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Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable Sedans Pre-2008



  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    I am just tired of having to defend a position which I feel is very valid: Taurus is a family size car with good reliability and solid build quality, decent acceleration with a reasonably "sophisticated" 200 HP DOHC V-6, good handling, and is still reasonably priced. Yes maybe it is not "best in class" but it is close enough to be a good choice, especially when you are paying thousands less for it. You can argue about how many thousands less it is , but I think it is a definite fact you will not find a new V-6 Accord or Camry nearly as inexpensive and widely available as a Duratec equipped Taurus/Sable.

    Venus, from your last post, are you now saying you would have to pay about list price of $23K for an Accord LX V-6? If so, then we are back up to about a $5K difference. If you believe you can get it at about invoice, then we are into the $3-4K difference.

    In any case, can we agree that Taurus is a good value, even though it may not be best in class? Test drive a new Duratec equipped Taurus or Sable yourself and even you may grudgingly agree.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    amen badgerfan.

    I'll add that a Taurus is a lot more defendable than say, a Century or something of that ilk.

    Yeah the Taurus will not win a C/D comparo, yet the overall package is underated by a lot of folks IMHO.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    i agree that the taurus is a good value and with your points in the first paragraph. look at this way, no need for you to defend your position for i'm the one willing to pay the thousands more and it's me who's doing the defending.

    you're probably right about the switch and bait with the accord lx v6. the local dealer has 24 ex v6 accords and only 2 lx v6 accords coming in. i don't know if one could get an accord lx v6 at invoice but it's probably less likely than getting the more expensive ex v6 accord at invoice. i just love those marketing people.
  • Thanks for the info. I like my local Firestone dealer and have bought quite a few tires from him, but they were mostly for cars not driven on trips and for which ride was not important. I think I will try the Turanzas. One last question are they quiet? I have found that the other Firestone/Bridgestones I have had were all noisy.
  • I had Pirelli P400s on my Sable for years, good wet and dry handling tire. Currently have Dunlop SP sport A2 on my Taurus, very good also. Be really fussy about tires - cheap tires defeat averything else in your car, like cheap speakers on a good stereo.
    Great info on tires at Tire Rack, you can redo the search based on preference for handling, smoothride/ quiet, etc. When you open the link you may have to refresh (F5) to view the page: p;am- p;am- p;autoModel=Taurus&autoYear=1993
  • I've never had the Turanza LS-Ts on any other car (they're new for 2002), so the only comparison point I have is with the factory-issued General G4S tires the Taurus came with. The Turanzas are slightly quieter than the Generals; I don't find them objectionably loud. The ride is better, the handling is much tighter, and the traction is much better (especially since the Generals got hard and began sliding on slightly hard braking even though there was plenty of tread and the air pressure was correct).

    If you go to a local dealer (and a Firestone/Bridgestone one at that) they should be aware of the 30-day ride guarantee. It might be a pain to go back again, but you'd at least get to try them for yourself and get the whole price back as credit for something else if you dislike them.
  • bcohenbcohen Posts: 58
    My wife went on her own and picked out some "cheap" tires at Discount Tires...the Dominators for her Taurus. But, I'll tell you, they are actually really good tires so far for wet, dry, and snow. We'll see how long they last, but so far I would highly recommend them. Good value.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    I must be one of the last people on earth to drive a taurus, but this week I finally got one for a rental (I usually end up with a GM or Toyota).

    Overall, I think the car is good in about every area. It was very solid, good fit and finish, reasonable power at all speeds. After a week, I felt like I had a toyota as it was quite competent, but not impressive, in most areas.

    Downsides: Seats were firm but not supportive. Very bland styling even though they were base equipment. CD stereo had inferior sound compared to base Delco systems. Ride was too firm and a bit loud, but some people prefer to call it "sporty" so I guess that is subjective. Engine was a bit weak on the Torque side, but not bad. The engine computer had a bit of trouble regulating the choke when starting, but the temp. in Maine was -15F that morning so I suspect other cars had problems too. The car (idling) was on the verge of stalling for the first minute. Didn't notice a recirculation button for climate control.

