First Drive: 2010 Ford Taurus SHO

By Brendan Moore

06.23.2009

There’s good news today!

The Ford Taurus SHO, a model that many people thought they would never see again, has been reborn. Even better, it is an over-achiever.

2010-ford-taurus-sho-blue1

The new Taurus SHO shows up again as a bigger, stronger, more agile vehicle. Of course, none of that comes for free, and the 2010 Taurus SHO starts at $37,995 USD. For that, you get a sports GT that has a twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, a six-speed auto transmission that can also be shifted manually via steering wheel paddles, and, AWD.

I have included Ford’s official press release that glorifies and exalts the car at the end of this piece. I’ve also included a technical specifications sheet so that you see what the SHO is made of this time around.

But, I know the most pressing question is, “How does it drive”?

Very well, thank you.

Let’s start at the beginning. Everyday readers of Autosavant know that I covered the 2010 Taurus yesterday. In that post, I mentioned that the route the journalists invited to the Taurus event took on the first day wasn’t adequate in terms of getting a feel for the driving dynamics of the car.

So, now it is the second day, which is dedicated to the SHO, and I come out of the hotel in NC after breakfast to see which Taurus SHO I’m driving. All the journalists get a brief overview of the SHO, and afterward, people start walking over to the cars. I start talking to one of the cameramen and all the other media people are gone. I walk over to the coordinator from Ford, and she tells me that I will have to drive alone since no one’s left to be my co-pilot.

This is a very lucky break. It’s tough to find someone at these press events that wants to drive at the same speed you do, and nervous passengers are distracting. And it sure can’t be any fun for them, either.

More good luck – the car I get has the Atlantis Green Metallic paint (a very dark green) and, more importantly, the SHO Performance Package. Furthermore, the car looks great inside – luxurious and screwed together very well.

I get in the car, adjust everything and buckle up, and the coordinator waves me off. The first 10 miles are on a highway at extra-legal speeds, which shows that there isn’t any turbo lag in the horsepower delivery. The car is also very quiet.

Following the route mapped out for me, I exit the highway and almost immediately get on twisting back roads, and then, I start driving on the mountain roads of North Carolina. Now I’m doing something, driving through hairpin turns, tilted road surfaces, decreasing radius turns, powering up steep grades and flying down steep drops.

I’m working the SHO hard, driving as fast as I can, steering with the accelerator and a quick jab of the brakes. The AWD is mighty helpful in these types of road conditions. Go into the corner, find your apex, put your foot down flat on the throttle and feel those creamy gobs of torque from the EcoBoost V6, and get out of the corner with the tail wagging a bit, over and over. I can smell the new oil burning, I can smell the brakes and I can smell the tires. The big boy is really pretty nimble, especially considering that I’m pushing a 4400 lb car through those corners. The SHO is hardly a sports car, but it’s giving an awfully good account of itself.

And in 31 miles I only saw one other car. All is forgiven concerning the lousy drive in the regular Taurus the day before; this more than makes up for it.

I get to the check point and just about bounce out of the car. I’m happy with the car, happy with the drive, and eager to climb back into the car after downing a Coke. The second part of the drive, which was to the Asheville airport, was uneventful, but, hey, it’s OK.

Yes, I really liked the 2010 Taurus SHO.

I’m sure Ford is worried about trying to sell a car that’s not a Mustang at that sort of price, and they’re probably right to worry. I can just hear the average citizen saying, “I’m not paying $40,000 for a Ford, I don’t care how good they say it is”. The trick for Ford is to get shoppers to compare features, power and pricing against other cars in the segment, AND, to somehow convince shoppers that Ford quality really is as good now as their foreign competitions’ quality, so it is an apples-to-apples comparison. Ford has very good quality in most of their vehicles, but, of course, public perception lags reality.

I think the new SHO is a bargain for what you get; I really enjoyed my time in the car and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to friends looking for a big, fast, luxurious car.

