1994 FORD TAURUS GL
Used Car - 1994 Ford Taurus GL in Chicago, Il
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1994 Ford Taurus ReviewThis car review is specific to this model, not the actual vehicle for sale.
In 1992, the Ford Taurus slipped past a vaunted import nameplate (the Honda Accord) to become America's best-selling automobile. Ever since, the Ford brain trust in Dearborn, Michigan, has displayed an unusually high degree of corporate common sense in adhering to the old show business adage, 'If the audience is buying your act, don't mess with the lines.'
Inside and out, on the road or at a standstill, our 1994 Ford Taurus LX test vehicle displayed the company's penchant for refining an enormously successful formula without deviating from it. The smooth, unmistakably aerodynamic styling signature of the original model has been retained for the '94 edition. The impressive combination of performance, handling and ride that propelled the Taurus to the top of the charts was more obvious during our test drive. And EPA ratings of 19 city and 28 highway continue to be good for a roomy midsize sedan.
For 1994, Ford added reassuring touches such as standard dual air bags, engineering refinements such as speed-sensitive variable power steering and improvements to the braking system. The Taurus platform shows no signs of crumbling.
As noted previously, the aerodynamic contours, sloping hood and slightly upswept rear deck that constitute the Taurus trademark look have been faithfully replicated. Ford uses subtle paint striping, color-coordinated vinyl protective side moldings and bumper coverings in lieu of the chrome trim of the earlier Taurus. The result is a nice change in appearance.
Color choices for the '94 Taurus veer slightly to the wild side. Our Taurus LX test vehicle was a hyper-bright Moonlight Blue. Color match between metal and vinyl components approached perfection. The standard die-cast aluminum wheels added a touch of glitter.
Up front on our test car, impact-resistant clear lenses enclosed halogen headlamps and integrated with amber-lensed cornering lamps that wrapped gracefully around the front fenders. Unfortunately, there was a momentary loss of that gracefulness where the taillight lenses barely began to wrap around the fender-giving the impression of unfinished work. This small stumble was the only disappointment in an otherwise highly gratifying exterior tour.
Our Taurus was loaded with standard and optional equipment. Everything was well-organized and situated for easy recognition and use.
The Taurus LX instrument panel housed a speedometer, tachometer, and fuel and temperature gauges, all easily readable through the leather-padded steering wheel. The position of the turn-signal lights , far on the periphery of the instrument/warning light cluster and not clearly visible depending on steering wheel position, was our only critical note.
The seats in our Taurus LX, including standard front buckets with six-way standard power assist for the driver, were nicely contoured and very comfortable. A full-length center console separated the front buckets and included a single cupholder-a welcome touch because the CD playser included with the optional high-level Ford JBL audio system occupied the space usually reserved for dual, pullout cupholders. The sound from that state-of-the-art system was just what we expected: absolutely superb.
Standard equipment within the Taurus LX base price includes air conditioning, power front-seat lumbar support (which we never did manage to locate power windows and door locks, and trunk and fuel door releases. The addition of a preferred equipment package gave us the JBL stereo system, a rear-window defroster, remote control mirrors, six-way passenger seat power assist, a power antenna and moonroof, and other luxury goodies.
Despite all those power assists and attendant controls, the Taurus design team created a convenient, uncluttered feel in the interior. Power window, door and window-lock controls were positioned high on the left armrest, right where our driver's hand fell. Mounted on the dash, a separate mini-console made the trunk and fuel door releases clearly visible and accessible. That same nifty little console also housed a key-activated fuel door lock-on the inside of the car, no less.
We believe it's that same push for organization and excellence in interior design that made our Taurus LX so spacious. No, there wasn't quite enough rear legroom with the front seats pushed all the way back for a tall person to assume a near-supine position. But a family of four could look forward to long hauls in this roomy, comfortable and, as a result, enormously popular vehicle.
The big trunk-thanks to its recessed spare tire well-will swallow three or four suitcases and other stuff with ease; it also includes a cargo net.
The surface-street and highway trials of our Taurus LX left us with little doubt that this formidable sedan was well-engineered to maintain its No. 1 sales position.
The silky-smooth ride the Taurus is known for was evident throughout our road tests. Yet the independent MacPherson front and conventional rear suspension, coupled with the front-wheel drive system, managed to keep us in constant touch with the road. Lane changes and cornering were flat - virtually devoid of lean or sway, and aided by Ford's variable-assist power steering, which delivered more help at low speeds and less at high ones. Simply stated, this was a smooth, stable and responsive car.
Power-train response was adequate for most driving conditions. Our Taurus LX test vehicle married an optional 3.8-liter V6 with an electronic four-speed automatic transmission. The combination accelerated nicely ftom 0 to 60 mph in a little over nine seconds, and took us from 45 to 65 mph on the highway in 6.5 seconds.
That certainly doesn't add up to breathtaking performance, but don't neglect to note several important points. First, there are the impressive EPA ratings. Second, the Taurus LX is a luxury sedan. And third, those in pursuit of pure performance can step into the hot, new Taurus SHO with its mighty 24-valve, 220-hp, 3.0-liter V6.
Bringing things to a halt with our Taurus LX was easy, thanks to its superbly effective four-wheel antilock brakes.
We subjected the Taurus LX to a inordinately lengthy test period: nine days and 1,500 miles of driving. Because we were skeptical? No .. we were simply reluctant to turn it in.