    Upsides: Tight handling, radio controls were numerous, but logical. I like how they eliminate the double duty buttons found on some Improvement over past Ford systems. Good gas mileage. Solid build...the doors have a vault-like feel, very nice.

    Overall, my driving experience was much like driving a toyota, bland but very competetant. However, it feels much more solid, and I would buy a Taurus over a Toyota/Honda in a heartbeat.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Being a rental Taurus, it likely had the base engine Vulcan V-6. The Duratec V-6 is definitely a big step up for not a lot of money. I prefer firm seats and firm but not punishing ride, and have not noted the seats to be unsupportive. You may have gotten the base manual drivers seat in your rental as well, with less adjustability than the power seat in my SES.

    Again, as I have stated before, Taurus is not "best in class", but when you look at what you will pay for it, it is a good choice. Almost all the bells and whistles for actual buy price of about $18-$19K. I would have to think long and hard to spend another $3-$6K to get the "perceived" better features/performance of V-6 versions of the CamCordAltiPassats.

    Of course, if you lease or trade often, then maybe your decision process is different due to the effects of less depreciation of some of the foreign badged competitors. If you buy outright and keep your car a long time like me, then depreciation means nothing.
  • R&T did a comparo of the Accord, Mazda 6, Altima, Camry and Passat, all with V6's and heavily loaded. Ford not included due to lack of available test car. Several interesting things struck me from this article.
    1.) Prices on the competition are scary. VW=30,400, Camry=31,484, Altima=28,687, Accord=26,260 and Mazda=24,400. Not included in the comparison is the Maxima, while also hits the high 20s / low 30s. These are MSRP but even the shrewdest negotiator isn't likely to come close to the 18-19K you'd pay for a loaded T/S with an MSRP of around 24K.

    2.) Based on numbers alone, which I realize don't always tell everything about a car, the T/S holds it's own against almost any measurement - speed, handling, interior room, etc. In fact, on the space categories, it wins more often than not. Yes it's an older design that needs to be updated to stay competitive, but price is it's big trump card.

    3.) All isn't rosy for the T/S. For example, Ford shouldn't have gone cheap with the rear drums. Braking is clearly a weak point for the T/S and rear drums on a 3500lb car can't be helping. Ditto for the de-contented dual exhaust which would probably add some more hp and torque. 200hp barely cuts it these days with the new V6 family sedan standard about 220-240hp. Heated seats should also be an option on the T/S given all the higher end models that ship with leather standard and given that most of the competitors offer it. Same for the traction control/power passenger seat/side airbags option which lists for roughly $400 but which I couldn't find on any of the cars in my area back in 2000 at least. Given the fairly insignificant impact on the bottom line, these should be standard. (this is Ford's bread and butter family sedan so why wouldn't most families want better traction and safety for maybe $3 more a month on the payment.)

    4.) However, the T/S's win in the engine category in terms of fuel - all the other cars require premium 91. Incremental fuel costs over the life of the car would add up.

    5.) Finally, imagine if Ford worked on the T/S even a little. Presumably Ford makes money on these, even if the margin is low. Selling 400,000 of these must have a positive impact on the bottom line. Could boost the engine a bit (easy since the Duratec lives in Lincolns/Jags with more power), up the content a bit (brakes, exhaust, better quality leather, heated seats, traction control, power antenna, fancier hinges in the trunk to free up more space, toss a subwoofer in the trunk to boost the MACH audio option, audio controls on the steering wheel, maybe zenon type headlights/driving lights as an option, etc.), then make 17" alloys with 215 size tires an option. Instead of the current 18-19K out-the-door price, do this for say 21-23K, then market this thing properly and sales would likely take off even more. Many of these changes could also be offered only on the top-end models, so folks looking for a 16K GS would still be covered. Problem is that for the Sables at least, it would be hard to justify the price on a V6 Lincoln LS when the two could be parked side-by-side in the showroom.