As mentioned up top, I have included the Ford press releases for your enjoyment; I didn’t repeat all of the features in the article that I listed yesterday for the Taurus because I wanted to focus on the driving experience.

COPYRIGHT Autosavant – All Rights Reserved

FORD PRESS RELEASE: 2010 TAURUS SHO

TAURUS SHO RETURNS WITH 365HP ECOBOOST V-6, PLUS ALL-WHEEL DRIVE, PADDLE-SHIFT SIX-SPEED GEARBOX

• The Taurus SHO returns as the sporty version of Ford’s new flagship introducing a new generation of premium performance and fuel economy with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost™
V-6. This engine delivers V-8 levels of power – with 365 horsepower – without compromising its V-6 fuel economy

• The 2010 Taurus SHO features an enhanced six-speed SelectShift Automatic™ transmission with control paddles mounted on the steering wheel, in combination with a sophisticated torque sensing all-wheel drive system, a sportier SHO interior, subtle exterior design cues and myriad technologies and features offered on Taurus

• Taurus SHO will be available this summer, starting at $37,995, including destination fees

One of America’s favorite “sleeper” performance cars returns to the Ford lineup, powered by a Super High Output (SHO) EcoBoost twin turbocharged engine. The Taurus SHO joins Ford’s growing lineup of performance vehicles for the 2010 model year, building on the legacy of the original, which earned a spot on the Car and Driver 10Best list four years running.

“The new Taurus SHO delivers on the authentic sleeper sedan formula but adds all-new luxury-appointments, convenience features and technologies to an unsurpassed balance of power and fuel economy,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas. “This new sport derivative answers enthusiasts’ calls for a premium Ford flagship sedan with even more attitude.”

Introduced in 1989, Taurus SHO was conceived as a discreet performance-oriented sports sedan, ideally suited to the automotive enthusiast needing the room and capability of a four-door full-size car. Produced through 1999, more than 100,000 were sold.

The original Taurus SHO generated a loyal following of owners and enthusiasts, with an active club more than 1,000 members strong, an online forum with more than 10,000 registered users and a Web site (bringbackthesho.com) specifically devoted to convincing Ford to resurrect the SHO. The 2010 Taurus product development team spent significant time listening to SHO enthusiasts.

EcoBoost™ Twin-Turbocharged Power
The foundation of the new 2010 Taurus SHO is a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost
V-6 engine. This advanced powerplant generates 365 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 350 ft.-lbs. of torque from 1,500 to 5,250 rpm, resulting in significantly improved power, flexible torque and fuel economy compared with larger, normally aspirated engines. This also is Ford’s most powerful EcoBoost engine.

A key feature of this EcoBoost engine is gasoline direct injection. The direct injection of fuel into the cylinder during the intake stroke, as opposed to port-style injection to an externally mounted intake, produces a well-mixed air-fuel charge. Fuel vaporization during the intake stroke cools the incoming air, improving volumetric efficiency and lowers the likelihood of knock.

The results are improved throttle response, reduced cold start emissions characteristics and improved fuel economy. The cooled charge enables an increased compression ratio, improving efficiency at partial load, while the higher compression ratio allows for better volumetric efficiency under full load engine behavior. Customers will experience normally aspirated
V-8 power, without compromising V-6 fuel economy.

The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 also uses twin turbochargers, as opposed to a single unit.
The reduced size of each turbocharger results in reduced internal inertia, allowing this advanced engine to avoid the “turbo lag” often prevalent in earlier-generation turbocharged applications.
From the driver’s seat, the rewarding result is linear power delivery across a broad torque band from 1,500 through 5,250 rpm. Peak torque building quickly off idle ensures responsive acceleration from a standing start.

SelectShift with paddle controls and All-Wheel Drive
The new Taurus SHO driveline combines a high-capacity 6-speed 6F55 SelectShift Automatic transmission with a sophisticated torque-sensing All-Wheel Drive System. These components work in harmony to deliver ample traction when putting EcoBoost power on the road. The
6-speed transmission offers a wide array of gears to enable spirited acceleration, yet comfortable high-speed cruising, through a 2.77 to 1 final drive ratio.

