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Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable Sedans Pre-2008



  • The 'bucket' seats are those in the floor shift cars, the 'bench' is the seat with the flip/fold console/armrest between the seats. Although they look the same, they're most definitely different seats, and I can feel the difference. My '98 has buckets, and similar '98/'99 cars are a LOT more confortable with the buckets than the bench. I've driven some 2000-03 cars with both types of seats, and they're still more comfortable with buckets.

    The bench seats felt like hard slabs, with less thigh support, less lumbar support (this is in cars without power lumbar on either type seat), and it felt like you sat ON the seat, not IN it. And I'm comparing power seats, same upholstery type, etc.

    I sought out a bucket car on purpose, and have not regretted my decision one bit. I've been on a couple of 500+ mile trips (one way) and have been very comfortable without fatigue. For me, the buckets are the best choice. I'd recommend that people try both types and decide what suits them best.
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    I think that the Hertz rented SES with "bench" seats did feel different than my wife's SEL with buckets, but think ehenness is much more versed in the subject.

    I haven't seen the new dash/steering wheel (where has everyone seen it) but I do like the dash on my wife's but do wish the wheel has audio controls.
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    Okay...did some web surfing and found some 2004 pictures. A few comments:

    1 - I have to agree with the steering wheel comment, I like the old one better. Also, the cruise control buttons look like add ons...more suited to my son's Focus.

    2 - As to the gauge placement...looks to me like change for change sake. Think the old style has a more traditional look (it worked for Mercedes for a long time) and the new look doesn't bring anything to the table for me.

    3 - Is the console new this year too or was that change made before? I like the adjustable cup holder and the general look of my wife's 2001 better.

    4 - Finally...I noticed 3 vertical buttons just to the right of the gauge cluster. Are they trying to go back to that "remote" button audio control method they had back in the mid 90s?? If so, I think that is a lame alternative to wheel mounted controls.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    My guess is those buttons operate the functions of the new "driver information center"-I don't know for sure as I have only seen the photos in the Ford web site which are too small.

    I am going in to get my 30k mile transmission fluid/filter change after work at my dealer after work, so if I see any 04's around I will take a closer look and report back tomorrow.
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    I find radio control buttons on gauge cluster on my older Taurus very convinient.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    The new VW style gauges is b/c the new designer at Ford worked at VW before (I don't remember his name). I also liked the old steering wheel style from Taurus & Windstar (they are the same) much more than the new one on the Freestar and 2004 Taurus, but the illuminated cruise and audio controls are certainly a welcome addition.

    The 3 buttons are for the message center, also copied from other Ford models, and could be very useful.

    Another illuminated control missing from the Freestar (for the first time) is the audio power/volume knob. You can't see it at night. It's beyond my thoughts why Ford decided to do so. In the 2004 Taurus it shouldn't be a problem, since the audio & temp. controls remains unchanged. Ford says that the Freestar is the best minivan Ford has ever built (?) I doubt if it really is :-(

    I really hope that someone of Ford is reading our posts and will improve these things in the next models.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    I couldn't find any '04 Tauri on my dealer's lot, even though their web site said they had about 10. I did get a brochure however, and the three buttons to the right of the dash do control the message center and the trip odomoter. The buttons are labeled from top to bottom SET, INFO, and RESET. Per the brochure, the message center(standard on all Tauri) can provide info on average fuel economy, distance to empty and several other diagnostics it also includes a trip elapsed time setting/odometer.

    Per the brochure at least, only the SEL has the white gauges with black markings, all other models have black gauges. Speedometer is now offset to the right with equal sized tach on the left. Don't know if I like that, but is no big deal either way. The steering wheel is different, but appears OK. Might be slightly better ergonomics to the cruise control buttons. Otherwise no earthshaking changes.

    As usual, my service experience at this place was phenomenally quick. In after work, out in less than 45 minutes. They have service department hours until 11 pm every week night and also 8 AM-5 PM saturdays. I called ahead for appointment, but they said no need, just bring it in and they would get on it right away. Pricey, though as I expected-$132, but I decided at least for the first (30K) transmission service I would let the dealer do this one. Other routine things like oil changes and all filters I do myself, so my overall routine maintenance costs are pretty low.