    Bottomline is these are solid cars for a great price but with just a little more work, they'd be unbeatable.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    agree on a lot of those points, but so many shoppers nowadays see the Taurus as so familiar looking they just bypass it anyways.

    Owning a 99 SHO I see the benefits of things like 4 wheel discs. When I rented a 2000 one time and drove through hilly country it freaked me out because the disc/drum brake setup was so scary in comparison!

    Ford would have to do a reskin to recreate interest in the car again for a lot of people, as they still see the silhouette being too familiar to the 96-99....i think this is what hurts it the most in the market, still too roundish for many in a time when creases are envogue. Too bad the Mondeo is not here.

    I think as far as Taurus Sable goes, make the 200hp duratec the standard motor and make an option for an uprated Duratec (with vvt). Just pluck the engine from the Mazda6 or Lincoln LS. Make it about 230hp.

    Redo the styling as much as possible without having to redo the structure of the car....i.e. reskin on the cheap to get rid of more of the oval look.

    Either redo the dash and door panels again or upgrade the materials and controls on it now. Make more comfort options, like htd seats and give us nicer leather. And how bout a DECENT sound system, something that rivals an aftermarket system maybe instead of continually offering these cheeseball factory systems. An mp3 player input maybe?

    Then, to add interest, let SVT take a shot at using the vvt duratec and tune it to about 240-270 hp and get a Getrag manual tranny and make a Taurus SVT. Try to keep the price of the SVT Taurus reasonable (i.e. not over 30k). The orginal SHO always generated a lot of interest in the Ford line and I think Ford needs to offer a performance Taurus again. If they can make a limited number of Focus with special manual transmissions every year, I see no reason to not do it with the Taurus. Even if SVT sold 5-10000 of them it would restore part of a special image to the Ford Taurus.

    Of course in my fantasy world, they take v8 Taurus duratec based motor and pump it up to 300+ hp and offer it in an AWD version. The v8 SHO motor is based on the v6 Contour motor (v6 + 2 cylinders). If they took the Duratec 3.0 vvt motor and made a v8 out of it and performance tuned it through SVT, they would have a 4.0 litre v8 with vvt, and then they could microfinish the intakes, etc. and get about 325hp+ out of it.

    I think most would just be happy with a performance v6 though. I sure would.
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    Some weak points on Sable:

    Rear drums. Though I have no probelm with it, I kepp a distance usually, sometimes it may be scary, because the car accelerates really fast and you don't notice it until you suddenly have to stop ASAP.

    Seats are comfortable - more comfortable than in Camry. Actually Camry is the closets car to T/S in the market. But in both Camry and Sable I have a problem to find good driving position even though they both have power seats. Also I think that in both steering wheels are too far away (or pedals are too close). BTW I see no advantage in adjustible pedals, unless you are asian, so they should drop that feature to save money.

    AT. Doesn't work properly like in other cars, like in Camry e.g.

    Engine noise may be too harsh atlow rmps, but actually I like it. Driving Camry is more like driving an electric car. You don't feel engine and car. Everything is too smooth.

    I like how constelation of buttons are shining in the dark of the night, though to use them may be a challenge on the freeway.

    C-pillars on Sable are too thick. I have a problem with visibility. Car also could look better with thinner C-pillars in Jaguar style.

    Generally ovaloid style is getting a little long in the tooth. They should restyle it more in Lincoln or Jaguar style back in 2000.
  • ehaaseehaase Posts: 328
    Although it would have been more cost effective (just as GM is upgrading instead of replacing its W body), Ford isn't going to upgrade the Taurus in any way, with the 500 and Freestyle coming out in less than two years.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    my understanding is that the mazda 6 runs on regular unleaded gas and the accord can run on regular unleaded gas (the 240 hp is based upon regular unleaded gas and jumps to 250 hp if you want to use the premium stuff).