SelectShift provides conventional automatic operation or a manual shift mode that gives the driver complete control over gear selection. For performance-minded drivers, paddle controls allow “match-rev” downshifts and will hold manually selected gears for precise control. Intuitively operated, a squeeze on either paddle will deliver an economical upshift under acceleration, while a gentle push forward brings a smooth downshift, synchronizing the engine and transmission speeds for responsive and positive engagement.

The Taurus SHO driveline is contemporized with the incorporation of a sophisticated All-Wheel Drive System that engages automatically and unobtrusively. The unit contains an advanced array of internal electromechanical clutches to efficiently distribute torque to the wheels with optimum traction. Standard all-wheel drive allows the Taurus SHO to efficiently deliver its high performance to the pavement under a wide variety of conditions.

“Taurus SHO suspension and steering have been sport-tuned to provide enthusiastic drivers with precise control, confident handling, communicative feedback and a compliant ride,” said Pete Reyes, Taurus chief engineer.

Taurus SHO features an advanced electric power assist steering (EPAS) system, providing responsive road feel and enhanced on-center balance while offering the additional benefit of increased fuel economy. SHO also features a sport-tuned suspension with unique shock absorbers, springs, stabilizer bars and strut mount bushings specifically developed and harmonized to deliver the highest level of Ford DNA road holding, cornering agility and steering responsiveness available in a Blue Oval full-size sedan.

Taurus SHO takes full advantage of the multi-link SR1 rear suspension design. Named for its 1:1 shock absorber ratio, this configuration provides an inherently stable baseline for the SHO development team to fine tune for enhanced driver control and agility. In addition, the SR1 rear suspension geometry provides increased travel, while enabling the use of 19- and 20-inch wheels and tires.

For the discriminating automotive enthusiast, Taurus SHO offers an available SHO Performance Package consisting of upgraded brake pads, recalibrated EPS for even more responsiveness,
a “Sport Mode” setting for the standard AdvanceTrac® Electronic Stability Control and a shorter 3.16 to 1 final drive ratio for faster acceleration. Performance-compound 20-inch Goodyear Eagle F1 tires on premium painted wheels also are included.

SHO Specific Subtlety
A key element of the authentic SHO formula is the subtlety of its unique exterior design cues.
Features include sporty premium painted wheels, wrapped in standard low-profile 19-inch Goodyear Eagle or optional 20-inch Michelin high-performance tires, a decklid-mounted spoiler and twin chrome exhaust tips. SHO also features a uniquely finished interpretation of the Ford signature three-bar grille with SHO-specific parking lamp bezels.

“Taurus SHO was always a stealth high-performance car,” said Earl Lucas, exterior design manager. “The new SHO builds on the expressive design of the 2010 Taurus, adding subtle cues that set it apart.”

The 2010 SHO is available in a wide range of new Taurus colors including Atlantis Green Metallic, a unique SHO color inspired by the iconic Emerald Green hue appearing in 1992.

The new Taurus SHO interior encourages performance driving. Leather-trimmed seats with Miko Suede inserts, made from recycled post-consumer yarns from plastic soft drink bottles,
are comfortable and luxurious. A perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel puts the driver in smooth touch with the road. Front seats are 10-way power adjustable. SHO accelerator and brake pedals are trimmed in aluminum. The console, instrument and door panels feature
SHO-specific authentic aluminum appliqués. SHO branding appears on the unique floor mats, and on the passenger side of the instrument panel.

Taurus SHO: Performance and Convenience
The 2010 Taurus SHO offers an impressive array of standard convenience features as well as optional features and content. Standard Taurus SHO amenities include:

Intelligent Access with Push Button Start, a new Taurus feature allowing drivers to enter the car and start the engine without using a conventional key. Drivers simply carry the fob as they approach the vehicle, touch the SecuriCode™ keyless entry keypad, open the door and enter, apply pressure on brake pedal and push a button to start the engine.

