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2014 Ford Taurus SHO

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The 2014 Ford Taurus SHO only brings minor updates to the speedy sedan’s active safety technology, and a new setup for the wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The SHO still wears its standard 19-inch wheels and exclusive exterior styling with pride: happy to explode from any stoplight with the full force of its twin-turbocharged EcoBoost engine.

A near-equal 55:45 front-to-rear default split for the SHO’s standard all-wheel-drive traction really performs miracles on this large and tall sedan’s handling attitude and eagerness. The SHO looks like, feels like, and drives like the best Taurus out there for a reason: it is.

The SHO still brings hundreds of unique touches to its performance credentials, interior luxury and tech sophistication versus the base models.

No one likes a stripped-out car. Years of driving is no fun when forced to stare at all the blanked-off switch holes, and driving a modern Ford without the Touch controls and other tweaks can lessen satisfaction over time. If missing a decent radio, what other extra tech or performance was left on the table?

Luckily, the SHO acronym might as well mean "everything," because that is what this roomy and wide hot rod brings as standard. No more regrets, other than the updated Performance Pack or the adaptive cruise control that are on the options list.

A two-fer of new arrivals from Chevy is set to bring some pressure to the SHO nearing the end of this model cycle: the new front-drive 2014 Chevrolet Impala and the rear-drive 2014 Chevy SS sedan .

With pricing that is a bit steep for the handling or sprint pace, is the 2014 Taurus SHO still the hero car that Ford needs at the top of its sedan range?

Click past the jump to find out.

Exterior

Ford Taurus SHO

The Taurus SHO is updated with new lane-keeping alerts for 2014, but besides that active safety tech addition, the legendary Super High Output model is completely carryover outside. This is not great news, because despite low-beam xenon lighting and some kind of DRL accent in the lower bumper corners, the styling of this big bruiser really needs LED accents that are decent and a better nighttime light graphic.

The squinting SHO lights are still tasteful, and the new grille is far better than the twin-bar grille that the car launched with. It still seems huge, with a ride height that offers a stance much more like the fuddy duddy AWD Chrysler 300 than the sporty and low 300 SRT versions.

Almost all SHO models ship with the Performance Pack at this point, which is important to upgrade the wheels from the cheap and boring 19 inchers that come standard on the SHO.

The dings keep coming, unfortunately. Nearly all of the SHO’s unique and appealing design cues are now front and center on the base Taurus lineup , which even offers four-cylinder power for 2014 for the first time ever.

The SHO also suffers from some dismal proportions and dated LED taillights. Much like the latest Explorer Sport, there is at least four inches of grey cladding all around the base of the SHO’s exterior, which looks atrocious at $40,000-plus. Perhaps on a rally car, and excusable on a crossover, but not here.

2014 Ford Taurus SHO - Exterior Options:

  • SHO Performance Package: 20-in. bright machined painted aluminum wheels, performance summer compound tires, performance brake pads, heavy-duty cooling system, EPAS specially calibrated steering, ESC track mode, 3:16:1 final drive gear ratio, tire mobility kit, Alcantara suede steering wheel

Interior

Ford Taurus SHO

Indoors, the SHO is still one of the nicest Fords available, bar none. The suede seating option is the best for keeping in place during corners, because otherwise these are the same average power seats from the rest of the Ford line. Some extra bolsters would be nice to go along with the embroidered logo’s at the top of the front seats. A seat base adjustment (a la BMW) would also win a lot of fans.

The tech inside the 2014 SHO looks the same, with standard MyFord Touch by Sony and many other goodies, like heated and cooled seats up front. While the touchscreen looks the same, it is actually heavily revised with better hardware and quicker software.

The back seat is roomy enough for a family of five, with a really tall roof that is a curious feature. The seats back there are also much higher off the floor than is typical from Chevy, which dramatically increases comfort.

Last on the list of SHO merits is its whopping 20 cubic feet of trunk space, which is giant and more footage than some college dorm rooms.

