2013 Ford Taurus SHO Review
Highs and lows
- Impressive Acceleration
- Lots of technology
- Poor fuel economy
One for the road
Whenever I find myself behind the wheel of a powerful, fat-bottomed cruiser, I can't help but think of my dad's old buddy, Mr. Bonguard -- a Buford T. Justice lookalike with a penchant for Dean Martin and rye whiskey, neat.
The sight of his big, old Lincoln land yacht pulling into our driveway, "King of the Road" blaring from the eight-track, was a surefire guarantee that my mom was going to be pissed off for the rest of the day.
The original Taurus SHO, introduced in 1989, was the ultimate sleeper -- a bare-bones family sedan wrapped around an amazing 220 hp Yamaha engine. However, the current iteration, while claiming homage-paying status to the SHO of yesteryear, is a huge luxury sedan laden with high-tech gadgetry and all the luxurious comforts imaginable.
Cue Dean Martin...
Returns with refinement
Reintroduced in 2009, the Taurus SHO returns for 2013 with a few upgrades, and a more aggressive facelift to set it apart from the more plebeian Taurus models. The "SHO" (for Super High Output) now sports a menacing, blacked-out front grille, slick, 20" alloys and a teeny-weeny decklid spoiler so you know you're looking at a hi-po sport sedan.
Under its bulbous -- er, "powerdome" hood is a turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost V6 that puts out 365 hp with 350 lb-ft of torque. It's mated to the same 6-speed transmission found in the other models, but adds steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters for enthusiast types who like to row their own gears.
With maximum torque arriving at 1,500 rpm, the SHO manages to scoot from 0-100 km in under 5.8 seconds. Not bad for a portly beast weighing in at almost 2,000 kg. Tromp on the gas pedal and there's no problem completing quick passing manoeuvres.
I don't recall the last model being particularly noisy, but its successor boasts additional cabin insulation for a most quiet and serene ride. Throughout the interior of the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO are upgraded, soft-touch materials that impart an almost Germanic feeling of premium quality.
One of the biggest customer complaints has been MyFord Touch's lack of user-friendliness, which generated about as much vitriol as BMW's older iDrive systems for its irritating technology and inherent glitches. The much improved infotainment system still requires a bit of a learning curve, but now has larger and easier-to-operate controls, larger fonts and simplified screen displays.
My tester's overall black interior theme brought to mind a man cave: masculine, large and embellished with gadgets. Further underscoring its potency is a push-button start and the aforementioned flappy-paddle shifters.
Thick, cushion-y and wide of bottom, the leather upholstered seats would've scored points with my dad's friend, the good ol' boy.
For an extra dose of hedonism, the front seats will pummel and massage both lumbar and backside. I found this feature delightfully creepy, the vigorous kneading like Sigourney Weaver's alien trying to burst through the seat bottom.
Size and agility
All that weight coupled with great gobs of power could make for some wallowing -- if not entertaining -- handling, however, the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO is surprisingly stable. Available in AWD only, the SHO comes with a stiffer, sport-tuned suspension, larger front sway bar and much improved brakes over the previous model. I liked its tight sense of composure, but had complaints from rear passengers about its "harsh and stiff ride."
For added security, there's a torque-vectoring system that selectively applies the brakes in corners for more stability. It allows you to fling the big-bodied car through turns with more abandon than you might otherwise have dared.
Other than its rather abysmal gas consumption (I averaged 12.4L/100 km) the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO is a great road trip car. Comfortable, quiet and with a smooth, linear power delivery, it's like piloting a big jetliner. The voice-activated nav system was easy to use, even for the gadget-challenged. A decent Sony sound system belted out my favourite driving tunes -- rock 'n' roll rather than dad's old Brat Pack.
Big-bodied domestic powerhouse
So, who buys a car like this? Certainly not the women I know, most of whom had nothing to say other than "comfortable seats."
Buyers are more than likely to cross-shop the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO with the Chrysler 300 SRT or Buick Regal GS -- big, powerful sedans with a decidedly masculine flair. Its $51,999 (as tested) price tag pushes the SHO close to German-sedan territory which boasts far more cachet.
However, stalwart loyalists of big-bodied domestic powerhouses might just consider the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO... "king of the road." (Sorry.)