    one other thing ford should address with the taurus would be an improved automatic transmission.
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    Mazda6 uses Duratec with modified head - VVT and VLI. Duratec was designed for regular gas.
  • bcohenbcohen Posts: 58
    One of the car mags (I think C&D) had a small spy shot of the revised Taurus for 2004. They've gotten rid of any hint of ovals now.
  • atcersatcers Posts: 26
    Premium gas has a higher octane rating! Higher octane gas does not produce more Hp even in a Honda Accord V6!!!! Octane ratings are a measure of inflammable liquid content for fuels. Higher octane fuels burn more slowly than lower octane. It does not give an engine more power or increase it's performance. It may however help eliminate pre-detonation (pinging). Octane requirements are based on engine compression.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Your statement is not entirely accurate with some of today's electronically controlled engines.

    Some manufacturers will rate their engines at a certain HP based on use of high octane fuel, but will allow use of regular grade. Then, if the owner uses lower octane fuel, the engine is equipped with knock sensors and automatically adjusts the timing which slightly reduces preformance, to keep the engine from knocking (premature detonation) when using the lower octane fuel.

    The difference in performance on these engines is usually pretty negligible whether you use standard grade or high octane fuels.

    If the mfr recommends only use of high octane fuel, they probably designed it with compression ratios high enough that you may indeed see much poorer performance along with some objectionable knocking if you try to use regular grade gas.

    Duratec is designed for use of regular gas, and for this engine, use of premium is a waste of money.
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    If you want to see the facelifted Taurus check out the lastest issue of Road and Track.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    it doesn't look too much different unfortunately.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    your assertion is not correct. many car makers have different hp ratings for regular and premium fuel. if the engine isn't design for premium fuel in the first place, then you're correct that you will not get increase horsepower (as badgerfan stated).
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    Yeah it is just manor facelift for 2004. It is the same car except of more squarish grille and new headlamps. Still looks bloated.

    In the past they did new design every year. It was just keeping up with current fashion. Companies that couldn't do it just went out of business like Studebekker and Packard. Why American companies cannot just update style say every two years anymore.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    yeah, that's a good question. Even the ballyhoed Saturn plastic body panels, which were supposed to allow frequent style changes....well.....they still never updated the car.

    The Taurus has had the same front and rear passenger windows and cpillar windows since the 96 model and i think they have just become all too familiar for buyers.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    "for a story on HORSEPOWER, i'm looking for a passenger car buyer, NOT AN SUV, VAN OR TRUCK BUYER. and, preferably, someone who bought A NEW VEHICLE in the last 6 months. the kicker here is i want that man or woman to have bought the car based on HP, 200 hp or MORE. the look of the vehicle, tho, is important, of course. but secondary to the kick-butt engine power. i think the wolf in sheep's clothing cars like a v6 ford taurus, nissan altima or the v-6 honda accord could be kind of fun. tho, hey, i'm not going to turn away a dodge viper buyer. but i do think the others would be more interesting."
    If you fit the bill and care to share your story, please respond to asap, no later than Wednesday, January 29, with your daytime contact info and a bit about your new car.


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • atcersatcers Posts: 26
    Sorry Venus,

    My assertion IS CORRECT!!!! Please show me proof of your claim about the Honda engine and the variable Hp rating?! While Badgerfan is also partially correct in his counter to my post I was trying to simplify things down to the lowest possible denominator not explain all aspects of engines and octane ratings. Modern fuel management systems will compensate for variances in octane ratings but they are not designed to reduce horsepower numbers depending on the octane of a fuel. They are designed to reduce or limit pre-ignition or "knock" if a lower octane fuel is used on an engine that normally requires a higher octane due to higher compression. If an engine is designed to use a high octane fuel but equipped with a fuel management system that compensates for a lower octane by substantially retarding the timing enough to reduce horsepower then it really SHOULDN'T be using the lower octane gas! Thereby making sculldog33's original comment about increased operating costs correct; and your comparison that the Accord V6 can hang with the 87 octane users not so correct. It would appear that the Accord either really does need 91 octane or doesn't have a 10 hp gain by using it. The following are some interesting links for your reading pleasure.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Just thought I would let fellow Taurus owners know of a warranty extension notice I recently received in the mail from Ford on my 2000 SES Duratec. The warranty extension adds an additional 2 years/24000 miles on a specific part, the "Tube mounted EGR Pressure Sensor" which is a part in the cars emission control system. The warranty is listed as program number 02M01 and the sensor part number is 9J460.

