Recently I was sitting in a Starbucks, one with a terrible parking situation (you know the one) glancing, almost daydreaming, out the window. Since I wasn’t paying attention, I was startled when a huge car almost bumped into the window while the driver 3-pointing his way into a parking spot.
The car was huge, blacked out from the factory, and clumsy looking — swathed with 20-inch wheels, some sort of fake-looking fender vent and a hexagonal honeycomb grill.
Because of the black motif, I expected Lord Vader to exit; instead, it was two average-looking corporate dudes on a coffee run in a 365-horsepower monster.
The car? A 2013 Ford Taurus SHO — a quirky car I’ve always liked. The weight? Almost 4,360 pounds, according to Car and Driver. (Ford didn’t list the weight of its Taurus on its website, but did list the weigh of some of its other cars.)
I’ve never driven a 4,400 pound car, but I can imagine that it’s probably pretty difficult — like wishing-there-were-cameras-and-monitors-all-around-me, difficult. Yeah, the car has a twin-turbocharged V6 and almost 14-inch front rotors, but I can’t imagine what the car would do if it had to corner — you know, due to physics.
Ford revived the Super High Output nameplate a few years ago, and while trying to cash in on the name of a departed cult car is cheeky (Hell, Conan has one), I’m not sure if anyone is biting.
What made the first and second generation Tauruses so great was that they had subtle upgrades over their really mundane counterparts — aggressive front and rear aprons, different gauges, slightly larger wheels and “SHO” badging — as well as a Yamaha-sourced V6 good for about 220 hp. Oh yeah, you could also get a five-speed manual transmission.
A manual transmission in a Taurus? Nuts, and part of the allure.
Ford decided to dust off its SHO badge and plaster it on a car that weighs about 1,300 pounds more than the original — according to MotorTrend, the first generation Taurus weighed in at a (relatively) tidy 3,078. To compensate for the heft, Ford Eco-Boosted the Taurus to 365 horsepower and got rid of the 50/50 weigh distribution as well as the manual transmission. Sure, 0-60 times are currently in the low 5s as opposed to the high 7s … and the car traps the quarter mile at 103 mph, but does the car deserve the SHO badge?
I’m not sure to whom the car is supposed to appeal. Like I said, I wanted one when I was a kid, partially due to its rarity, but this car is too big, too gaudy … and something completely different now. Yeah, it’s fast, really fast, but there are slower, better looking cars that would be more entertaining to own, like Ford’s own Fusion — which is probably where that badge belongs.