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  1. #1
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    This Ford Taurus is sweet!

    Ha, I'm not kidding. This car just came to our laps testing for carreview.com. A Taurus??? But hey, this is actually the old Ford Freestyle. It's been updated and renamed to the Taurus X.

    Let me just say that this is the best US made cars that I have ever driven. Everything about it has surprised me. This crossover configuration is nice too. Not quite an SUV, not quite a van or a wagon. It's all the best things of those cars blended into one.

    The engine, the electronics, the seats, the handling, noise level are all awesome. Look for my review in Carreview.com. The only issue is reliability and resale value. Oh, and this car is decent at $27k but I just noticed my tester is $37k!

    Anyone else try or consider this car?

    fc
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  2. #2
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    Nice attempt but the reliability scares me and it still looks too van-like. I'm sure it will appeal to some. Does it come with AWD as an option? What is the ground clearance?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    Nice attempt but the reliability scares me and it still looks too van-like. I'm sure it will appeal to some. Does it come with AWD as an option? What is the ground clearance?
    Why does reliability scare you? You must read consumer reports, one of the most biased publications in existance. I've had a blazer w/ 160,000 mi, an expedition w/ 200,000 mi, and an escort w/ 185,000 miles. All reliable and I can prove it!

  4. #4
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    We looked at the Taurus X before we bought our 07 Expedition. I never thought I'd own a Ford until we test drove it. Yeah, the reliabilty shouldn't be an issue anymore.

    It's the ultimate mountain bike hauler.

    tk

  5. #5
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    biggee- you must know a lot about every consumer out there. While your vehicles may be fine, a much larger percentage than average, have a lot of problems. My personal experience of owning and knowing others who own Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Chevy, Honda, Toyota, Audi, BMS, etc gives me all the info I need concerning reliability.

    Reliability is an average of problems per so many hundred or thousand or simply a set number of vehicles that can be compared to each other. Not all Ford Freestyles will have problems and some will possibly last $150K without major issues but I'm more willing to bet on other vehicles with my money.

    Consumer Reports may be a decent guide actually. I certainly don't think they are the MOST biased. I don't read it much anymore- I have lived, observed, inquired long enough to know for myself.

  6. #6
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    I'd like to know more about actual/tested gas mileage, ground clearance, weight, AWD options, and all that before considering a vehicle. Then I'll wait ayear or two to see what "teething" problems and recalls come up. Heck, I'll even go and talk to some service managers at a couple of dealerships to find out what problems they are consistently seeing. I'll talk to people I know who own it. I'll read their model/brand forums too. The forums can be an invaluable source of info. That's sort of how I go about bringing a vehicle into my shortlist (or excluding it).

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    biggee- you must know a lot about every consumer out there. While your vehicles may be fine, a much larger percentage than average, have a lot of problems. My personal experience of owning and knowing others who own Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Chevy, Honda, Toyota, Audi, BMS, etc gives me all the info I need concerning reliability.

    Reliability is an average of problems per so many hundred or thousand or simply a set number of vehicles that can be compared to each other. Not all Ford Freestyles will have problems and some will possibly last $150K without major issues but I'm more willing to bet on other vehicles with my money.

    Consumer Reports may be a decent guide actually. I certainly don't think they are the MOST biased. I don't read it much anymore- I have lived, observed, inquired long enough to know for myself.
    Hey man, it's my opinion. I myself drive a Nissan. I get confused when people bash American cars for their reliability and not the Germans.

  8. #8
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    My Dad has one for a company car and pretty reliable as of now... Ride feels nice, it is full time 4 wheel drive. I drove it recently and I thought it had loose steering and I didn't really like the feel of it. I think my dad averages around 22-24 mpg (He does mostly highway driving, and that what the computer said). I would get a toyota.

  9. #9
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    I think you misunderstand me- I was only saying that the reliability I know of (regarding the Freestale in the past) has been pretty bad. I have no problem with American vehicles now- the overall reliability has been improving significantly.