    There was nothing in the brochure indicating what the symptoms of a failure of this part was, so out of curiosity, I called the "Ford Customer Relationship Center" number. The Customer Service rep checked the database and read me the service information, which somewhat vaguely stated that the "malfunction indicator light" (I think this is the "Service Engine" or "Check Engine" light), and you may "experience hesitation and stall/restart".

    I have not experienced any problems with mine, but if any of you have and did not get this warranty extension notice, you may want to keep this in mind.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    no need to be sorry. honda recommends 87 octane fuel for the accord even though it has a high compression ratio engine that will deliver increased horsepower when using premium fuel. you either verify this or you don't.
  • jpsmithjpsmith Posts: 44
    A few dozen posts back, badgerfan said a Taurus SES with Duratec could be had for $17K or even less with the current $3000 rebate. According to current Edmunds info, Duratec is not available on SES, you have to get an SES Deluxe which has dealer invoice in my region (61821) of $21,119 including destination charge. So, I don't see how one can get a Duratec Taurus for $17K even with the $3000 rebate. Am I missing something, or is the Edmunds info incorrect?

    I'm currently car shopping, and I do agree that Taurus is an excellent value.
  • No, you appear to be correct, as does Edmunds. I did a check at, where you can 'build your own' car. The SES Standard can't be ordered with a Duratec, and the SES Deluxe can. Ford has the invoice price listed the same as what you posted.

    It's possible that the original post referred to 2002 Tauruses. If so, either of the 2 possibilities below would allow both of you to be correct:

    1) the '02s were cheaper. Ford no lonnger lists the 2002 models at that website, but perhaps the 2002s were a bit cheaper (though it would have had to be a huge price increase between '02 and '03 to get the '02 price near $17k, since the '03 with rebate has an invoice of $18,119). I doubt, though, that it was that big of an increase--I think Ford held Taurus prices pretty close to the '02 levels.

    2) Ford dropped the Duratec option from the SES Standard from the '03s when it was available on the '02s.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Here is how I got to that approximate figure.

    When I bought SES in 2000, there was a $1000 rebate going on. For the SES I bought, that had Duratec as an option plus floor mats, at that time the MSRP of the car was $19810+$55 floor mats + $695 Duratec +$600 destination charge, total MSRP was $21160. For this car, the invoice including destination was $18,680. By bargaining hard and including the $1000 rebate at the time, I bought the car for $18K not including tax title and license which varies from state to state. So, without the rebate, I would have paid $320 over invoice

    Now, fast forward to the current model year, yes the option package mix has changed, and you have to buy the SES Deluxe with an MSRP of $22360+$660 shipping for an MSRP of $23020 and an Edmunds invoice of $20459+$660 Shipping=$21119. $21199+$320 over invoice -$3000 rebates=$18439. Ok, maybe I missed the $17k however, the SES Deluxe also has a few more standard features than my 2000 SES, a CD changer and the Duratec included in base price.
    If I were you I would shoot for under $18K plus tax, title and license. Others have posted paying $18K for SELs, which have more base features, so I think under $18K is definitely feasible.

    I also have seen recently ads for $500 owner loyalty rebates for current Ford owners, coupled with 0% financing. I do not know if you could get the current $3000 plus another $500 ownere loyalty if you do not finance. I do know that with the weak economy, it is a buyer's market.

    My original $17K estimate may have been based on 2002 prices. Note, you may still find a leftover new 2002 Taurus out there also, which you could bargain very hard on and likely do very well.
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