First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Impala is new from the ground up


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First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Impala is new from the ground up

In 2008, before General Motors went bankrupt, the Chevrolet team started looking at a replacement for the old but still strong selling full-size Impala. A lot of ideas were thrown around. GM explored many options for the car’s future, including a smaller, rear-wheel-drive based Impala with a retro look.

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First Drive: 2010 Ford Taurus SHO

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.

While you’re here- check out our review of the “regular” 2010 Ford Taurus and our huge image gallery of the Taurus and SHO

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”.

First Drive: 2010 Ford Taurus SHO

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.

First Drive: 2010 Ford Taurus SHO

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.

First Drive: 2010 Ford Taurus SHO

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.

First Drive: 2010 Ford Taurus SHO


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 / Taurus SHO

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
Bore: 92.5mm
Stroke: 86.7mm
Compression: 10.0:1
Redline: 6,400rpm

2010 Ford Taurus: Meet the new benchmark

As an idea, reinventing the Taurus and pushing it as the new flagship of Ford Motor Company is on par with an 90’s one hit wonder reuniting for another try at Billboard top 25. It’s risky, a classic disaster in the making unless you can actually pull it off.   Ford took that gamble and competitors beware, they’ve got a brand new hit.

First Drive Verdict

A amazingly executed and revolutionary re-invention of the mainstream four-door sedan jammed with technology and refinement in a package you cannot find anywhere else.  The automotive industry as a whole just got schooled.

Strong suits

  • The best complement of driver oriented technology we’ve seen to date on any car
  • A smooth and extremely isolated ride
  • Although staying true to four-door sedan in size the Taurus  drives like a mid-size

We could have liked more

  • The console felt rock hard in some places, nerf-ball soft in others
  • 263-horsepower does the job but isn’t quick
  • Cockpit style interior sacrifices space for style and may cramp larger drivers

Check back Tuesday morning for our First Drive Review of the turbocharged 2010 Ford Taurus SHO

First Drive: 2010 Ford Taurus

Forget everything you know about the Taurus

Forget everything you know about the Taurus. Family car, people mover, bland, boring;  these adjectives do not apply to the new 2010 model.  Out of the gate you get a sense this new Taurus is something different just by looking at it. A bold new face draws lines from the best selling Taurus of the mid-90’s while concurrently looking to the future much like the 2010 Fusion.   The same goes for the interior. A classic two cockpit layout by design, the console is seriously modern.

It’s a staunch departure from the typical four-door sedan we’ve come to know. From the beginning Ford insists this was exactly the plan.  They openly admit the previous Taurus and pretty much the entire full-size family sedan segment has been built and designed from the “we” standpoint. “We” will go for a ride.  “We” will go for a road trip.  It’s all been about catering to the family and not to the driver.

This viewpoint has changed with the new Taurus. Ford has taken a “me” approach- orienting the best features of the 2010 model around the driver. From the sleek exterior to the edgy interior, driving a 2010 Taurus won’t cast the “I’m driving a boring family car” blues on whoever steps behind the wheel.

First Drive: 2010 Ford Taurus

Useful technology and features

Looking good is important but so is being attentive to the occupants. Ford again doesn’t let us down. There’s some serious technology lurking inside the 2010 Taurus- so much in fact, it’s impressive.  Sure, you’ve got the expected options; navigation system, all-wheel-drive, and heated seats. Then you have Ford exclusive technology such as SYNC, MyKey, and Sirius Travel Link.  The true surprises, options you would not find in any car of this class only serve as icing on the cake; adaptive cruise control, push button start,  heated/cooled seats, adaptive front seating, collision warning, and blind-spot monitoring.

Ford went so far to elevate the Taurus they’ve only left one exclusive option for the Lincoln MKS, which shares platforms with the Taurus, automatic parking. Everything else you can get in the MKS is an option in the Taurus.

The Taurus is an extremely potent blend of really useful technologies. For example- during our drive in North Carolina last week we drove straight into a strong thunderstorm. Using Sirius Travel Link and its live radar map we were able to see exactly where the weather was headed and how long it would be until we saw clear skies again.

