Before I jump into my look at the 2011 Ford Taurus SHO, let's get a couple of things out of the way.
First, this car very big, and very heavy.
Second, it's also fast, comfortable, and damn cool.
The original Taurus SHO was known as one of the best sleepers of all time, and for a time it was one of the fastest production sedans in any price range. Its Yamaha-tuned V6 and manual transmission combo also gave it a very unique personality. In the years after its release 1989, the SHO got larger and heavier, and was eventually killed off the late '90s.
The Taurus itself disappeared from Ford's lineup, before returning as a large, full size sedan – not the mainstream Camry and Accord fighter that it once was. With the new upmarket Taurus, Ford brought back the SHO name for the high performance version of the car.
This isn't the quirky, cult-favorite car that the original SHO was. This is a refined sport luxury sedan with all the features you'd expect. Yes it's a big, heavy car (4,300lbs!) but Ford has dropped in a 3.5 liter, twin turbo Ecoboost V6 to move all those pounds. The 365 horsepower of the boosted V6 are then sent to the wheels through an all wheel drive system.
There's no manual transmission available for the SHO, only a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. I know some people out there need a clutch pedal, but I think the auto box is the right choice for a car of this size and stature.
First impressions after hopping inside the car, are "man this is nice." The word classy is something that wouldn't be said anywhere near and old Taurus, but the new one deserves it. There are a lots of high quality, stylish, materials, and it has very European feel inside.
Step on the gas pedal, and the SHO delivers effortless thrust – it feels and moves much faster than its weight would suggest. Ride quality is also very good, even on the notoriously bad streets and freeways of SoCal.
The SHO that I was driving was fully loaded and included heated leather seats, navigation with Ford's Sync system, and sound by Sony. Enough to satisfy any tech freak.
With all of the SHO's size comes lots of interior room. Both up front…
…and in the rear. This isn't one of those cramped sport sedan back seats. There is plenty of room for full-sized yanks back here.
Styling-wise, I think Ford has done a great job with the new Taurus. It looks mature, without looking boring.
It also has a touch of that old-fashioned American swagger.
I forgot to grab a picture, but the trunk on the SHO is also huge. Perfect for a long road trip.
The SHO rolls on 20" 5-spoke wheels with 245-45 summer tires, part of the optional Sport Package. The Sport Package will also get you a more aggressive final drive ratio.
One thing that the new SHO DOES have in common with the original model is the sleeper factor. There is very little on the car that sets it apart from the standard Taurus, and most people won't suspect the big power that this sedan is packing.
At $44,240.00, the SHO doesn't come cheap, but this isn't meant to be a bargain performance car. It's a full featured, roomy, sedan with more than enough performance. With all of the BMW's, Audis, and Infinitis you see on the roads of LA, the all-American SHO also sticks out from the crowd.
The SHO might not be the best choice for a serious canyon session or track day. But merging onto the freeway, stretched out in comfort, listening to the sounds of the Sony stereo, while the Eco Boost V6 pushes you into the seat, you know that Ford has done something right with this car.