In late 2006, Ford Motor Company named Boeing CEO Alan Mulally to replace William Clay Ford, Jr. as its own chief executive. One of his first decisions was to abandon the unpopular "F" model naming scheme for Ford-division cars. A critic of the decision to end the usage of the Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable nameplates, Mullaly redesignated the 2008 model year update of the Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego as the fifth-generation Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable before its release to the public; the Ford Freestyle became the Ford Taurus X.
Although the change back to the Taurus addressed several major deficiencies of the Five Hundred (largely related to the powertrain), the vehicle itself still drew criticism for bland styling derived from its predecessor (one reviewer describing it as a "SUV shaped like a sedan") and handling rated behind its competitors. Although the Taurus gained 60 hp over the Five Hundred, most of its deficiences were related to its introduction essentially being a mid-cycle refresh of its predecessor under a new nameplate.
In January 2008, Alan Mullaly revealed that a sixth generation of the Ford Taurus was in development as a planned 2010 model, calling it "the one we should have built originally". In April 2008, a photograph of a full-scale prototype mockup of the 2010 Ford Taurus was leaked onto the Internet. After the styling of the prototype was seen worldwide, Ford contemplated legal action against web sites which posted the photo and Ford attorneys asked site owners to remove the photo.
Towards its launch, the Ford Motor Company website introduced several videos, benchmarking the 2010 Ford Taurus against several production flagship luxury sedans. One test video displayed that the paint coat of the Taurus was more resistant to gravel chips than a Lexus LS460 while another displayed the blind-spot detection sensor system unavailable on an Infiniti M45x. The 2010 Ford Taurus SHO was faster than an Audi A6 4.2 FSI Quattro in straight-line acceleration while the interior of the Ford Taurus was quieter than an Acura RL.
In a major contrast from previous generations of the Ford Taurus, once the highest-selling nameplate in the United States, Ford deliberately aimed for lower sales volumes. Instead of the 1990s peak volumes of nearly 400,000 vehicles a year, the intended sales were closer to 50,000 to 75,000. As a full-size car, the Taurus competed closer to the Toyota Avalon and Nissan Maxima than the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima (competitors of the Ford Fusion). Additionally, Ford sought to preserve the resale value of the Taurus by avoiding the usage of fleet sales of the vehicles (though the Taurus would replace the Crown Victoria as the Ford Police Interceptor Sedan) .
The 2010 Ford Taurus was unveiled at the 2009 North American International Auto Show at Cobo Hall. In May 2009, the new Taurus debuted at three dealers in the Buffalo, Tampa, and Houston, respectively, to be put on display and to build anticipation for the release. The first dealer, West Herr Ford in Hamburg, New York, was chosen due to the successful unveiling of the redesigned Ford F-150 earlier that year.
The 2009 Taurus's counterparts, the Ford Taurus X and the Mercury Sable, ceased production in spring 2009 at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant. The sixth-generation Taurus' production started on June 15, 2009 for the 2010 model year. Unlike previous generations of the Taurus, the sixth-generation Taurus would not have a Sable counterpart since the Mercury brand was in the process of being phased out by the end of 2010. For the first time since 2002, Lincoln dealers sold a Taurus-based sedan, the Lincoln MKS, introduced as a 2009 model.
The sixth-generation Ford Taurus is based on the Volvo-derived Ford D3 platform architecture, sharing the 112.9-inch wheelbase of the Lincoln MKS and the previous Ford Taurus (Five Hundred). As with its predecessor, the Ford Taurus features a front-wheel drive powertrain as standard with the option of an all-wheel drive configuration (standard on the SHO).
As with all other D3 sedans, the Ford Taurus is configured with four-wheel independent suspension, featuring MacPherson struts and rearward-facing lower L-arms with a stabilizer bar in the front and a multilink coilover shock setup with stamped steel lower control arms and cast upper control arms in the rear. As with the previous-generation Taurus (Five Hundred) and the Ford Crown Victoria, the sixth-generation Taurus features four-wheel antilock disc brakes. On all models, AdvanceTrac combines traction control and stability control. Torque Vectoring Control and Curve Control is an option for all-wheel drive models.