During our nearly six-hours behind the wheel of the 2010 we also very much appreciated Ford’s Adaptive Seating. The system uses a series of air bladders in the driver and passenger seat cushions to randomly shift your body ever so slightly as you cruise down the road. This keeps circulation flowing and puts a huge dent in the stiffness and discomfort one usually expects from a long drive.

First Drive: 2010 Ford Taurus SHO

Behind the wheel

So we’ve determined the Taurus looks hot and has all the right features.  Stepping in for the trifecta – the Taurus handles great as well.  We particularly noticed how composed and quiet it was.  A quick jaunt down the road and you’ll most likely forget your driving a full-size, four-door sedan with a huge trunk.  Body roll has been kept under control like a European sedan.  Maybe our only gripe about the Taurus on the road would be it’s slow steering.  Hustling around corners kept us busy cranking the wheel from side to side.

As mentioned above, heavy rain gave us a excellent test of the optional all-wheel-drive system. Even through deep puddles, sheets of rain, and flowing water the Taurus never lost composure- even under full-throttle. It dug in and went- no fuss, no mess.

Road noise is surprisingly limited thanks to extensive sound-deadening materials.  Laminated glass, baffles in each pillar, and triple door seals are to thank.  This just may be the first application of acoustic laminated glass in a “family” sedan.

Final thoughts

This is without a doubt the Ford Taurus you’d never expect. Perhaps that’s because the bar has been lowered so much on what a “Taurus” should be it’s just surprising to find a car that has been executed so well.  It’s sleek, sexy, and utterly destroys the Chrysler 300 and Chevrolet Impala in every way. Great features, a composed drive, and tons of style- the Taurus has them all.  This may very well be the new benchmark for “family” full-size sedans.  If it is, this segment has a very bright future despite a disappointing past, just like the Taurus. Rock on Ford- thanks for giving us another hit.

Get a good look

Check out our 50+ image gallery of the new 2010 Ford Taurus and Taurus SHO.

2010 Ford Taurus First Drive Photo Gallery



Engine: 3.5L Duratec V-6 (all-aluminum)
Power: 263-horsepower / 249 ft-lbs torque
Transmission: 6-speed automatic w/optional SelectShift steering-wheel paddle shifters
Drivetrain: FWD or AWD


Base MSRP: $25,995
Standard: FWD, MyKey, SecuriCode, Stability Control, 17″ wheels, EasyFuel

Base MSRP: $27,995
Standard: All SE features plus- SelectShift 6-speed automatic, 18″ wheels
Optional: AWD, SYNC, Reverse sensing system, ambient interior lighting, push button start, leather seats, moonroof, 19″ wheels

Base MSRP: $31,995
Standard: All SEL features plus-  SYNC, heated memory seats, chrome accents, puddle lights, 10-way power drivers seat, leather wrapped steering-wheel, ambient interior lighting
Optional: AWD, navigation system w/10-gig hard drive, auto hi-beam headlights, rain-sensing wipers, Sirius TravelLink, Blind Spot warning with cross-traffic alert, heated/cooled front seats, power-adjustable pedals, rear power sunshade, rear-view camera

Standout Technology
SYNC Music System
Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning
Heated/Cooled Seats
Sirius Travel Link
Adaptive Front Seats
Blind Spot Monitor w/Cross Traffic alert
911 Assist (part of SYNC)
Easy Fuel Capless Filling
SecuriCode keyless entry
Push-Button Start

On Sale
Later this summer (2009)

First Drive Gallery- 2010 Ford Taurus / Taurus SHO

Forget everything you’ve ever associated with the Taurus name. Family car, people mover, bland, boring;  these adjectives do not apply to the new 2010 model.  Out of the gate you get a sense this new Taurus is something different just by looking at it. A bold new face draws lines from the best selling Taurus of the mid-90’s while concurrently looking to the future.

You will not want to miss
Our First Drive report on the new 2010 Ford Taurus
Behind the wheel of the 2010 Ford Taurus SHO

2010 Ford Taurus / Taurus SHO First Drive Photo Gallery

Photographer: Zane Merva