The dowdy Taurus has been given a drastic—and most welcome—upscale makeover. Exterior design highlights include a sculpted hood, bold front fenders, a front-to-back “character line,” and a high-profile tail deck. The forward-leaning control cluster inside offers “richer-feeling dash,” six air bags, electronic stability control, an anti-lock braking system, automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers, and other features “on par with luxury cars.”

Car and Driver
Hard to believe that, when it debuted in 1986, the Taurus seemed futuristic. This aging “rental queen” now has at least enough style “not to embarrass drivers when they pick up the kids at school,” and the basic 263-hp engine is adequate for a family car. Techie features include the optional multi-contour massaging front seats, and MyKeys that can be programmed to limit top speed and audio volume.

Road & Track
Chevy’s Impala should start worrying. The chic new Taurus, almost as refined as its cousin the Lincoln MKS, comes with a lower roofline, longer wheelbase, “European flair, and a sportier character.” The chrome wheels may be “a bit passé,” but enthusiasts will love the body creases and trunk lip spoiler. A 3.5-liter V6, mounted to a six-speed automatic transmission, is standard.