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Oppositelock Review: 2015 Ford Taurus SHO

In early September with the miles piling up on my leased 2015 Ford Fusion, I decided that it was time to see if Ford was doing any lease pull ahead as my lease expired in December. I ended up with a Ford Taurus SHO. I’ve put almost 3000 miles on the car, and I feel its time that I write my OppoReview on this Bull.

As some of you know, part of my job as an account manager for an Automotive supplier involves a lot of driving. Thankfully, my company provides a generous monthly car allowance. The requirements are that the vehicle must be: a four door vehicle, and it must be made by one of our customers. Some of our top customers include: Ford, GM, VW, Nissan, Honda, Subaru and Volvo.

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For a while I was really thinking about purchasing a Chevy SS, but it’s bland looks and assuredly terrible performance in the winters of Detroit and Western Michigan (where our company HQ is located) would have been terrible. I thought about a 2500HD Sierra, and even a Subaru WRX STi. Problem is, a truck isn’t terrible fun to drive and the Subaru doesn’t fit four adults comfortably, which is sometimes a requirement for my Job, plus calling on mostly American manufacturers driving a Japanese Car isn’t the best idea according to my VP of sales. If I could have waited until spring, there’s a chance I would have gotten a Ford Focus RS (screw having 4 adults in your car comfortably when you have a drift mode button), or another cool project that I can’t talk about that Ford is working on that should launch in the spring.

I kept looking for a nice car that would offer some level of performance and meet the needs of my job (because after all, work is paying for most of it)

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I went to my local Ford dealership and drove a Ford Fusion Titanium and the SHO. The Fusion was nice, but I wanted something different and the SHO had a certain sense of gravity (perhaps its own gravitational field) while driving it.

Anyways, on with the SHO (I’ll see myself out, try the veal)

Illustration for article titled Oppositelock Review: 2015 Ford Taurus SHO
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Specifications

Trim: SHO, 401A package
Transmission: 6 Speed Automatic, Ford 6F55 with “Paddle” Shift
Engine: 3.5l Twin-Turbo “Ecoboost” V6 rated at 365 Horsepower, 350 ft/lb Torque from 1500-5000 RPM
Drive: All Wheel Drive

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Exterior: Bass boat black Tuxedo Black Metallic
Interior: Black Leather, with embroidered SHO logos on the front seat backs

MSRP: $44,980 (Ford is currently giving back $8000 though)

Packages & Options

  • 401a Package, Includes HD Radio, Sony Sound System, Heated Rear Seats, Blind Spot Monitoring System
  • Electric Power Moon Roof
  • Sync with built in satellite navigation
  • Heated and Cooled Front Seats (What a time to be alive!)
  • 20 inch wheels (Optional Design), with Michelin Primacy MXM tires
  • Rear Sunshade
  • The biggest trunk currently in production

Lets get down to what really matters, the review.

Acceleration: 8/10

Illustration for article titled Oppositelock Review: 2015 Ford Taurus SHO
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The Taurus SHO is faster in a straight line than any car this big ought to be. The Ford Taurus has a serious case of Dadbod. Tons of power underneath, if a bit flabby. Some all wheel drive cars, like the aforementioned Subaru WRX STi launch hard, and pull through each gear. Not so with the Taurus, even brake torquing and coming off the line full mat, with the traction control off, the car leaves relatively soft, hardly squeaking a tire, but 60 miles per hour comes in a brisk 5.1 seconds (or so I am told). The car gets through the quarter mile in 13.7 seconds at 108 mph. Here’s a few cars that the 4400lb Ford Taurus SHO is faster than: 1995 LT1 powered Corvette, 2015 Subaru WRX, 2016 Ford Focus ST, 2003 Mustang Mach 1 and a 2007 Solstice GXP. Most cars on the road are slower than the SHO, and almost no cars on the road weigh more and are faster. Much of this is derived from the SHO’s torque, which is artifically limited to 350 ft/lbs, the maximum rating for the 6F55 found in the SHO. In the F150 and Expedition, it is producing over 420 ft/lbs. Many tuning companys are unlocking the true potential of this engine. I may end up getting Livernois Motorsports to re-map the ECU on mine to the tune of an additional 70 horsepower and 90 ft/lbs of torque. Cruising down the highway, the SHO possesses more than enough thrust to merge, pass and drive like a pissed off teenager. In my humble opinion, the 3.5l Ecoboost V6 is the best motor Ford Makes right now. Just put it in the Mustang, Please.

Braking: 5/10

Stopping is really an area that Ford neglected on the SHO. Sure it has large rotors and two piston calipers, but the 4400lbs of bull is a lot to stop with any set of brakes, braking hard consistently exhibits some fade, but the available Performance Pack brake pads, help solve that problem. More on the Performance Pack later. On the street the brakes have little initial bite, do not inspire confidence, but somehow manage to bring the large sedan to a standstill reasonably quick for a vehicle weighing as much as a small moon. At least Ford had the goddamned common decency to fill the brake reservoir with DOT 4 brake fluid which wont boil at the drop of a hat, Unlike the DOT 3 found in the Camaro SS 1LE.