MyKey™ allows customers to activate a restricted driving mode, persistent Belt-Minder® safety belt reminder, audio system volume limits, an earlier low-fuel warning, and consistently-engaged AdvanceTrac® stability control. The top vehicle speed can be limited to 80 mph, and speed chimes can be programmed to engage at 45, 55 or 65 mph.

Easy Fuel™ Capless Fuel Filler System, a unique feature that eliminates the need for a traditional fuel cap. Easy Fuel is a hassle-free solution that provides a consistent self-seal after every refueling.

Ford SYNC® is the fully integrated, in-vehicle voice-activated communications and entertainment system standard on Taurus SHO. The system combines 911 Assist, Vehicle Health Report and GPS-based features including business search and call completion.
SYNC connects to MP3 players, iPods, memory sticks and PDAs. The latest version of SYNC in the Taurus SHO adds Traffic, Directions and Information, providing turn-by-turn route guidance and the capability to access and personalize content.

Ambient Lighting System with MyColor™ allows the Taurus SHO driver to program interior lighting from a choice of five soothing colors to suit any character or preference.

The 2010 Taurus SHO comes standard with the full array of active and passive safety equipment and features offered across the Taurus range.

Available options on the 2010 Taurus SHO include:

Reverse Camera System, a unique SHO option, activates when reverse gear is selected providing the driver with additional rear visibility, projecting on the windscreen mounted rearview mirror.

Adaptive Cruise Control, which allows the driver to set the Taurus SHO cruising speed while using radar technology to monitor traffic travelling up to 600 feet ahead, automatically adjusting speed to help maintain a preset distance between vehicles.

Collision Warning with Brake Support, enabled by Adaptive Cruise Control, provides visible and audible warnings when slower traffic is detected ahead. Brake support is activated if the driver does not respond to provided warnings, and pre-charges the brake system to prepare the vehicle for stopping.

Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with Cross Traffic Alert consists of two multiple beam radar modules, one each per rear quarter panel. When an adjacent vehicle enters the defined blind spot zone, and indicator alert provides driver warning in the corresponding sideview mirror.

Cross Traffic Alert uses existing BLIS radar modules to sense oncoming traffic while the Taurus SHO is slowly backed from a parking space. When cross traffic appears within three car widths, the system provides a visible message on the instrument panel in combination with a sideview mirror warning and an audible signal.

Multi-Contour Seats with Active Motion™ can be specified in conjunction with heated and cooled first-row positions in the new Taurus SHO. Multi-Contour functionality provides subtle but continuous massage to help prevent back pain and fatigue and is ideally suited to meet the needs of long-distance drivers.

Voice-Activated Navigation System includes a 10 GB music juke box hard drive and a single CD/DVD player. When combined with the optional rear camera system, rearview projection appears on the centerstack-mounted navigation screen.

Sony® Audio System offers 12 speakers, a digital amplifier; 390 Watts of continuous power (RMS), 115 dB of maximum bass sound pressure level and Dolby® Pro Logic® II surround technology.

The 2010 Taurus SHO will be built at Ford’s Chicago (Ill.) assembly plant and will be available in dealerships this summer, starting at a base price of $37,995, including destination.

