Saturday 20 September 2008

Taurus let loose in Michigan

We first saw the 2010 Taurus sedan spied in its design stages, in a design centre which was leaked by a employee, but now spies have caught a heavily camouflaged mule undergoing road-testing in Dearborn, Michigan, MI.

The newcomer will ditch its dated, elegant lined, posh look in favour for something a bit more European. The radical change could be the result of an overwhelmingly positive response to the Ford Mondeo sedan, which is based on the Mazda6 but was too expensive to import to the U.S. It was penned by Ford's European design group led by Martin Smith. Up to this point, a U.S design group, currently led by Peter Horbury, has worked on U.S specific models like the Taurus.

Up front, it appears the 2010 Ford Taurus will stick with the corporate three-bar grille. Only the middle piece can be seen on this prototype, but we suspect the others are simply blacked out to hide the true design.

Comparing the light clusters on this prototype with the model caught in the studio, it appears as though there have been a few changes. The location of the indicator lights is different and the overall shape of the housing has changed slightly. The hump on the hood isn't anything to worry about, as it's just extra camouflage to keep the car's true proportions hidden from spy photographers.

Judging from its substantial profile, the next-generation Taurus isn't getting any smaller. The overall shape looks substantially different thanks to a lower roof line and high, rising waist-line. Although one of the prototypes is riding on a set of Lincoln MKS wheels, another had a set of huge 11-spoke rims wrapped in low-profile tyres.

It's hard to figure out what's going on out back. It looks like there's a spoiler hiding underneath the camouflage, but like the hood bulge, we suspect it's nothing more than another piece of extra foam jammed in to confuse onlookers. Another element of this prototype that's worthy of note is the design of the tail-lights. They appear to have the same vertical orientation as the current Lincoln MKS, so Ford may be using this design theme throughout its entire lineup.

The 2010 Taurus is expected to use a version of Ford's new Ecoboost V6. The new turbocharged engine promises V8 like power with the economy of a 4-cylinder. Big promises for sure, but even if it doesn't quite meet those goals, the 2010 Taurus should be one of the more powerful sedans in its class without sacrificing too much in the way of fuel economy.

Eager fans will have to wait about four months until we see the 2010 Ford Taurus in full production trim. That's when we expect to see the world premiere at the 2009 Detroit motorshow in mid-January. Sales will begin in 2009.

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