Quick Drive: 2013 Ford Taurus Limited EcoBoost

By Brandon Turkus

June 27, 2012

—Dearborn, Michigan
The old racer’s adage, “There’s no replacement for displacement” is antiquated and old. It needs to go to the scrapheap of automotive clichés, and never return. The reason is, there is a replacement for displacement, and it’s called turbocharging. While automakers around the world have made strides with the trusty turbo, we’d make a strong argument that Ford is leading the charge with its EcoBoost range of engines.
We’d make this argument for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Ford is on pace to sell 1.6 million EcoBoost engines this year, is offering the turbo technology on damn near every vehicle it sells, and because EcoBoost-driven vehicles are really great drivers.
[Click here for our review of the 2013 Lexus ES350]
We saw this last reason being tested when we received an invitation to drive the 2013 Ford Taurus with the same 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine found in the Focus ST, Edge, Explorer, Escape, and upcoming Ford Fusion. We found the 2.0T and Edge to be fine companions, but were a bit more nervous about it in the Taurus. For some reason, 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque just seemed like a lot less power when we’re looking at a huge sedan as opposed to a five-passenger CUV, despite these two weighing nearly identical amounts (the Edge is 34 pounds lighter, for the record)
The power the 2.0T developed wasn’t the story here, though. Neither was the impressive 32-mile-per-gallon highway rating (although it’s certainly worth mentioning). Where the EcoBoost seems most impressive is when the 2.0-liter and 3.5-liter are driven back-to-back.
Having 16 more pound-feet of torque than the V-6 helped. Having a torque peak that’s 1000 rpm earlier helped a lot more. When we tapped into the maximum amount of shove at a reasonable 3000 rpm, not only did the car feel faster, but that speed also felt more accessible. The Taurus EcoBoost seemed to require less urging than the V-6 model, which contributed to the added sense of power.
This is one of the big reasons that we love small-displacement turbos. The power on offer was just so much more usable in regular driving conditions. There was no waiting for the engine to get into its sweet spot, because the sweet spot was so broad that we just smashed the gas and went.
Ford Taurus Interior
Despite being the same engine, the 2.0T interacted quite a bit differently with the Taurus than with the Edge we drove several months back. Torque steer was less noticeable, arguably down to the Taurus’ softer suspension, and the car seemed more willing to hook up. There was less engine noise, particularly at speed, where the sedan’s heavy sound insulation did a fine job of soaking up the EcoBoost’s rumblings.
Like the Edge, the Taurus EcoBoost utilized a six-speed automatic transmission, although this one had an honest-to-God manual mode. The SelectShift system is a familiar one, and banged out decently quick upshifts from the rocker switch on the side of the gear selector. Left in automatic, upshifts were quick and properly timed downshifts kept the engine where it was happiest, and really allowed us to hustle the big sedan along our drive route. Stabbing the throttle, we were never caught out, waiting for a shift. Instead, we simply moved along on a pleasant wave of torque.
Buyers of the 2.0-liter Taurus can expect to net the aforementioned 32-mpg highway rating, while also nailing 22 mpg in the city. That makes for a combined rating of 26 mpg. Compared to the 3.5-liter V-6, the EcoBoost gets an extra 3 mpg in the city, highway, and combined. The 2.0-liter will be a $995 option, so if our math is correct (we're using the AAA national average, which is $3.38 as of this writing), it’d take 98 refuelings to break even. Assuming everyone gasses up at least once per week, that means buyers will have recouped that $995 in less than two years (1.88 years, or one year, ten months, and two weeks to be exact). If you ask us, that’s a money saving measure we can certainly get on board with.
Other than the engine, the Taurus remains largely unchanged for 2013. If you want to snag an EcoBoost, non-SHO Taurus, they’ll be going on sale this summer, and will be available on the SE, SEL, and Limited lines. All we’d ask is that you don’t ignore the smallest engine in the range, because it’s a darn good one.
2013 Ford Taurus Limited EcoBoost
Engine: Turbocharged inline-4, 2.0 liters, 16v
Output: 240 hp/270 lb-ft
Fuel Economy, City/Hwy: 22/32 mpg
Weight: 3964 lb
Base Price: $33,995
On Sale: Summer 2012