    The European vehicle relaibility has in fact been dropping but damn, those Audis handle well and have some sweet interiors

    I currently own a Subaru but have owned Fords and Chryslers, as well as Hondas and Nissans. I like review like this done by these guys since they appeal to an audience like us (outdoors-minded and active). This is why I asked the questions abour AWD and clearance. I like the interior and the quietness of it.

    Not bashing American at all- I have usually been a staunch buyer of Japanese vehicles lately but I'm willing to open my eyes and buy American as long as it suits my needs, even if I give up some theoretical/statistical reliability.

  10. #10
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    I just purchased an Ice Blue Taurus X Limited FWD in February 2008, a couple months ago. It's a superb car that's a hidden gem. I don't think Ford is advertising it as it looks too much like a wagon to entice buyers. The boxy new Flex CUV coming this summer will get over the image problem. It's based on the same D3 platform and otherwise very close to the Taurus X in features and size.

    Oddly, Consumer reports recently gave the Taurus X a top rating and recommended buy over the Toyota Highlander and other cars. They found it has the best safety and top reliability, and an excellent car in many other ways. Nevertheless, to cover me and all the expensive tech gadgets I got in the car, I got me a 100,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty for $1500. Also, Car and Driver also gave the Taurus X a thumbs up on handling.

    The mileage is officially rated at 16/24 city/hwy for the Taurus X FWD. I get average gas mileage as high as 28 MPG driving on flat highways at 65 MPH, and 25 MPG driving on rolling hills at 70 MPH. (This is averaging over a couple hours or driving) In the city, the mileage can go as low as 0 stopped at a light. I see more like 16-19 MPG average depending on how much starts and stops I'm doing. But the T-X goes from 0-60 MPH in 7.7 seconds with its 263 HP engine.

    Ford says the ground clearance is only 5.1”. I took a ruler around under the car. Most of the car has over 8” of ground clearance. But the exhaust system brings it down to around 7” along the center of the car. Worse, the engine exhaust manifold dips a little and comes to a little over 6” right under the engine. I suppose fully loaded and with some bouncing, it could drop to 5” at that point under the engine. However, I’ve had no problems getting over rough bumps and deep ruts on dirt roads at mountain biking parks with my Sable Wagon with less clearance. So I suspect the Taurus X will be much better and even less of an issue.

    The Taurus X has an excellent AWD as an option, but I don't need it in CA and went with the FWD for a little better gas mileage.

    [SIZE=2]Even best is the SYNC system and more integrated electronics and sensors than an AWACS plane. I got the Navigation, Satellite Radio, rear DVD, and other options. For example, driving along my youngest daughter can watch cartoons on the DVD listening to wireless Channel B. My teen daughter is streaming her phone music via Bluetooth to the car and back to wireless headphone Channel A. I'm listening to Satellite Radio up front. And all this can be easily set up by voice commands. The kids in back can control the front or back sound with a remote, and I can control the front and rear via the Nav panel. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=2]I put all my music on a Flash Drive and plug it into the USB port. It's automatically indexed and I can ask for any song by title or artist and the success rate is very high. I can also voice dial the phone numbers that are automatically downloaded from my phone via Bluetooth.

    The safety on the Taurus X is the best in the world. It was only one of a couple CUVs (such as Volvo) to get the IIHS top safety awards. It has pretension seat belts, side air curtains, six air bags altogether, stability control systems, rollover sensors, SPACE cabin integrity, .....