    I got a quick look at a new Freestar in show room. Looked OK inside, though it appears a lot more spartan than our 96 Caravan SE Sport. Exterior was so close to Windstar that I doubt if most people will even notice it.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    Sorry, i don't agree.

    The taurus has been far from competitive to the camry and accord for some time now. Even the previous generation camry and accord were far better cars. With the introduction of the new malibu and rapid improvement of the south korean entries, the taurus is finding itself overwhelmed in this segment.

    what do i base this on? if you follow the auto industry i think you know i can list a long "laundry" list of the whys.

    how can the taurus possibly be competitive when ford needs to use HUGE incentives in order for them to sell.

    ford is doing exactly the right thing in regulating these cars to rental/fleet sales. the taurus name has too much of a "rental" car connotation to use on a new model.

    the ford futura is one of my most anticipated cars.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    Unlike some, I build my discussion on different aspects, not on incentives that Ford gives.
    I had 93 Civic (brand new), 91 Accord(used) and 99 Accord (brand new). They were very good cars. But they were just cars like others. I didn't see any superiority on those I drove...
    Handling wise I think My Taurus is as good as my last Accord. In fact,it is quiter with Yokohoma Avid tires
    Styling wise, I really like gen.4 Taurus that I have one now. Accord is good too (camry is ugly) but why pay extra to name..
    Quality wise, I am very happy with it. It just shows some problems here there but easy to fix and cheaper to maintain. I do my own maintenance, parts are widely available and reasonable priced.
    As a matter of fact I am shopping Wagon Duratec now as second car to replace Neon. Taurus gives the most bang for your buck. And each time I lurke into Accord Problems forum, I laugh at those people. They paid the premium price but they just got an ordinary car.

    Some people talks about refinement bs that I never understood. What is so refine about Accord and Camry? Bottons..? Steering wheel..? Shifter...?
    What..? I belive this is just a hype. People love to belong a social class. Definitive entities of this class can be house, neigborhood, car, brand name clothing etc...
    I believe, the accord owners or I should say import owners (they are not really import in this global economy) are associating themselves with such class and trying to justify their purchase by telling themselves that how refine their cars, how superior the thecnology of their cars and try to boost their confidence on their imports by simply humiliating other brands. At least this is what they think.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    so the accord is actually not a superior car at all but only so in the minds of its owners. clever of honda and toyota to be able to fool so many people (even the people who work at ford).

    why did ford ever bother to introduce the ford focus? i'm sure the civic and corolla were not superior cars to the escort but only so in the minds of its owners.

    and why is ford even going to the trouble to build the ford futura and 500? don't those idiots at ford know the taurus is more than a match to the accords and camrys of the world. it doesn't matter how many times they been redesigned while the same ole taurus carrys on.

    memo to ford. it's not the car's fault but the gullible consumer who's in big time denial who doesn't know any better.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    without the Sarcasism.

    i guess what i find so astonishing is that no one on this topic seems to share my frustration with ford for neglecting this all important segment for so long.

    if there's any frustration on the part of anybody it seems to be focused on ford's competition.

    thankfully, it does appear that ford is finally getting on the right track with the futura and 500.

    they certainly wouldn't be going anywhere by blaming the consumer for their current situation with the taurus.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    Yes, Accord (and/or Camry) is not a super car at all. It is all in their mind. How often you read Honda Accord problems forum. Look at the amount of complaints related to fit and finish, transmission, brakes ....
    Honda made big mistake by pulling hatcback civic out from the market. Ford realized that put Focus into market and got market share. Many young people are driving hatcback focus. Now small car market is dominated by Neon, and Focus. Everywhere used to be hatcback civic. Now, you see many Neon and Focus in traffic.
    Why do you have frustration? Every company has its own strategy. If Ford thinks it is time to put new car into market let them do it. If they fail, it will be their problem. The same thing for Honda or Camry.
    Please try not to attach yourself to these car companies emationally. But if you think Ford is doing bad job which causes frustration on you, you might want to apply Ford for a position like R&D CEO or Marketing CEO or something. And we'll take it from there...
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    I must agree with you...Ford spent so much time concentrating on the SUV that it totally forgot folks who wanted a real car for the family. The Taurus did not deserve to be relegated to the back burner for so long. I say again, its like they lost interest when the public did not like the oval Taurus.

