Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2013 Ford Taurus SHO

When I was 9 years old my dad traded in our 1995 Ford Taurus for a 1993 Ford Taurus SHO. At the time I thought he was crazy for trading in his recently purchased car for what I thought was the same exact thing aside from the white paint and wheels, leather interior, and weird SHO logos plastered all over it. But after driving in the car for a couple days I realized that the SHO had more than mere cosmetic differences from its cheaper counterpart.

My dad explained to me that SHO stood for Super High Output and that his new baby was actually a sports car disguised as a family sedan. What an awesome idea. A sports car disguised as an everyday driver. I thought my dad was a pretty cool guy after that. Well that was 15 years ago and a lot has changed since then. GM had to be bailed out by the Government, Toyota proved to be mortal and Hyundai became a top competitor in the auto industry. One thing has remained the same through the years though and that is the niche of drivers that demand a high performance sports sedan. It’s that group of driving enthusiasts who refuse to conform to the hot hatch world that we now live in and instead yearn for the practicality of a full size sedan with the heart and soul of a Mustang. Ford understands this group of people which is why they recently resurrected the SHO. But the new SHO is nothing like the one I grew up with. In fact it’s a completely new beast. Hit the jump for more!

The all new 2013 Ford Taurus SHO has received some much needed upgrades from last years’ model. One of the biggest complaints Ford received about their resurrected four door brawler was that it simply wasn’t appealing enough. People claimed it lacked the attitude that a sports sedan deserved. In response to this Ford gave the 2013 model a new face. With a new hood, black honeycomb grill, and more aggressive headlights the new SHO is definitely better looking than the last. Ford left the rest of the body pretty much unaltered. Under the hood the SHO has been given the same twin turbo 3.5 liter Ecoboost V6 that’s good for a solid 365 hp and 360 lb.-ft. of torque. When that power meets the pavement through the all wheel drive system the SHO launches to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. Considering how burly this thing is (4343 lbs) I’d say that’s a very respectable time.

Probably the biggest complaint with the 2010-2012 SHO was the brakes. From all the test drives I read it sounded like a death wish was required in order to approach a corner at moderate to high speeds and really feel like everything was going to be ok. To comfort those who value their lives Ford upgraded the brakes with a larger master cylinder and beefed up discs in the front and rear. It sounds like this upgrade alone has made a world of difference in the overall performance of the car. The interior also received some attention with more soft touch materials and a large touchscreen interface that houses the MyFord Touch system. The seats were reworked with upgraded foam and a nice mixture of suede and leather but even with these upgrades it sounds like they don’t provide the support and stability that good bucket seats should.

Yet another downer is that the SHO is only available in a 6-speed automatic. I have to admit that’s somewhat disappointing considering the 5-speed I grew up with was awesome to drive. Even without complete control though Ford claims the SHO will shine at the track. With a sport tuned suspension the mighty 2 ton sedan digs into corners surprisingly well. But if it’s still not quite sporty enough they do offer a performance package which includes springs and dampers with specific tuning rates, an upgraded cooling system, better steering, 20 inch wheels wrapped in summer rubber, and the ability to completely disable the traction control system. That last one’s my favorite. For those who find the base SHO enough to satisfy their hunger for driving they’ll be looking at a starting price of about $40000. But if you have a “go big or go home” personality that requires all the gadgets and gizmos be prepared to drop somewhere between $45k and $50k. Now that may sound like a monumental price for a Ford Taurus that goes fast, but it’s really not. When you consider the SHO’s closest competitors; Audi A6, Mercedes E550 4matic, and BMW 550i xDrive, the SHO is actually quite the bargain. The A6 has the closest starting price to the SHO of the three but when I say closest it’s still $10000 more. And the BMW starts at close to $25000 more. That may not be a lot of money when you’re shopping for a supercar, but when you’re looking for a sport sedan those numbers are huge. But what do you think? Is a mere price difference really enough for people to choose the blue oval over BMW or Audi?


  1. From the frontal offset, the side impact test, and also the rear crash protection and roof strength tests, this car has delivered good results, making it one of the safest cars to drive. There are other models that are a lot cheaper like the 2013 Taurus SE, so affordability shouldn't be a problem as well.

    Erwin Calverley

    1. Thanks for the input. I'd definitely feel safer hauling my family around in this than one of the smaller hot hatches on the market. I'll always be a fan of the Taurus SHO.