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Handling: 6/10

I’m not going to try to sugar coat it, when driven hard in the twisties, this car pushes like a fat kid in line for cake. It’s a transverse mount V6, which means its front wheel drive first, and has a power take off unit to divert power to the back when the front starts to squirm, this leads to the car having a terrible weight balance and putting too much mass over the 245/45/20’s on the front wheels causing catastrophic understeer. There’s another thing that must be mentioned when discussing the cars handling. I’ve Autocrossed this car twice. (don’t laugh) It actually did fairly well for its size and beat a few natural performance cars. The driver takes no credit, as he’s a ham-fisted hoon with the finesse of a blacksmith and a right foot as heavy as an anvil. The biggest problem with my car is that I did not opt for the “Performance Package” which provides and upgraded brake pads, an additional cooler for the power take off unit and a full traction and stability control off button. As the Performance Pack SHO is only available with summer only Goodyear F1 Supercar tires, most dealers in Michigan do not stock the Performance Pack cars. Which makes sense as Michigan is a barren frozen hellscape for 6 months out of the year. I could have ordered one, but then the incentives would have gone away. In retrospect, would I have paid another $9,995 for the car ($8,000 in incentives and $1,995 for the performance pack) and another $2,000 for snow tires and wheels? Yes. In. A. Heartbeat. Here’s why: in the effort to keep a 4400lb sedan with inadequate brakes, and 365 horsepower safe for most drivers, Ford decided to keep the traction control very, very conservative, and never let you turn it off. That means that the second that the car starts to rotate, it cuts power and activates the ABS brakes to pull you back straight. Which we can agree is good on an icy highway, but very bad on an Autocross track. Of course, Ford makes you pay an extra two grand to disable something you don’t really want in the first place, and currently no aftermarket tuner provides a method to defeat it. For instance popping the ABS fuse just puts the car into Front Wheel drive only mode and gives you about 14 different error codes on the information screen. Certainly a bummer, because I have a feeling that snonuts in the SHO would have been awesome in my deserted parking lot at work. The ride is definitely tuned for a mix of comfort and speed, having driven a “Limited” model the Taurus does have a sportier suspension and you feel it but even over the harsh and rough roads of Metro-Detroit, the car never feels uncomfortable. Going down the highway, this is one the best cars I have driven and just eats up the miles cruising at 85 MPH.

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Technology: 8/10

Guys, it has heated AND cooled front seats. This is an absolute godsend on a hot day. I hate leather, they didn’t have any cars with the optional faux Suede inserts on the seats on the lot. So I was stuck with perforated leather, but the cooled seats make up for it. It has Sync which has gotten better over the years, but the Navigation sucks. It takes almost as long to drive to your destination as enter one in the GPS. It also has a fancy rear automatic sun shade I put up after I angrily pass someone, its the Middle Manager’s flashing of the Hazzard lights to let you know you’ve been PWNED! My biggest complaint on the tech side of this car isn’t Sync, or all of the gadgets that I know will eventually fail, it’s the Tachometer.

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Illustration for article titled Oppositelock Review: 2015 Ford Taurus SHO

As you can see for gives you a giant speedometer with a tiny digital tach. Granted the 6F55 will only bounce of the rev limiter once before it shifts for you, even in manual mode. I’ve come to expect a physical tach in all cars, and this tiny thing is kind of laggy and too small to pay attention to when driving fast. I would also gripe that despite having an LCD screen, there is no oil pressure or temperature “gauge” available for my utterly paranoid viewing pleasure.

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Comfort: 9/10

This is one comfortable boat of a car. I feel that it harkens back to the old full size sedans that used to roam these United States from the mid ‘50’s to the Late 70’s. Nothing about this car feels lightweight (because it isn’t), cheap or included for any other reason than driver and passenger enjoyment. It ate up a 4 hour drive to Traverse City from Metro Detroit like it was a trip to the corner store. The NVH on the car is excellent even compared to the Cadillac CTS and ATS. That being said, I still think that the seats in my old fusion were a bit more comfortable, but the Taurus has the distinction of the being the only car in its class with optional massaging seats. It also has “Easy in, Easy out” which makes the steering wheel retract, and the seat move all the way back, which is especially useful for getting in and out if you keep and aggressive seating position. It also has the bonus of making you feel like you drive the Batmobile every day when you go to work. I wouldn’t say that the Taurus is built for Comfort instead of speed, but the scales tip more towards comfort than hardcore performance.

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Fun Factor: 8/10

This car never manages not to be entertaining, it has what seems like endless amounts of torque, lots of toys, plenty of comfort and is engaging to drive. Ford did a really good drive with the Electric Power Assist Steering, enough feedback, but not too heavy. The car is a total sleeper and can really surprise people. It’s like a Bull that can do the tango, while it may be possible, and if anyone ever told you about it you’d have to see it to believe it. There are some cars on the road more powerful, some more nimble, and plenty lighter, but few that pull so many good things together. The Taurus SHO is a surprising car despite its faults for how many things it gets right. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted. No manual transmission, No big natural aspirated pushrod V8. But it is a fantastic combination of what I want, and what I need.

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