Mile after mile, this car proved why it sells-and it's not because of slick advertising or endless rebates. The Ford Taurus simply delivers virtually everything the most demanding family-sedan buyers are looking for, including purchase and resale value. Need proof? Our loaded Taurus LX sported a highly reasonable MSKP of $23,620. Way to go, Ford-for continuing to improve a great idea and refusing to merely tinker with a best-selling concept.
The good news for wagon shoppers is bad news for domestic and import manufacturers who would love to unseat the auto industry's best-selling nameplate: The 1994 Ford Taurus LX Wagon, like the Taurus sedan, shows no signs of slipping. The formula that has kept it a strong seller is still in place.
That means the Taurus Wagon has retained its unique styling signature and nimble performance characteristics, not to mention a high level of workmanship that keeps wagon buyers buying.
What's more, Ford has strengthened the recipe with a heaping helping of safe and engineering ingredients. Most significant, Ford has added dual air bags and a handling advance called 'speed assisted steering' to the 1994 version of the Taurus Wagon.
Perhaps the most remarkable trait about the LX Wagon is the fact that, besides its full roof and liftgate, it still looks a lot like the Taurus sedan. And our road tests showed even more similarities to the sedan in the way this wagon handled, performed and comforted its occupants. It was vintage Taurus in every category we tested.
Our test Taurus LX Wagon came to us bearing an MSRP of $21,345. Among other standard features, that price included a 3.8-liter V6 engine, air conditioning, bright cast aluminum wheels, a luggage rack and a six-way power driver's seat. It also featured options such as an AM/FM stereo with a cassette player, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power antenna, a rear-window defroster and wiper, and a remote keyless entry system.
As mentioned earlier, our basic impression of the Taurus LX Wagon was that its swept aerodynamic contours, raked windshield and sloping hood made it all but identical to the Taurus sedan.
For '94, Ford has deleted some chrome trim in favor of body-matched vinyl coverings that have made the wagon even more attractive. As further evidence of Ford's mission to minimize chrome and emphasize understated lines, a thin red accent stripe at the beltline replaced the chrome trim along the side of our test vehicle.
No matter what the vantage point, we found the LX Wagon's styling seamless and unified. The front bumper's ribbed vinyl protector was reprised along the sides of the vehicle in the form of bodyside cladding. The wraparound rear bumper was also protected by the same ribbed vinyl. All of these components perfectly matched our Taurus Wagon's rich, flawless Champagne Clearcoat Metallic finish.
Even the dual-action liftgate (we could raise the entire gate or just the window), with its graceful outward bow, didn't interrupt the LX Wagon's smooth look. Up top, we found a solid cargo-carrying roof rack that looked more like an aerodynamic spoiler than a functional piece of equipment. And the contemporary 12-spoke cast aluminum wheels added a touch of flare to our LX Wagon that just isn't there with many competing family vehicles.
Styling unity and sweeping curves were visible throughout the inside of the LX Wagon. From window glass to armrests to the instrument-panel housing, everything was subtly contoured.
The gracefully curved instrument panel housed the speedometer, tachometer, fuel and temperature gauges, and an extensive display of warning/function lights - all easy to see through the steering wheel (padded leather cover is optional).
Power control buttons for the windows and door locks were thoughtfully positioned on the front portion of the driver's left armrest, well within fingertip range. The 60/40 rear bench seats were curved to look and feel like bucket seats.
Regardless of the sports-car feel of the interior, Ford designers didn't forget they were creating a station wagon. That's borne out by the adequate shoulder- and legroom we found enough to comfortably seat six adults-and the generous carpeted cargo area behind the rear seat.
A portion of the rear seat folded down to handle long items such as skis, and the liftgate featured a fold out picnic table-which will make this wagon a popular tailgate site on football Saturdays.
Other interior touches we liked were the smooth hydraulic assists for the rear liftgate window, the deep cupholders and the cargo net in the concealed storage area.
On the road, the LX Wagon turned in an impressive performance: a combination of a smooth-as-silk ride, easy handling and reassuring performance.
With the LX version of the Taurus Wagon came a healthy 3.8-liter, sequentially fuel-injected V6 mated to an electronically controlled four-speed transmission. This power train brought our test vehicle close to matching the responsiveness of a sports car. From a dead stop, we made it to 45 mph in a jiffy. When passing on the highway, we moved briskly from 45 to 60 mph, with the engine breezing at a top range of 2,000 rpms. This performance was made all the more formidable by the large engine's EPA ratings of 19 city and 28 highway.
Stable cornering, nimble lane changes and easy steering have always been part of the Taurus performance package, and they were evident during our drive. Our favorite part of the test was negotiating a 90degree turn at 35 mph without the slightest hint of skidding or loss of control. Other maneuvers were even more gratifying, thanks to the new speed-assisted variable-power steering unit.
Although our test vehicle wasn't equipped with the optional four-wheel anti-lock brakes, braking was swift and free from any alarming lockups. We attributed that, in part, to the automatic transaxle that was part of our vehicle's front-wheel drive power transfer system.
As for wind, road and engine noise, they were virtually undetectable in the Taurus LX Wagon.
All of the things that have impressed us on the perennially popular Taurus were front and center on the '94 LX Wagon. The superb performance characteristics, particularly in steering and handling, may have even been superior to previous models. The balance between performance and fuel efficiency remained good, and the addition of dual air bags only added to our confidence in this wagon.
Building on the Taurus' front-running nameplate seems to have become an addiction at Ford. Our positive experience with the LX Wagon suggests that its creators are in no mood to kick the habit.