# # #

2010 FORD TAURUS SHO
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

BODY
Construction Steel unibody
Final assembly location Chicago Assembly Plant
POWERTRAIN AND CHASSIS
ENGINE
Type 3.5-liter Twin-Turbocharged EcoBoost™ V-6
Manufacturing location Cleveland Engine Plant
Configuration 60 degree V-6, aluminum block and heads
Intake manifold Cast aluminum
Exhaust manifolds Fabricated stainless steel
Crankshaft Forged steel
Redline 6,200 rpm
Idle speed in drive 600 rpm
Throttle body 65 mm, electronic
Valvetrain DAMB, 4 valves per cylinder, intake variable camshaft timing
Valve diameter Intake: 37 mm; Exhaust: 31 mm
Pistons High-temperature cast aluminum alloy with low-friction coated skirts, low-tension rings
Connecting rods Cracked powder metal
Ignition Pencil coil
Bore x Stroke 3.6 x 3.4 inch / 92.5 x 86.7 mm
Displacement 213 cu. inch / 3,496 cc
Compression ratio 10.0:1
Horsepower 365 @ 5,500 rpm
Horsepower per liter 104
Torque 350 ft.-lbs. @ 1,500 – 5,250 rpm
Recommended fuel 87-octane unleaded (minimum) / premium (recommended)
Fuel capacity 19 gallons
Fuel injection Gas Twin-Turbo Direct Injected
Oil capacity 6.0 quarts with filter
Recommended oil GF4, 5W-20
Emission control Closed loop with catalyst
ENGINE
Federal standards Tier II/Bin 5 tailpipe, T2e evaporative
California standards ULEVII tailpipe, L2e evaporative

DRIVETRAIN
Layout All-wheel drive
TRANSMISSION
Standard 6-speed SelectShift™ Automatic with Paddle Activation
Gear Ratios
1st 4.484
2nd 2.872
3rd 1.842
4th 1.414
5th 1.000
6th 0.742
Reverse -2.882
Final drive 2.77
SUSPENSION, SPORT TUNED
Front Upgraded Macpherson strut and shocks, rear facing L-shaped lower control arm with isolated subframe and stabilizer bar; includes strut tower brace
Rear Independent multi-link suspension coil over shocks; stamped-steel lower control arms and cast upper control arms
STEERING
Type Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS)
Steering column Power tilt/telescope
Ratio 17:1
Turns, lock-to-lock 2.98
Turning circle curb-to-curb 12.05m /Â 39.7 ft.
BRAKES
Type Standard 4-wheel ABS (4 channel); AdvanceTrac® ESC with Traction control
Front Disc, twin 48 mm piston, cast iron caliper
Rear Disc, single 43 mm piston, cast iron caliper
Power assist Yes
WHEELS AND TIRES
Standard 19-inch 5-spoke Premium painted aluminum wheels, P255/45Rx19 BSW tires
DIMENSIONS (inches unless otherwise noted)
EXTERIOR
Wheelbase 112.9
Vehicle length 202.9
Vehicle width (without mirrors) 76.2
Vehicle height at curb 60.7
Track width, front/rear 65.3 / 65.5

INTERIOR
Seating capacity 5 passenger
Headroom
Front row 39.0
Second row 37.8
Legroom
Front row 41.9
Second row 38.1
Shoulder room
Front row 57.9
Second row 56.9
Hip room
Front row 56.3
Second row 55.8
WEIGHTS AND CAPACITIES (pounds unless otherwise noted)
Total passenger volume 102.2 cu. ft.
Total interior volume 122.3 cu. ft.
Luggage capacity 20.1 cu. ft.
Maximum towing capacity (properly equipped) 1,000 lbs.
Base curb weight
AWD 4,368 lbs.
Power-to-weight ratio (lbs/hp)
AWD 11.97
PACKAGES
SHO Performance Package: 20-inch Premium painted aluminum wheels; Performance summer compound summer tires; Performance brake pads; EPAS calibrated steering; ESC Track Mode; 3:16 Final drive gear ratio; Tire Mobility Kit
Specifications are preliminary and subject to change.

Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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12 Comments

  1. I owned a first-edition ’89 SHO at around $19,000 new. That translates to roughly $33k in 2009 bucks, so the price isn’t terribly out-of-line. But 4400 lbs!? I know it’s AWD, but still.

  2. There’s going to be a fight for the keys when one of these babies shows up at 100 Autosavant Plaza. My mouth is almost watering.