    There's way more than I can mention now. Go to the Taurus X web site and the multimedia site where you can see crash videos and analysis. I'm doing a longer report and pictures later. First I want to get six bike racks on the car to match the six large passengers it can carry.
    [/SIZE]
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  11. #11
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    Ford power steering used to be a bit loose and vague. I have liked everything BigLarry said- except for ground clearance. I'm glad to see them upping their game in reliability and safety. The ground clearance still is something they should address- by some minor redesign, I bet they could get another two inches out of it and it would not grind out on some of these Colorado forest service roads. Most are okay but a few have some big dips and rocks and trenches that form. The Forester just about makes it with its approx 8" clearance and nothing really sticking out underneath. When it is fully loaded, I bet that clearance drop an inch and I have to take it easy and really work the angles to save my underbody. Once I let my GF drive it up and she crunched the bottom on a spot I always clear- she was immediately banned from driving it offroad again.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    Ford power steering used to be a bit loose and vague. I have liked everything BigLarry said- except for ground clearance. I'm glad to see them upping their game in reliability and safety. The ground clearance still is something they should address- by some minor redesign, I bet they could get another two inches out of it and it would not grind out on some of these Colorado forest service roads. Most are okay but a few have some big dips and rocks and trenches that form. The Forester just about makes it with its approx 8" clearance and nothing really sticking out underneath. When it is fully loaded, I bet that clearance drop an inch and I have to take it easy and really work the angles to save my underbody. Once I let my GF drive it up and she crunched the bottom on a spot I always clear- she was immediately banned from driving it offroad again.
    I would say the power steering allows a very easy touch, but wouldn't call it vague. Ford has gone to a new type of combined electrical/hybrid power steering in the Taurus X to help with fuel economy. It could be the feel was fixed too.

    Ford has got a new president, Alan Mullaly, who's busy putting the fire to Ford's progress and business. The Taurus X family car is likely to be taken over this summer by the Flex, which looks like a maxi-Mini Cooper and based on the same platform. The Taurus X will likely stay around a couple more years to fit people who don't like the mini-box look of the Flex that's otherwise very much the same car.

    For your needs, Ford is redesigning the Explorer to a unibody car frame rather than it's truck body on frame (BOF) to be more car like, and then take over the Taurus X slot in the fleet. At that point, it's likely to get the ground clearance you seek, so you may want to wait until then. Rumor is this new Taurus X/Explorer morph will be available in about 2 years.

    Also by then Ford will have it's new "EcoBoost" engine available across their fleet. By using a combination of direct fuel injection into the cylinder (like a diesel) and turbo charging they can get 15-20% more gas mileage on all cars with no sacrifice in power or responsiveness. So a 25 MPG car can become close to a 30 MPG car with no power penalty. The new EcoBoost engine has a very flat torque curve versus RPM due to their twin turbo system, even more flat than a normal engine.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  13. #13
    swag ho Administrator
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    ...
    The Taurus X has an excellent AWD as an option, but I don't need it in CA and went with the FWD for a little better gas mileage.

    [SIZE=2]Even best is the SYNC system and more integrated electronics and sensors than an AWACS plane. I got the Navigation, Satellite Radio, rear DVD, and other options. For example, driving along my youngest daughter can watch cartoons on the DVD listening to wireless Channel B. My teen daughter is streaming her phone music via Bluetooth to the car and back to wireless headphone Channel A. I'm listening to Satellite Radio up front. And all this can be easily set up by voice commands. The kids in back can control the front or back sound with a remote, and I can control the front and rear via the Nav panel. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=2]..
    [/SIZE]
    Nice Larry.

    Yes, I tried the Microsoft Sync. It is amazing! I plugged in my Ipod and it worked. No manual and I figured it out.

    I used the voice commands and that worked too.

    I didn't have a bluetooth phone or other devices but I'm sure that's no problem either.

    fc
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  14. #14
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    These lean and scary days are forcing some major changes. I hate to see Detroit in such trouble but on the bright side, it has will will spur innovation in addition to cost savings. I'll keep my Forester for at least two more years (well, I say that now) and will keep an eye on all the new hybrids and more efficient and spacious vehicles that will come out.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer
    Nice attempt but the reliability scares me and it still looks too van-like. I'm sure it will appeal to some. Does it come with AWD as an option? What is the ground clearance?
    I hate the American relability bs. I drive a Jeep and have had zero problems after 5 years 70k miles - if you look at consumer reports my Liberty apparently sucks. Face it America has bad marketing vs. Japan the cars have equal reliability these days!

