2011 Ford Taurus SHO new car reviews

The Taurus is no longer just for Grandma. The SHO is back.
Our test car looked good in black.

Better than: regular SHO
But not as good as: M3
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 75.28

Welcome back, Taurus SHO. For lack of better words, the original 1989 SHO simply blew our minds. What, a high-output Taurus that really was high-output? How did that get past the committee?

The original SHO featured a Yamaha-developed, 3.0-liter engine backed by a five-speed transmission. Its 220 horsepower may seem tame today, but in 1989 that was serious stuff. Back in the late '80s, four-door sedans just didn't misbehave like that.

The SHO remained part of the Taurus lineup through two redesigns before finally leaving the option list after the 1999 model year. Even the Taurus nameplate itself went away for a while, replaced with the rather generic Five Hundred badge.

First the Taurus came trotting back, and the SHO soon followed. It was new for 2010.

The latest SHO features all-wheel drive plus a twin-turbo, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that pushes 365 horsepower through a six-speed automatic transmission.

Our car also had something called Rapid Spec 402A ($3500 for heated and cooled front seats, power moonroof, Sony audio system, rear sunshade and some other frills) plus a $995 SHO Performance Package that included a 3.16:1 final drive and 245/45 tires. Finally, the voice-activated navigation system added $1850 to the tally.

But wait, there's more. We also put this one on the corner-weighting scales. Total weight was 4278 pounds.

LF: 1301 RF: 1283

LR: 852 RR: 842

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

First off, nice to see the SHO name coming back. We missed you. Let's see, what else? I'd say it's also a handsome vehicle. Handsome? Yes, I went there.

I'm also a fan of Ford's EcoBoost engine, so nice to see it in something with only four doors. Can't wait to see it in a Mustang, though.

I haven't spent a ton of time in the latest Taurus, but I don't remember the B-pillars being so huge--like really, really thick. Add in the other thick pillars and somewhat high waist, and the latest Taurus, SHO or not, feels kinda bloated. I know all of that thickness is supposed to make us safe, but how about reverting back to basics and engineering in some common sense safety--like letting me see traffic so I can properly negotiate things? I know, a novel concept.

Per Schroeder Per Schroeder
PowerDork

Holy Crap—I didn't realize what a big car this was until they made it sporty—if they had left it soft and slow, I wouldn't have attempted to sling it around a corner and run ripshod over apexes, cones and bystander with equal measure. It's big—it's fast—and it has more grip than it has any right to, but damn, what a huge-feeling car. Would love to see one in P71-guise (except in my rearview)

Scott Lear Scott Lear

Here's an odd critter from Ford: A rocket sled. We were fortunate to have the SHO during a week when we had a schedule date at our usual test track, the Ocala Gran Prix, so we were sure to get a few laps around the facility in Ford's latest Super High Output sedan. The Taurus SHO was a delight on the drive over, I really liked the brown leather trim on the black and silver interior. This Taurus is a great highway cruiser, and it has gobs of straight-line thrust for passing trucks on the narrow highway leading out to Ocala. The transmission wasn't as telepathic as the best autos out there, but it didn't fall on its face. Around the Ocala circuit, the Taurus is a surprising handler, although the tires and brakes do start to give up after a couple of laps due to the car's insanely high curb weight. All-wheel drive and a nose-heavy balance means that push is the prevailing condition when the traction runs out. Amusingly, this SHO turned in a quicker lap than our Classic Motorsports Sunbeam Tiger project, so it's not exactly a slouch even on a tight course.

Even with turbocharging and all-wheel drive, this $40K family sedan is more cruiser than racer. For an enthusiast, an STI or an Evo makes more sense in my eyes, though the Ford certainly has them beat in the size and comfort departments. I'd like to see one of these at an HPDE someday.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
alfadriver
alfadriver UltimaDork
4/12/11 2:55 p.m.

One note- AFAIK, a manual option is NOT available. The paddles allow you manual control, though.

shoman04
shoman04 None
12/12/11 12:33 a.m.

Hi guys, you guys put the M3 in front of the SHO but not even a fair compair. the M3 is a 2 dr. 67K loaded(25k more) , 700lb lighter, 40hp more, but only .9 (1/4 mi) .8 (0 to 60) faster than the SHO. M5 is more the same cars but for the same # drifferents its 80k loaded. AS A EVERYDAY JOE, I can afford the SHO (I have a 11 Kona blue SHO) but not M3 surely not M5

Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
12/21/11 2:15 p.m.

@ Shoman04- The "better than/not as good as" bits are more fun than for any serious comparison. A 335i xDrive would be a better benchmark in a real test. I'm not sure what a "regular" SHO is either.

@ Alfa- You're correct. I'm not where the reviewer got that information, but it's fixed in the text now.

kanaric
kanaric Dork
1/1/13 3:58 a.m.

"The paddles allow you manual control, though. "

Ya, fake manual control. This isn't a dual clutch gearbox, it is a regular autotragic.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

Welcome back, Taurus SHO. For lack of better words, the original 1989 SHO simply blew our minds. What, a high-output Taurus that really was high-output? How did that get past the committee?

The original SHO featured a Yamaha-developed, 3.0-liter engine backed by a five-speed transmission. Its 220 horsepower may seem tame today, but in 1989 that was serious stuff. Back in the late '80s, four-door sedans just didn't misbehave like that.

The SHO remained part of the Taurus lineup through two redesigns before finally leaving the option list after the 1999 model year. Even the Taurus nameplate itself went away for a while, replaced with the rather generic Five Hundred badge.

First the Taurus came trotting back, and the SHO soon followed. It was new for 2010.

The latest SHO features all-wheel drive plus a twin-turbo, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that pushes 365 horsepower through a six-speed automatic transmission.

Our car also had something called Rapid Spec 402A ($3500 for heated and cooled front seats, power moonroof, Sony audio system, rear sunshade and some other frills) plus a $995 SHO Performance Package that included a 3.16:1 final drive and 245/45 tires. Finally, the voice-activated navigation system added $1850 to the tally.

But wait, there's more. We also put this one on the corner-weighting scales. Total weight was 4278 pounds.

LF: 1301 RF: 1283

LR: 852 RR: 842

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