I must admit I am a bit of the fan of the latest reincarnation of the Ford Taurus SHO (The stands for Super High Output by the way). A big comfortable luxury sport sedan that’s American as apple pie.
The latest SHO is a sophisticated beast and after a 2010 redesign arrives with bags of technology, performance and thanks to its ecoboost V6; better fuel economy. To stand apart from normal Taurus models the 2012 SHO features a unique black mesh grille, HID headlamps and fender mounted SHO badges and big 19-inch painted alloy wheels
Looks-wise the SHO is an impressive, substantial sedan with the deep side beltline character line helping to lengthen the side profile. The car is an interesting combination of organic curves offset by steep square edges. It is aggressive, but in a rather refined calculated way.
Our 2013 Taurus AWD SHO was kitted out in Ruby red metallic paint. Special extra cost options included the Charcoal black leather seating and the SHO performance package with Alcantara covered Steering wheel, 3.16 final drive ratio, Voice activated navigation system and multi-contoured heated and cooled seats.
But opt for the SHO badges and you’ll also net a 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6. A direct-injection mill, it pumps out 365 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 350 lb-ft of torque between 1,500 and 5,000 rpm , it features a six-speed automatic with paddle shift levers, all-wheel-drive, and, for 2013, torque vectoring control. Total options on our tester came to $2900 adding to the $49, 199 base price.
Under the hood is good news, the SHO has an impressive 3.5L twin-turbocharged and direct-injected EcoBoost V6 engine in contrast to a normally aspirated 3.5L Duratec engine. A 6-speed automatic transmission equipped with paddle shifters and All-wheel drive (AWD) arrive with SHO. Non- SHO base Taurus’s have front-wheel drive with optional AWD, while both the Limited and SHO get AWD as standard.
Interiors as with all the current Ford lineup are outstanding in terms of design and quality The seats are all comfortably roomy and the rear seats fold forward too. The SHO offer plenty of full-size room in all quarters to stretch out and only the big wide center console upfront restricts extra seat width up front.
Equipment wise, the excellent Ford Sync voice-activated connectivity system is standard in the SHO, along with the amazingly clear 12-speaker, 390-watt Sony surround-sound audio system with six-disc in-dash CD changer, USB input, MP3 capability and satellite radio.
Luxury features include dual-zone automatic climate control, remote keyless entry and pushbutton start, power windows of course, power moonroof, power adjustable heated and cooled seats and pedals (with memory), automatic headlights and automatic rain-sensing wipers, universal garage door opener
The SHO is indeed fully loaded as standard and the few extra cost options are the voice-activated navigation system and adaptive cruise control with collision warning: both which are highly recommended .
On the road the SHO’s excellent EcoBoost engine delivers 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, compared to 263 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque for the standard car’s Duratec power plant.
Ford says that the EcoBoost V6 delivers V8 power levels with V6 economy, and it’s a valid claim as the SHO delivers city/hwy economy fuel economy figures of 12.4 / 8.0 L/100km which are not too shabby given the considerable weight of the SHO.
Performance from the twin turbo’s delivers plenty of torque with no discernible turbo lag through the tach range. Smooth unruffled acceleration is a highlight and the SHO can rocket from 0-l to 100 km/h in about 6 seconds with plenty of aural drama, yet is refined and quiet in highways cruising and in the stop and go of the urban commuter crawl.
Ford engineers have also worked wonder with the chassis and suspension upgrades. The SHO’s sport-tuned suspension comprising of special shock absorbers, springs and stabilizer bars endows the car with tenacious grip, responsive steering and firm yet comfortably supple ride.
Play with the transmission’s manual paddle-shifters (Which uses a pull to upshift, and a thumb push to downshift) and you can gain an entertaining approximation of spirited manual shifting, although I prefer to let the auto transmission do the work. (Give me a proper floor mounted manual gear shifter anytime!)
To sum up the Taurus SHO is very impressive, very well equipped domestic sports sedan. It does come in at a premium price however with base price of $43,892. Add different options and the adaptive cruise control and nav system and you can end up at $48,000 plus for this giant killer of a sleeper luxury cruiser. It sure stands up to its completion from Infiniti and Aura and even BMW with its efficient and powerful ecoboost turbo engine. The SHO spec looks mighty impressive on both paper and in the flesh. Highly recommended.
2013 Taurus AWD SHO priced from $49,199
Price as tested with options, destination and delivery charges -$53,599.