2014 Ford Taurus SHO - Giant Back Seat Detail

Ford Taurus SHO

2014 Ford Taurus SHO - Giant Trunk Detail

Ford Taurus SHO

Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes

Ford Taurus SHO

If the SHO in this hot Taurus’s name also stands for "everything" in terms of equipment, sadly it does not really represent a Super High Output engine at this point. The SHO’s exact EcoBoost engine has been a huge hit for Ford in the Explorer Sport and the F-150 trucks, so claiming this one has better specs is a misnomer at this point.

60 mph is just a floored gas pedal away: the EcoBoost makes its full 350 pound-feet of torque from just 1,500 rpm. Top speed is an estimated 130 mph, limited.

Why No Performance Updates?

Worth remembering about Ford is the Panther (Crown Victoria) platform that endured four decades on the market with the same rotten transmission whine and a V-8 whose specific output would make a leaf blower blush with pride.

The silly thing about Ford’s lack of updates to this potent and ultra-strong engine design is that the twin turbo’s are ripe for an ECU upgrade, a better boost manager, different internal turbine vanes, a better air-box... the list goes on.

All of these things seem like they would take a DIY guy about a week to decide on and install, leading to an easy 500 horsepower for perhaps $1,500 in modified parts. Heck, even a $300 ECU re-flash could liberate at least 75 more horsepower in 10 minutes.

This is good news for buyers, and somewhat discouraging news from Ford. Considering the scrimping on the trim levels and every detail to maintain the car’s (tenuous) value proposition: Ford may have forgotten that people would be thrilled to pay up if there is more performance on the table.

2014 Ford Taurus SHO - Performance Details

Engine 3.5-liter Twin-Turbocharged 24-valve V-6 With DI And VVT
Fuel Gasoline
Transmission 6-Speed Automatic
Powertrain Layout All-wheel-drive
Power (Horsepower) 365 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque (Torque) 350 @ 1,500 rpm
0-60 mph (Seconds) 6.0
Top Speed (MPH) 130, limited
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined) 17/25/NA

Pricing and Availability

Ford Taurus SHO

The 2014 Ford Taurus SHO is priced from just below $40,000 up to about $44,000 with the optional Performance Pack.

Competition

Chevrolet SS

Chevrolet SS Performance

The SS is the reborn Pontiac GTO / G8 / Holden Commodore / Caprice Classic. While all those models continue for 2014...
Wait, all of these rear-drive Chrysler 300 competitors have been total failures with less than a few hundred sold a month? Huh. Okay, well in that case...

The SS is Chevy’s new NASCAR-themed, rear-drive flagship. With pricing at $45,000 and extremely tight supply, people who really want to be like Dale Jr. should put a special order in now. Arriving to local Chevy dealers from its assembly plant in Australia is a bit tricker than sending cars down from Ottawa, Canada.

Chevrolet Impala

Chevrolet Impala

The Impala is Chevy’s newly-stylish update of one of the most reviled car names to hear at the rental car counter, let alone a car dealership when spending thousands of hard-earned dollars.

The new Impala is also a jumbo sedan with a big back seat and just 2 cubic feet less trunk space than the Ford. Its dynamics and performance will be more akin to the lesser Taurus engines, but the top V-6 is able to get a bit too close to the SHO in the 60 mph sprint.

Conclusion

Ford Taurus SHO

As successful as Ford is these days, many blue oval vehicles seem to be oddly stripped and poorly equipped once they reach most buyers’ hands. For the sedans, this problem is much, much worse than the trucks.

In the case of the SHO, this menacing sports sedan is actually the largest and most sophisticated to come out of Dearborn in decades. Without the Premier Automotive Group and the always-failing Lincoln Lincoln luxury division at an arm’s length, "One Ford" is actually not very good at making or selling premium or even entry-lux models.

This is no jab at Ford. An update is likely just around the corner, so perhaps they are biding their time to really enhance the future SHO, hopefully. Even so, with the 2014 Focus ST getting a nose job this winter after less than a year on the market, Ford’s lack of attention on this flagship is regrettable. This all sounds way too reminiscent of the Taurus’ initial collapse in the early 2000s...

