I got to drive 2 flavors of the 2013 Taurus back to back the other day at the Ford Goes Further event. One was the mid-line high volume SEL and the other was the bad boy range topping performance oriented SHO. Guess which one I enjoyed the best? Hint: they each have their merits and market.
What you get in both cars is Ford’s flag ship, pinnacle of the fleet. That translates in to top notch build quality and materials, certainly competitive if not class leading particularly in the pricier SHO.
The driving experience is an apple to oranges comparison. The SEL is a no fuss no muss straight line cruiser. IT goes where it is pointed and goes about its business un-bothered by road imperfections and coddles the driver. It is no better/worse than its competition such as the Chevy Impala or Toyota Avalon. Given the amount of road trips I take with the fam this actually suits me just fine. I mean how often does one take on an on-ramp at max speed with a trunk full of luggage and a packed cabin?
The SHO has a firmer but still compliant ride, reminds much of the Audi A6 in feel and handling. (Our pre programmed route really didn’t give us a chance to test handling but the seat of the pants tells me they are similar). Very nice soaking up of potholes and similar road imperfections without undue shock to the system due to the firmness of the firmer suspension…um win Ford?
One can’t really compare straight line performance of the SEL vs SHO. The SEL’s base V6 has a slight power increase for 2013 to 288bhb this year that is noticeable but hardly turns it into a barn burner. It does enables it to go about its business without any obvious stress nor strain, just lacks any real urgency without a mash to the pedal. The SHO, however at 365 BHP wants to run and does so with the lightest touch to the pedal. Tap it and you are at the speed limit on the on ramp, goose and, well you are at extra limit speed and testing the well rounded braking system.
Stealth of the SHO is going to be its big advantage. It has few things to differentiate it from the more basic Taurus models, its badges are subtle, its grill is different (reminds me of the Aston DB’s) and rides on very stylish 20′s. At quick glance on the freeway its going to be hard to tell one from grandpa’s cruiser and that may help the guy cruising a bit faster than the pack from standing out…unless one choses “arrest me red” as ones color.
Gauge Packaging and MyFordTouch. The two cars had different iterations of MyFordTouch . The SEL was more basic in nature and simple to use. It a simple time tested process to get what you wanted done with no effort at all involved to get what you wanted done.
The SHO had the updated version of MyFordTouch. It much easier to use than prior version. Yes, one does have to scroll through menus to get through to items in the infotainment system it is much faster and intuitive than in the past. I liked it, I still don’t understand what all the fuss is about though I do like simple redundant buttons for fast on the fly audio volume and temp controls. I’m fussy that way and Ford obliged.
So what is your penalty for an SHO over an SEL aside from sticker price? Actually not much. According to the EPA the you lose a couple of MPG on the SHO and its premium fueled MPG on top of it, the difference is a measly 2mpg. All of the technical data and EPA info on Ford’s site HERE.
In the end, if I was a cost is no object kinda guy I’d opt for the SHO, its really a fun car and bang for the buck is really there.
All pics by me.