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Beater That's Hard to Beat - 2000-2007 Ford Taurus

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On: Sat, Jan 10, 2015 at 11:08AM | By: Teddy Field


Beater That's Hard to Beat - 2000-2007 Ford Taurus

When Ford launched the Taurus in 1986, it turned the automotive world on its ear. Here was a stylish family car that actually wasn’t bad to drive. If you had wanted a midsize sedan that wasn’t designed with a straight ruler in the mid-80s, you would’ve been looking at an “import”. But Ford’s futuristic family car was made in good ol’ America, and that home-grown label helped it to corner the market almost immediately. It remained a best-seller for nearly two decades, but they ditched the futuristic look for the 2000 redesign, and the new ‘sophisticated’ look didn’t resonate with buyers. It was soon relegated to rental agencies and ‘senior living communities’, but it was actually the most refined Taurus to date. So if you need a reliable, non-boring car for under $5,000, the 2000-2007 Ford Taurus is one beater that’s hard to beat. Here’s why…

The fourth generation Ford Taurus was launched at the turn of the millennium, and it was immediately met with a collective yawn. Most buyers wanted a midsize sedan that would stand out in the mall parking lot, so Camry and Accord sales benefited from Dearborn’s styling misstep. But the buyers that stuck by Ford’s perennial favorite got a Taurus with more trunk space and a roomier interior than before. The new chassis design provided a smoother ride, the new steering system required less effort, had improved on-center feel, and the standard 16-inch wheels helped with grip and handling.

On long trips, the 4th-gen Taurus is shockingly smooth, and luxury car comfortable. However, if you poke it with a stick, the eager V6 comes to life and rockets you past slow moving objects “like a boss”. The comfort, handling (yes, it’ll dance through a curve too) and power are truly staggering... for a cheap Ford.

The standard engine was the ‘Vulcan’ 3.0L V6. This engine makes 155-hp/185 lb-ft, and it go for 200,000–300,000 miles if you take care of it (20 mpg is average). The transmission, on the other hand, typically craps out between 125k-175k miles. But that’s not the end of the world, because you can buy a good running 2000–2007 Ford Taurus with a bad transmission for $1,500–$2,500, then get an Aamco-type transmission rebuild with the Lifetime Warranty for around $2,000, and you’ll never worry about tranny problems again! The Vulcan V6 is tough as nails, so pairing it with a new transmission will give you at least 100k–200k miles of reliable service (depending on the car’s mileage and condition, of course) for about $4,500. And if you change the transmission fluid and filter every 30k–40k miles (this costs about $100), you can extend the life of your Taurus transmission considerably.

The other engine choice is a DOHC Duratec 3.0L V6 that squirts out 200hp, and transforms your sensible sedan into a real ‘sleeper’. But smoking the front tires (yes, you can, even with the less powerful Vulcan V6), and generally driving like an idiot isn’t good for the tranny. And the Duratec is known for sensor/coil pack failures, so the more durable Vulcan engine is the smarter choice.

So there you have it. For less than $5k, the 2000-2007 Ford Taurus provides you with reliable, comfortable transportation. And you’ll just love the freight train acceleration! Trust me, I’ve owned several.

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