CVT) was dropped. Standard safety features included antilock brakes, traction control, curtain side airbags, and front side airbags. An antiskid system was optional for the Limited sedan. A navigation system and DVD entertainment were also optional. Also available was Ford’s Sync, a voice-activated interface for cell phones and digital music players. Taurus rivals included the Buick Lucerne, Chrysler 300, and Toyota Avalon.

Yearly Updates

2009 Taurus
A new entry-level SE model joined the Taurus lineup for 2009. All models could have all-wheel drive or front-drive, and an antiskid system became standard. Satellite radio now was standard on SEL and Limited sedans, but DVD entertainment no longer was offered.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Every Taurus sedan contains the same powertrain: A 3.5-liter V6 engine driving a six-speed automatic transmission. Taurus is offered with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/213
Engine HP 263
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 249
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

18/28

21.8

Road Test

Despite the larger, torquier 3.5-liter V6, Taurus is hardly a hot rod. Still, it feels stronger and more relaxed overall than the earlier Five Hundred. The automatic transmission is a smooth operator, but can be reluctant to downshift for passing. It also tends to “hunt” a lot among gears in give-and-take traffic. Some testers have bemoaned the continued lack of a manual shift control.

Fuel economy is appropriate for the class, if less than frugal. A test front-drive Taurus averaged 22.9 mpg in mostly highway driving. In a mix of city and highway use, an AWD model averaged 18.5 mpg. Taurus uses regular-grade fuel.

Ride quality remains firm yet absorbent, but Taurus’ retuned suspension and other changes have reduced harshness over sharp bumps and potholes. SE and SEL models have standard 17-inch tires, Limiteds 18-inch, but there’s little difference in ride comfort.

A Taurus feels virtually on-rails steady in sweeping turns, especially with AWD. Even so, these sedans are too tall and heavy for real agility in tight, low-speed corners, where moderate body lean prevails. Available AWD is a boon on wet and snowy roads. Ditto the antiskid system, which should have been standard rather than optional in this Taurus’ first season (thankfully, it became standard for 2009). Brakes deliver fine overall stopping control.

Taurus is quite refined for a mainstream family car. Wind rush is modest at highway speed, and tire noise intrudes only on the coarsest pavement. The engine makes an audible but pleasant-sounding growl at full throttle, but is unobtrusive in routine cruising.

Gauges are clear and simple, but audio and climate controls comprise many look-alike buttons and sometimes hard-to-read electronic displays, all set too low for easiest use. The available navigation system suffers from a slightly undersized dashboard screen and could be more intuitive; it absorbs most audio adjustments, but does not complicate them. Some testers have said that stalks for the wiper and turn signals are still too far from the steering wheel. Cabin materials are nothing special, but they’re appropriate for this price class and include many soft-touch surfaces.

Front occupants sit higher than in most cars, which combines with a low dashtop and tall windows for a take-charge driving feel. Visibility is very good. Headroom and legroom are both six-footer ample, but some testers would have preferred more rearward seat travel. Once situated, however, the seats are comfortably supportive, with the high positioning a boon for entry/exit.

Rear passengers also enjoy chair-height seating. Generous headroom, easy ingress/egress, plus near-limousine leg space are all Taurus hallmarks. Three adults are a slight squeeze, though, and may feel cramped on longer trips. The bench seat itself is ordinary in shape and padding.

The voluminous trunk has a flat floor, usefully cubic shape, large opening, and non-invasive strut-type lid hinges. Tauruses have a split-folding 60/40 rear seat, but the pass-through narrows at the bottom due to angled bulkhead supports. A standard fold-flat front passenger seat allows carrying nine-foot-long objects with the trunklid closed. Small-item storage is unexceptional.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Ford Taurus SEL

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 - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 9
90%
Room/Comfort Rear - 8
80%
Cargo Room - 5
50%

Other

Value - 8
80%

Total: 65

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
112.9 201.8 74.5 61.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
21.2 20.0 5.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 38.8 41.3 41.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Taurus 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

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

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Seat
Description: The heated seat(s) may stop working due to a break in the heater mat wiring. (2008)
Transmission leak
Description: Transmission fluid may leak at from the power take-off unit on all-wheel-drive models. (2008-09)
Wheels
Description: Some early production vehicles make a squeaking, grunting, popping sound from the outside front wheel when cornering due to rubbing jounce bumpers on the struts. (2008)
Electrical problem
Description: On vehicles with the SYNC system, the USB port, the voice commands for the phone book work and the steering wheel switches may quit working requiring reflashing the accessories module. (2008-09)

Recall History

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.