    We drove vans for better than 16 years (one Toyota and two full size Fords) but now that the kids are no longer hauling everything they own everywhere we wanted to return to a "real car".

    My Mom's got a 2000 Camry LE and its a nice car but really think it is very "cheap looking" compared to my wife's 2001 Taurus SEL.

    You know, why do we always have to please everyone. Toyotas are fine vehicles if that's what you want. Ford did a lousy job with the Focus unless your my son who's got 45,000 trouble free miles on his 2001 SE.

    Different people see the world differently and I say thank God for that! If you want to drive an SUV or a Toyota or a Honda well that's great. But I think companies need to not put all their eggs in one basket like Ford did with SUVs. I hope that when they come out with the 500 they don't do the same thing again...
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Well, car companies put their eggs in the basket with the money in it, and SUV's & trucks have kept Ford alive while they've been scratching their heads desperately trying to build a Camry. The bean counters won't let them do it. They could do it, but would it sell enough to make a profit with what it costs to make it that good? That's the problem domestics have right now, because Toyota, and to a lesser degree, Honda, already have this process clocked. The 96 Taurus was built to exceed the 92 Camry, and in many ways it made it. But in the end, the bean counters thrifted out a lot of what the designers put in, and it was a very good car, but not quite up there in NVH, or longevity. Then, there was the styling, which was too ovid for many, me included.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    Throughout the 7 years that I had my 91 Toyota Camry I went twice to Ford dealers to trade to a Taurus wagon, preferably. I needed something roomy and safe for my growing children.

    First time 1993 I didn't get the Taurus wagon basically because my wife right there and then,in front of the salesman and manager, mentioned that after seeing the wagon she really wanted a minivan. Taurus wagon would've been sufficient. In 1996 we went again to a Ford dealership but I didn't like the car's sloping hood. Did not buy it.

    What's the point here? Even though I owned a Camry I still wanted the perceived virtues of a Ford Taurus, which my Camry didn't possess then. My car felt like an econobox. However for 7 + years never visit the shop for repairs.

    Taurus was built strong, safe and roomy. Camry was made reliable, economical and good looking. If Ford would've put great effort into putting dependability in the Taurus people would've flocked to get it.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    if i'm not mistaken, the civic line is still the top seller in the small car market. and there is a civic hatchback (it doesn't sell very well though).

    you're not going to be able determine a car's overall reliability by reading a forum board.

    i see you still continue to insist that consumers are being "duped" into spending more money for their camcords. your entitled to your opinion and i won't take it personally. but i think ford would love to have the demographics that honda has with its accord.

    thanks for your (along with danielj6, nvbanker and fdthird) input.
  • beedublubeedublu Posts: 236
    I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this question, but here I go:

    I'm considering buying a brand-new '03 Taurus SES Deluxe sedan, but I'm wondering how much below invoice I should go for my initial offer.

    I've always understood that Ford gives the dealer an additional 3% of MSRP (in addition to the normal holdback) on "leftover" models. In this case, that would be about $679. (MSRP is 22645 + 660 destination charge = $23310).

    Any suggestions on where I should start (ballpark estimate)? The dealer in question has about 25 '03s on his lot and twice that number of '04s.

  • eng6ineeng6ine Posts: 29
    Lets put it this way.......I would buy a Taurus with square wheels before I would even think about buying a Honda or Toyota.....however my wife does own a Honda civic that has bee very reliable.....but no more reliable than my Taurus :)
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    For the first 100,000 miles, it's about personal preference in what you like and feel comfortable.
    For the next 100,000 miles, I bet on the Civic to keep you going more cheaply, generally, and from experience.

    However, my Explorer has 115,000 miles on it, just needed it's first major repair - a water pump and a front end bushing. That's not bad.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    sometimes dealers even have more discounts available..

    start at invoice - 3% and work up from there. Find out ahead of time ALL incentives and subtract those from the adjusted invoice price.

    if the deal is close, no need to haggle over a couple hundred bucks.
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