LOVE IT
  • Still quite roomy and easy to see out of
  • Comfortable and helpful features like backup camera and cooled seats are nice
  • Great torque off the line
LEAVE IT
  • Too huge for most urban dwellers, roof too high and rides too high
  • MyFord Touch screen is not easy for all drivers to reach without leaning forward
  • Pretty slow versus the AWD Audi S8’s sub-4-second pace

Press Release

2014 Taurus SHO

Ford Taurus SHO
  • The 2014 Ford Taurus SHO is the sportiest Taurus yet, blending a fuel-efficient EcoBoost® engine, enhanced driving dynamics and performance-inspired design with smart technology such as the newly available Lane-Keeping System.
  • The 2014 Ford Taurus SHO sedan is the sportiest model yet to wear the SHO badge, offering unique, performance-inspired design and road manners to match
  • New for 2014 is the Lane-Keeping System, which alerts and assists the driver when the car is drifting out of its lane
  • Improved driving dynamics, larger brakes, torque vectoring control and specially calibrated electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) deliver superior performance

For Taurus SHO, subtle differentiation from other members of the Taurus family starts up front, with a performance-inspired grille in black mesh – unique to SHO – flanked by series-specific high-intensity discharge headlamps. Behind the front wheel openings, a fender-mounted scallop contains a subtle SHO badge.

Unique 19-inch premium painted wheels wearing standard P255/45VR-19 all-season tires fill out the openings, giving SHO a muscular, athletic look. Buyers can choose 20-inch machined and painted wheels.

SHO-specific sideview mirrors – also in contrasting black – are heated, have memory functionality and contain downward-facing puddle lamps; the driver’s side features auto-dimming. In the rear, Taurus SHO features a unique decklid-mounted spoiler.

Inside, the new Taurus SHO communicates its sporty characteristics with a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-trimmed sport seats with embroidered SHO graphics, unique woven aluminum trim and adjustable aluminum pedals with memory.

Signature Ford technology is a key attribute of the new Taurus SHO, with the addition of standard MyFord Touch® driver connect technology powered by SYNC® and the replacement of several traditional knobs and controls with clear, colorful LCD screens and five-way buttons. The screens can be personalized to display information relevant to each individual driver using voice command, a simple button click or touch-screen tap.

Lane-Keeping System

Ford Taurus SHO

New for 2014 is the Lane-Keeping System, which uses a digital camera mounted on the windshield ahead of the rearview mirror, allowing the Taurus SHO to watch the road ahead to detect an unintentional lane departure. The Ford Lane-Keeping System has three levels of assistance available to the driver depending on what is happening – Lane-Keeping Alert, Lane-Keeping Aid and Driver Alert.

The driver must turn on the Lane-Keeping System. Once the vehicle speed is above 40 mph and lane markers are clearly visible on the road, an icon that looks like a car between two lanes lights up green in the instrument cluster to indicate the system has been enabled. Ford’s Lane-Keeping System takes advantage of the electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) to provide a vibrating alert to the driver and then gently steer the car back into the lane if the driver doesn’t respond.

When the system detects the car is approaching the edge of the lane without a turn signal activated, the lane marker in the icon turns yellow and the steering wheel vibrates to simulate driving over rumble strips. If the driver doesn’t respond and continues to drift, the lane icon turns red and EPAS will nudge the steering and the vehicle back toward the center of the lane. If the car continues to drift the vibration is added again, along with the nudge. The driver can overcome assistance and vibration at any time by turning the steering wheel, accelerating or braking.

Enhanced powertrain, refined dynamics

Ford Taurus SHO

The Taurus SHO drivetrain continues to use the award-winning and fuel-efficient 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, delivering 365 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to a six-speed high-capacity 6F55 SelectShift® automatictransmission.

Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters enable Taurus SHO to match revs for smooth, quick, manually selected downshifts. For the new model, these have been reconfigured for more intuitive operation, with one paddle for upshifts and the other for downshifts.

SHO dynamics have been enhanced with larger brakes, torque vectoring control – using slight braking to provide the effect of a limited-slip differential – and unique sport-tuned suspension.

The 2014 Ford Taurus SHO will be produced at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant.



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