A number of safety systems seen in this generation of the Taurus either saw their debut or one of their first uses by Ford in the vehicle, including BLIS, Adaptive cruise control, Forward Collision Warning with Brake Support, and Lane keeping assist. As with its predecessor, the Ford Taurus is equipped with dual front airbags, side airbags, and curtain airbags.
Although previewed by the V8-powered Ford Interceptor and is a full-size sedan like the Ford Crown Victoria, the sixth-generation Ford Taurus is not available with a V8 engine. At its 2010 launch, the standard engine was the 263 hp 3.5L V6 retained from the previous Taurus, which was upgraded to 288 hp in 2013. The Taurus SHO is powered by a 365 hp twin-turbocharged version of this engine (EcoBoost V6) shared with the Lincoln MKS and MKT. In 2013, a 3.7L 305 hp non-turbocharged V6 became the base engine for the Police Interceptor, unavailable on the standard Taurus. In 2014, a 2.0L turbocharged 240 hp 4-cylinder (Ecoboost 2.0) became an option in non-SHO models, becoming the first 4-cylinder Taurus since 1991 (also the smallest engine ever fitted in a Taurus). All versions of the Taurus use variations of the Ford 6-speed 6F automatic transmission.
The design of the sixth-generation Ford Taurus was led by Chief Designer Earl Lucas. Many of the Taurus' design elements were influenced by the music that the design team listened to. According to Earl Lucas, "When you've got good music, it's amazing how many shapes come out". The 2007 Ford Interceptor concept would also lend design influence to the grille, rear fascia and taillamps, as well as the roofline.
The sixth-generation Ford Taurus introduced many interior features not seen in its predecessor (or the outgoing Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis), including: Ford Sync, push-button start, heated front and rear seats. Multi-Contour Seats, a first in Ford vehicles when introduced in 2010, feature air cushions that pad the driver and passenger’s entire back (three for lumbar support, four for lateral support and four for the seat pad). The bottom cushion features Active Motion technology, which provides a subtle continuous massage, designed to lessen back pain on long trips.
In 2013, the Ford Taurus saw a mid-cycle refresh, adopting features of the global Kinetic Design language featured on redesigns of the Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta, and Ford Kuga. While the roofline and side panels stayed the same, the Taurus was given a new front fascia with a trapezoidal upper grille (emphasized on the SHO and Police Interceptor) and restyled headlamps. In the rear, LED taillamps made their return (for the first time since the 2007 Mercury Montego) along with dual exhaust (true dual exhaust on the SHO/EcoBoost V6; split exhaust outlets on all other versions). While the interior saw fewer changes in terms of styling, a number of changes were made with its content. For 2013, Ford added a heated steering wheel, interactive instrument cluster, and the MyFord Touch system (which includes a new head unit with 8-inch touch screen). Other features new to the 2013 Taurus include an all new Sony sound system featuring HD Radio and iTunes Tagging, Multicontour seats with Active Motion (massage), push-button start, auto high beams, and a rear view camera. For 2013, the Taurus replaced the Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis as the full-size Ford offering in the Middle East, becoming offered in that region for the first time.
For 2014, new wheel designs were introduced, with minor changes to standard and optional equipment. A Lane keeping assist feature was added to the Driver Assist package.
The sixth generation Ford Taurus was sold in three trim levels, SE, SEL, and Limited.
The base SE model, designed for rental and fleet use, came stock with a 3.5 L 24-valve DOHC Duratec V6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio and cruise control functions, an AM/FM stereo with a single CD player, clock, MP3 capability, and six speakers, Ford's MyKey system, and AdvanceTrac electronic stability control.
The mid-range SEL trim level had the same engine, with a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission featuring paddle activation, dual-zone electronic automatic termperature control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Sirius satellite radio, and a perimeter anti-theft alarm.
The top-of-the-line Limited model featured perforated leather-trim bucket seats, ambient lighting with choices of seven different colors, SYNC voice-activated communication and entertainment system, a premium AM/FM radio with a six-disc in-dash CD changer, chrome-accenting, heated mirrors with memory and security approach lamps, a reverse sensing system and rear view camera.
The 2010 Taurus SHO was unveiled at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show. It went on sale in summer 2009, with a base MSRP of $37,995 (including destination fees).
