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Ford Taurus

Ford Motor Company introduced the Ford Taurus for the 1986 model year to great acclaim, not only from the press but the buying public as well. It remained a perennial best seller until a major redesign in 1996 (a mild refreshing occurred in 1992). The engines ranged from a 100hp 2.5L 4-cylinder found in the MT-5 model, to either a 140hp 3.0L or 3.8L 140hp, found in the L, GL, and LX models, to a 220hp 3.0L DOHC V6 produced by Yamaha in the SHO model (debuting in 1989, with a 5-speed only). A 3.2L Yamaha DOHC V6 debuted in 1993 for an automatic equipped SHO, which still had 220hp, but 15 lb-ft more torque, up from 200 lb-ft. A 200hp 3.0L DOHC Ford designed Duratec engine became available with the 1996 redesign, along with a 235hp 3.4L DOHC V8 with Yamaha designed heads for the SHO model, but the 5-speed was gone, only an automatic survived.

The SHO model changed the dull reputation of the Taurus. When it debuted in 1989 with a sticker around $20,000,it improved the make's performance. With mid-6 second 0-60 mph times, and a top speed around 145 mph, it could keep up with such performance cars as Ford's own Mustang GT, Chevrolet Camaro Z28s, and the Diamond-Star twins; Mitsubishi Eclipse and Eagle Talon, both in turbocharged form. The SHO, however, wasn't the sales success that Ford had hoped. It had little exterior differentiation from lesser Taurus models, only understated ground effects. The interior was very different, giving way to some very comfortable and supportive sports seats, and an 8000 rpm tachometer.

The 1996 model year brought great change to the Taurus. Ford tried to get back some thunder that the original Taurus had back in 1986, when it introduced a mid-size, smartly styled aerodynamic sedan, which was very different from any other sedans Detroit was producing, and most of the world, except Audi. This radical oval shape of the 1996 Taurus was not well received by the press or the public, and the Taurus lost its top spot from the sales charts. The 1996 and later Taurus was truly a better car than one it replaced, but the styling held it back. The 235hp V8 in the SHO model (produced from 1996 to 1999), was very impressive, but lacked the all-out acceleration and top end charge of the previous DOHC 3.0L V6 5-speed SHO.

This model was also exported outside North America to Japan, Australia and New Zealand, in right hand drive, but this proved unsuccessful.

For 2000, Ford had a mild restyle from the controversial oval design theme, to a less controversial angular theme. It never reclaimed the top spot in car sales again.

For information on other vehicles see: List of automobiles.

External source: See for more information about the SHO models.