Take one part reinvented family sedan and mix vigourously with two parts turbo-charger. What do you get? A Ford Taurus with 102 more horsepower and one hell of a ride.
First Drive Verdict
The return of the high-powered daily driver on par with the V8 offerings of upscale competitors at a fraction of the price. Quite possibly the “sleeper of the year”.
More of everything
Already building on a solid foundation, Ford has upped the ante, bringing back the famed SHO nameplate to the Taurus model. You can pronounce it S-H-O, or just SHO (like “show”)- either way it stands for more power, better fuel economy, and a revised suspension system that when rolled together give you Super High Output.
Starting with the same 3.5L V6 found in Taurus SE, SEL, and Limited, Ford engineers added twin-turbochargers. The complete package, called EcoBoost, offers V8 engine levels of power while maintaining V6 engine levels of fuel economy. While the normally aspirated version of the Taurus pumps out a none-too-shabby 263-horsepower- the SHO with it’s EcoBoost V6 takes things one-hundred and two steps further. Power output has been raised to 365-horsepower.
Horsepower isn’t the only thing Ford engineers have added to the SHO to make it special. Unique spring and damping tuning on the suspension, better steering turn in and responsiveness, and larger wheels add some serious handling creds for what is basically a family sedan. Ford has also tuned the SelectShift transmission for quicker downshifts. For example, a 4-3 downshift in the SHO takes only .5 seconds, whereas the same shift in a BMW 335i takes nearly twice as long. It’s comparisons like this that remind us the Taurus SHO isn’t just a pretty face- it’s been designed as a serious sport sedan.
Adding to the mix, the SHO comes standard with all-wheel-drive, 19″ wheels HID headlamps, push button start, leather trimmed Miko Suede seats, and a tasteful rear spoiler. Optional 20″ wheels are there if you are so inclined.
Also an option if you live in warmer climates an SHO performance pack. It offers performance brake pads, EPAS calibrated steering, the ability to turn AdvanceTrac completely off, a 3.16 final drive ratio, and 20-inch Goodyear F1 tires.
Comparing the SHO to its closest competitors, the Pontiac G8 GT, Dodge Charger R/T, and Chevy Impala SS, it’s hard to deny the advantage Ford has given it. The Charger R/T slightly bests the SHO in power at 368, but falls short of the SHO’s fuel economy. The G8, slightly below in power, also can’t touch the EcoBoost V6’s fuel sipping nature. The Impalla comes closer, only down by 1-mpg, but falls way short of the SHO in horsepower.
Ford is even so brash to compare the Taurus SHO to upscale sedans like the Audi A6. Fuel economy and power are nearly the same between the two, but you can buy the Taurus for nearly $20k less. As you can see- the SHO is a lesson in economics. More power, more fuel economy, and a lower price. It’s what makes the SHO an incredible entry into this segment.
Behind the wheel
After driving a 2010 Taurus Limited the prior day, Ford set us out to drive in the twisty roads of northeast North Carolina. Switchbacks, steep inclines, and awe-inspiring views in the SHO. These are not a set of roads you want to send a group of journalists out on unless you are completely sure your car will stack up.
And the SHO does. All of our complaints from the previous day’s drive (slow steering, okayish acceleration) became a distant memory. As we bustled up and through the mountains it was almost too easy to forget we were behind the wheel of a four-door full-size sedan. The EcoBoost V6 is strangely un-turbo like. Only once did we catch the faintest whiff of wastegate noise. Low-end torque is so abundant, turbo-lag is a complete non-issue.
With all the standard features of the Taurus Limited and a blatant heap of power- we were coddled in comfort at the same time we carved up with glee some of the tightest roads we’ve driven on. It’s the same experience you would have only expected out of a BMW or Audi- except your driving a Ford… and a Taurus to boot. Suddenly everything we knew about what this segment should be turned fuzzy.
I’ll openly admit I’m a sucker for a good sports car. At the same time, I’d never turn away luxury, which is why I’ve been a fan of BMW and Audi for a long time. No US automaker has even come close to the refinement and driving experience the Germans have seemed to perfect- until now. No, the interior isn’t as nice as an Audi and you don’t quite have the prestige of a BMW- but you will have considerably more money left in your pocket for nearly the same performance- not to mention quite a few pieces of technology those other guys don’t offer.
2010 Ford Taurus / Taurus SHO Photo Gallery
2010 Ford Taurus SHO Specifications
Base Price: $37,995
Engine: 3.5L EcoBoost V6
Output: 365-horsepower @ 5,500rpm & 350 lbs ft of torque from 1,500-5,250rpm