The SHO includes a 3.5 L EcoBoost V6 engine rated at 272 kW (370 PS; 365 hp) at 5500 rpm and 475 N·m (350 lb·ft) of torque at 3500 rpm, a SelectShift 6-speed automatic transmission with control paddles mounted on the steering wheel, torque-sensing all-wheel drive, sport-tuned suspension and steering, 19-inch alloy wheels with Goodyear Eagle tires (Michelin high-performance tires on the optional 20-inch wheels), a decklid-mounted spoiler, twin chrome exhaust tips, and SHO-specific parking lamp bezels.
The SHO Performance Package includes upgraded brake pads, recalibrated electronic power-assisted steering for improved responsiveness, a "Sport Mode" setting for the Electronic Stability Control, ability to turn off the AdvanceTrac stability control system, 27mm front anti-roll bar instead of the standard 29mm front anti-roll bar for more neutral turn-in, vented front brake dust shields from the Police Interceptor, cooling package from the Police Interceptor (engine oil, transmission oil, and power transfer unit), a shorter 3.16 to 1 final drive ratio for faster acceleration, and summer-compound 20" Goodyear Eagle F1 performance tires with premium painted wheels.0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) time is rated at 5.2 seconds.
When the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (CVPI) ended production in late 2011, a variant of the sixth-generation Taurus was offered to police forces in early 2012 as a 2013 model. Ford is referring to the new police car simply as the "Police Interceptor Sedan", rather than a Taurus. The standard engine is taken from the Ford Mustang and not available on the civilian Ford Taurus. Its 3.72 L (227 cu. in.) aluminum block V6 engine weighed 40 lb (18 kg) less than the previous version. With 24 valves and Twin Independent Variable Cam Timing (TiVCT), it produced 305 hp (227 kW; 309 PS) and 280 lb·ft (380 N·m) of torque. The 3.7 L engine came with a new dual exhaust; gasoline mileage increased to 19 city/31 highway mpg. The ECOBOOST model of the Ford Police Interceptor Sedan features the 3.5 L EcoBoost V6 from the SHO producing 365 hp (272 kW; 370 PS). The Cyclone V6 and EcoBoost versions feature all-wheel drive, like the SHO. The Police Interceptor includes much of Ford's latest safety technology, such as Blind Spot Information System, rear view camera, reverse sensing system, and electronic stability control. Ford states the Police Interceptor Sedan will match the safety record of the CVPI, and have desirable CVPI features unavailable on the Taurus like a column-shifted automatic added back in. In 2014, Ford offered the 4-cylinder engine from its civilian counterpart in the Police Interceptor Sedan as part of a Special Service trim designed for detective and administration uses.
The 2015 model offers 3 engine/drive train configurations:3.5-liter V6 with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive
3.7-liter V6 with all-wheel drive
3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine with all-wheel drive
As Ford considered in 2015 whether to continue producing the Taurus in the United States, one reason to do so was the Police Interceptor Sedan, though the Police Interceptor Utility was more popular and sales of the police sedan are down.
The Ford scored well in test drives, and the media was pleased with some of the new features available in the 2010 Ford Taurus. Some of these features include all wheel drive, cross traffic alert, collision warning, blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. The Taurus shares the powertrain and many available technological options of the Lincoln MKS, which is built on the same platform and mechanical underpinnings, while having a starting MSRP of $10000 USD less than the MKS.
While its predecessor was criticized for dull styling, the new Taurus was described as "big and muscular" to draw attention, albeit "a love-it-or-hate-it affair". Motor Trend stated that "its broad stance, high sill line, slit headlamps, and technical grille give it a leopard look" which was considered handsome.
However, despite being praised for its exterior appearance, it was still criticized for its lack of interior room and reduced sight-lines despite its full-sized exterior dimensions, compared to the previous-generation Five Hundred/Taurus which was praised for its vast interior and greenhouse visibility; one reviewer remarked that while the "old Taurus' interior was cavernous; the new one just feels like a cavern". Edmunds noted that the eighth-generation Honda Accord (which competes in the mid-size category) had superior driving dynamics and a more efficient design that yielded almost as much interior space as the larger Taurus. Car and Driver described the Taurus as overweight and underpowered, with unresponsive braking and steering, while Motor Trend criticized a few aspects of the interior as evident cost-cutting.
2010 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test ratings:Frontal driver: