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2013 Ford Taurus SHO: aggressive new styling meets twin turbo awesomeness

The 2013 Ford Taurus SHO is powered by the same powerful twin turbo EcoBoost V6 engine as the 2012 and older models but the exterior refresh displayed across the entire 2013 Taurus lineup gives the newest SHO a look that is far more appropriate for a modern high performance sedan.

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The modern Ford Taurus SHO stormed onto the scene in 2010 with the first high performance application of the Ford EcoBoost technology offered in the US market. With 365 horsepower and 350lb-ft of torque, the SHO was an instant hit in the full sized performance sedan market with an intelligent all wheel drive system that makes the SHO as much of a fantastic winter vehicle as it is a summer street racer. The changes to the 2013 model year Taurus SHO are predominantly physical but that is in no way a bad thing as the EcoBoost’d Ford is easily one of the most entertaining full sized sedans available on the US market today.

The Exterior
2013 is technically the fourth model year for the modern Ford Taurus SHO and compared to the 2010-2012 SHO, the 2013 model is most noticeably different on the outside. Across the front end, the 2013 SHO wears a black mesh grille that is specific to the SHO models and black headlight around the standard projection units. One of the few complaints about the previous generation SHO was that the front end didn’t stand out enough against the non-performance models. This new grille area along is so vastly different from the other models that there is no question that this is not your run of the mill Taurus sedan.

Like the rest of the 2013 Taurus lineup, the new SHO wears a more angular grille section with a chrome trim piece that flows through the front fascia into the lower opening. The change in the grille design is accompanied by headlight lenses that are angled inward for an angrier look than the previous model and larger, black fog light housings complete with LED light bars complete the sporty yet sophisticated look. The overall design of the 2013 Taurus is incredible similar to the previous model years but with a sharpening of just about every line – the new front fascia goes a long way in making the SHO look more aggressive.

Along the side, the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO looks a great deal like both the other 2013 models as well as the previous years. The overall shape of the greenhouse with the b pillars blacked out and a chrome trim piece running around the outer perimeter adds a touch of class. The only real difference along the side of the 2013 SHO is the addition of the great looking 20” wheels sporting an aggressive design with a machined face and gloss black painted pockets. These wheels are standard with the SVT Performance Package but they are also available as an optional item for the standard SHO for just $695. I would call them a “must have” and judging by how many new SHO sedans I’ve seen on the streets of Detroit with these slick wheels – it looks like John Q Carbuyer agrees with me.

Out back, the overall shape and design of the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO hasn’t changed much but a slightly bolder spoiler, much brighter LED tail lights with a new design and new bright polished exhaust tips give the SHO a much sportier look than the outgoing models. The SHO and EcoBoost logos are proudly displayed on the passenger’s side of the rear face of the vehicle – making sure it is impossible to mistake what you are losing to as the SHO will take it to a great many of the sporty vehicles on the road today – especially in the full sized sedan class.
The exterior changes made to the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO were not major but they were just enough to freshen the look of this sport large sedan – giving it the aggressive, angry look that a car like this deserves.

The Interior
Inside, the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO is remarkably similar to the previous models but that isn’t a bad thing by any measure. The front and rear seats feature leather outers with suede center sections which look great and help keep everyone planted in their seats during stints of spirited driving. An embroidered SHO logo high on the seatback of the front seats helps to differentiate the interior from other models and both the driver and front passenger have 10 way power seat controls with memory. The front and rear seats offer heating elements while the front seats also come with a cooling feature – all of which is part of the $3,000 SHO Equipment Group 402A. This package also adds HD radio, a Sony audio system with a massive touchscreen and unique control panel, active park assist, a rear power sunshade, a heated steering wheel, blind spot monitoring and rain sensing wipers.

In terms of space, the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO can comfortably fit a tall driver and front passenger while still offering leg space for adult rear passengers with plenty of elbow room for the four main seating positions. Adding a child (or another adult) in the middle rear seat makes things tight but that is the case with pretty much every model that has a back seat but when you don’t need that extra seating position – the center seatback flips down to serve as an armrest with built in cup holders. The front seats offer as much leg, knee, elbow and head room as you can expect from a car of this size and I suspect that even very, very tall drivers will find a comfortable position with the wide range of travel by both the seat and the power adjustable pedals.

The driver and front passenger of the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO benefit from a plush center armrest that hides away a smallish storage area. As that center console flows forward, you will find a collection of piano black panels surrounding the leather wrapped shifter and when you push to open these panels, you will find a roomy cup holder against the armrest, a storage compartment next to the shifter that is great for a cell phone and in front of the shifter there is a smaller compartment that is great for change and other very small items. As you travel up along the center stack of the SHO, you find the sexy black Sony control panel that accesses the climate control and the sound system with this unique panel topped by a large touchscreen that puts control at your fingertips of just about every aspect of the interior including things like the car settings in addition to the basic radio and navigation controls.

This stereo system and touchscreen of the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO are part of the MyFord Touch system and while this elaborate high tech system has become the brunt of many complaints in the automotive industry, I found that after just sitting in my driveway and spending ten minutes with the owner’s manual while playing with the features and functions – the MyFord Touch system is nowhere near as hard to deal with as many claim. The voice control system allows you to access the navigation system without taking your hands or eyes off of the road, going so far as to search to find the address of the nearest gas station or a new restaurant simply by knowing the name and general location of the business. Unless you are technologically inept, the MyFord Touch system is one that is worth the short period of patience needed to learn the layout and were I to buy a new Ford product right now – this system would definitely be on my list of “must have” items.

In addition to the gloss black control panel and the touchscreen mounted high on the dash, the sporty steering wheel of the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO features controls for just about everything from the radio to the built in phone system. There is also a new paddle shift system that has upshift on the right side and downshift on the left side unlike the previous SHO where you could upshift and downshift with each of the paddles by either pulling or pushing the paddle. That was among my favorite features of the original SHO but Ford found that people liked a system where each paddle does something different and the new 2013 paddle shifters still offer great control of the 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. Finally, beyond the leather wrapped steering wheel is a customizable gauge cluster with a large analog speedometer in the middle with small LCD panels on each side that the driver can customize to their liking with various gauges on the left side and features of the MyFord system displayed on the right.

The interior of the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO didn’t change much from the previous years but it really didn’t need to in order to compete with the other cars in the class. The SHO offers just the right amount of luxury with features like leather and suede heated seats, leather trim throughout and a high tech infotainment system but this layout also fits well in with the high performance nature of the SHO.

The Drive
The 2013 Ford Taurus SHO is powered by the 3.5L EcoBoost V6, packing 365 horsepower and 350lb-ft of torque with the help of Ford’s twin turbocharging and direction injection technology. This power is channeled through a 6-speed automatic transmission into an advanced four wheel drive system featuring a torque vectoring limited slip differential. That all equates to a car that will get traction in even the worst conditions at reasonable speeds while also being able to afford incredible high speed and high power handling. This system allows the SHO to corner hard with strong acceleration coming out of these turns even when under hard throttle – allowing the driver to truly make the most of the 365 horsepower and 350lb-ft of torque. This AWD drivetrain also allows the SHO to launch very hard, helping it to rocket through the standing quarter mile in the 13 second range.

The 20” SHO Performance Package wheels of the 2013 SHO are wrapped in three season performance tires for great launch and cornering grip without compromising drivability in wet or muddy conditions. This isn’t a car that is really made to go offroad but should you come across a sloppy, muddy road or deep snow (provided that you have the proper tires), the SHO is a car that is hard to stop from getting where it needs to go. Helping the SHO handle so well is a sport tuned suspension setup, a sport tuned electric power steering system and an enlarged braking system that will let the driver really hammer the turns with the SHO and in the event that he or she gets too far into a turn with too much speed – the SHO brakes are powerful and quickly bring the car to a stop even from very high speeds.

All of the specifications aside, the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO is a full sized sedan that is a complete blast to drive. The twin turbo V6 puts all of that power to all four wheels in a hurry, allowing the SHO to rip up to speed from a dead stop. For a car of this size, the Taurus SHO offers incredible acceleration (thanks in part to the advance AWD system) with cornering that will make some lesser sports cars blush when you hit the twisties. Most importantly, Ford has put together this sporty sedan that will stop and turn on a dime without compromising ride quality – with a nice smooth ride that is comfortable for long rides in the plush, whisper quiet interior.

The Final Word

The 2013 Ford Taurus SHO is one of the most exciting full sized sedans available on the US market with a drivetrain that just begs to be used to thrust the SHO over the century mark. While the SHO can be driven like a mild mannered every day grocery getting sedan, this roomy 4-door has the spirit of a sports car that offers “wow inspiring” acceleration and handling. This is the kind of car that allows the driver a chance to experience pure driving excitement while still having plenty of room for cargo and passengers or all sizes. This is an awesome car for a family man who wants something that will both haul the wife and kids while also being fun to drive when the family isn’t along for the ride. However, even single guys or girls who like to go fast and want to do it in style with room to shuttle around friends – the Taurus SHO is the complete package when it comes to the world of performance minded large sedans. All this and an average fuel economy reading after 8 days of 20.1 miles per gallon makes the 2013 SHO an awesome looking and awesome running sedan.

This is a vehicle that harkens back to Ford’s slogan of “Drive One” as, when you drive the 2013 Taurus SHO, you are bound to fall in love with every aspect of this brawny sport sedan.

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