The Bottom Line
Twenty years ago, Ford unleashed the Taurus SHO: Sensible family car on the outside, renegade on the inside. 2010 brings an all-new SHO built around Ford's new EcoBoost V6, a 3.5 liter engine with direct fuel injection and twin turbos that develops 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque and boasts the same fuel economy as a regular Taurus (albeit on premium gas). All-wheel-drive, retuned suspension and steering, and subtle badging round out the Taurus SHO. It sounds good on paper, but how does it work on the street? Read on.
- EcoBoost V6 provides lots of power without using lots of fuel
- Excellent grip, comfortable ride
- Looks just like an ordinary Taurus
- Wimpy engine note
- Not particularly engaging to drive
- Looks just like a ordinary Taurus
- SHO is the high-performance version of the all-new 2010 Ford Taurus
- Price range: $37,995 - $46,825
- Model tested/price: Taurus SHO, $37,995
- EPA fuel economy estimates: 17 MPG city/25 MPG highway
- Best rivals: Pontiac G8, Infiniti G37
Guide Review - 2010 Ford Taurus SHO
The original Taurus SHO was an outlaw - a Japanese (Yamaha) V6 engine with a manual transmission bolted into the very car that defined sensible American family transportation. Fast-forward twenty years, and the Taurus SHO is back -- but now it has a family, a sizable gut, a house in the suburbs and an office with a view. It can still kick butt, but why make waves?
Don't get me wrong - the 2010 Taurus SHO is a very impressive car. The engine produces a wall of turbo-lag-free torque, the suspension clings to the curves like a wet T-shirt, and the ride is amazing - firm as a German, yet it takes the edge off hard jolts as if the suspension was made of Vicodin. Inside, the SHO boasts the best electronics suite this side of Steve Wozniak's bedroom.
What's missing? Passion. This car has mad skillz, yo, but it goes through the motions as if it's just going through the motions.
Take the SHO's steering-wheel shifter paddles. They don't work unless you first shift the transmission from "D" to "M", totally killing the spontaneity. It's a metaphor for the whole car: 20 years ago, you could call up the SHO at 10pm on a Friday and say "Let's go start a bar fight," and it would say "Be there in ten, Holmes!" The 2010 SHO says "Hold on, let me check my appointment book."
My Defining Moment came when I floored the accelerator in a Chrysler 300C that Ford had provided for comparison. The SHO goes, handles and looks better than the 300C, but when you give it the beans, the 300C lets loose with an outlaw V8 roar. The SHO makes more of a fervent rattle. Performance: Plenty. Attitude: Absent.
The SHO provides a lot of performance for $38k (though not so much for $46k), but at the end of the day, it's basically a very nice, very fast Taurus. Does it deserve the SHO letters? I'll let others debate that. Me, I prefer the letter G, as in G8 and G37. -- Aaron Gold