    The Pontiac G8 is also a fairly heavy car, though not quite as heavy as the new SHO. I know firsthand how well that car drives; the question is, would the AWD, nicer interior, and additional technology offset the G8’s substantial pricing advantage? Heck, I gave serious consideration a few weeks ago of trading in my 9,000 mile Cadillac CTS on a Pontiac G8 GXP, but there were a few reasons not to make that move. 1) I love the CTS’ technology and interior features/materials, 2) As soon as I got a 15 mpg car, gas prices would go back to $4/gallon, and 3) I’d lose my shirt on a CTS trade-in (at least $5k depreciation from the huge discount I got when I bought the car). But the G8 would have a more roomy interior and would go like stink with its extra 111 horsepower and that glorious V8 snarl.

  3. It’s heavy, but it’s a big car. As he said, it’s a big GT. It is the classic recipe for a Q-ship.

    Speaking for myself, I am definitely checking one out. I carry the kids around everywhere so I might as well have a car I can have some fun in when they’re not in the car.

  4. I wouldn’t have complaineds in the other seat. Next fast car, take me along, I won’t say anything.

  5. I love the new Taurus and SHO, but I worry that the SHO will end up cannibalizing sales from the Lincoln MKS. I know Ford wants Lincoln to be a consideration of Acura, Lexus, Mercedes, et al, buyers, but right now that just isn’t the case. Lincoln buyers are mostly current FoMoCo owners. A fully loaded SHO has about the same level of luxury equipment as the MKS, but is much sportier, so why buy the MKS? I would have preferred Ford keep some of the luxury features (the massaging seats, for instance) exclusively for the MKS, and beefed up the sporting hardware in the SHO, like actually upgrading the brake rotors and steering system.

  6. I like it and I’m 32, and I have 3-4 kids in my car all the time. I also live in New Hampshire, where it snows a lot, and this AWD would be a big help in the winter. I’m not an SUV or cross-over kind of guy, so this right up my alley. Cheaper than a loaded SUV, too.

  7. I bought a 1990 Titanium Silver 1990 new and the MSRP with options was closer to $25K but it was heavily discounted to about $19.5 K. The base price of a Taurus GL was around $12,000. Therefore the price differential by percentage over the base Taurus of 50% has not changed from the Gen. I Taurus to the Gen. IV.

    Autosavant seem to have been fortunate to have landed a 2010 SHO tester with the Performance Package (which I understand will bump the MSRP closer to $44K). Other web-azines have criticized the SHO, equipped without the Performance Package, as being too softly sprung and having less tan stellar braking feel.

    So I’m glad to see the Lexus-like drive issues may have been resolved with the PP.

    However this 4300 lb. behemoth seems less purposeful than the Gen. I SHO. Less of an enigma. In photographs it doesn’t really stand out from a $27K Ford Taurus SE. Will the Gen. IV SHO be able to draw enough buyers (not lessees) that will part with $44K?

    Fear of the SHO cannibalizing MKS sales seems a bit premature. With the Lincoln, for $49K, you are at least getting something prestigious enough to drive to the country club, provided you are a member. Something that will not look out of place next to a CTS, TL, an ES350, M35 or a even a 5 series or E-class.

  8. Now I hear there is more to love these will come with a cash rebate Wow can’t wait to get mine Glad Ford did’t take any of the funny money and is still american Go Ford Go!!!!!!!!!!

  9. MY prediction for Taurus SHO sales: Less than 3000 a year. The time for this vehicle is past.

  10. The SHO has always been about understatement and this looks to be the same. I’ve always liked that approach.

  11. I’ve had my SHO for 2 months, had to add decals to it as didn’t want it to be a sleeper. It turns head everwhere I go. A little pricey but got mine down. It is lightning fast for such a big car. Had a Camaro SS want to race me, he had heard so much about it. I am 64 & had a Road Runner when I was young, but this is a lot of muscle for an old gizzer. Great sound sytem
    as well.

  12. @mike, congrats on your SHO. Very happy that you like the car. Don’t forget to check out our full review of the car for further validation of your purchase: http://www.autosavant.com/2010/01/21/2010-ford-taurus-sho-review/

    I wrote the review linked here (not the one you commented on), and I could not believe the power and acceleration from this big car. Truly a new-generation muscle car, even with some of the handling/steering foibles that the original-generation muscle cars had.

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