  16. #16
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    I think Ford makes some of the best cars for the buck. How does the Taurus compare with the Explorer? My buddy has an explorer and beats the S#$T out of it and the thing runs well (with 110k miles in 5 years). I think the Explorer is an outstanding vehicle. I am not familiar with thsi new Taurus. Im use to the sedan and wagon versions of the past. Good luck with the car - im sure its great.

  17. #17
    change is good
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    I told myself I would never buy a American car unless I had too. More finacially secure now and all my vehicles are American. Cash for used American - many good buys out there and the reliablity gap is not as great as the resale gap between the Japanese and American cars IMHO.

  18. #18
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    I have a 2000 Dodge Dakota with 150,000 miles and still runs like brand new. After 9 years of owning it (got it in 99) the only thing I've done to it is replace the water pump. Not too bad.

  19. #19
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    Just like bicycles, you may think a product is American or Japanese but be horribly wrong. Most vehicles these days are built from components from all over the world and assembled wherever it ends up being cheapest when labor, transportation of the finished vehicle, and government taxes are factored in.

    My wife and I currently have a Lexus ES330 and a Nissan Quest. The Lexus for the most part is assembled in Japan, but has componentry from all over Asia, and some parts from the Middle East and Canada. The Nissan is built in the USA with parts from Europe, Asia, Canada, the US, Mexico, Brazil, etc.

    The country of origin on the vehicle ID labels only denote the final assembly point. Are they both Japanese cars? It depends on how you look at it.

    In my experience with these vehicles and others we have had, the stuff assembled in Japan is of the highest quality, and the stuff assembled here in the US is lowly crap. From my experience, in my opinion the unionized laborforce in the auto assembly industry just does not care about quality.

    The Quest is the last Nissan I will ever own due to the poor assembly quality. I would purchase another Lexus provided it is truly assembled in Japan.

  20. #20
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    Get a couple cars over the 500k mile mark, then you can talk reliable.

  21. #21
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    Woah! That thing is the Giant Reign-X of stationwagons!

    I never apologize. I'm sorry, but that's just the way I am.

  22. #22
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    Just get me to 100K with no breakdowns and then to 150 with maybe a battery and water pump replacement. After 100K, I'll get a new car and the old one can be a backup or be given to a friend in need.

    I have no need or desire to run a car past that but the key is 100K with no breakdowns. In the past 10 years, none of my Japanese vehicles have broken down while two Dodges and two Fords have- before 50K. Not saying things are not improving; just relating my own experience. I have not owned a European car unless you count my dad's Opel Kapitan or Sunbeam Talbot from back in the day

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by biggee72
    Why does reliability scare you? You must read consumer reports, one of the most biased publications in existance. I've had a blazer w/ 160,000 mi, an expedition w/ 200,000 mi, and an escort w/ 185,000 miles. All reliable and I can prove it!
    I am a consumer reports readers, they are not biased but the populations they poll have the bias. Whihc of course does maybe show a bias that they do not redesign their sample scheme.

    Regardless, they rank the reliability if the Taurus X, aka Freestyle, as being pretty darn reliable, a good design. etc.. the only bad aspect they note is resell value and MPG.

    One other thing, I think I read the Taurus X is being cut at the end of this year.

  24. #24
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    I have a 70' Cuda convertible 250K miles on the original motor. Anyone wanna try and beat that? Runs very well all things considered.

  25. #25
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    Let's focus now on this Freestyle and francois' reviews. I just like the fact that the perspective is from an active lifestyle. Handling, cargo space, clearance, mileage, wind noise- these are things I like to read about; not how many freaking cup holders there are or how nice the DVD player is or how stylish the alloy rims are. I am so tired of those regular magazine reviews that target the couch-wrestling suburbanite. Ooh, is that stereotyping? My bad

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