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Zero to 60: 2008 Ford Taurus X Limited AWD
Zero to 60: 2008 Ford Taurus X Limited AWD
by J.T. Hills - SGN Contributing Writer

· More powerful 3.5-liter V6
· Flexible seating for up to seven
· All-wheel-drive handling

· Steering wheel isn't telescopic
· Popular upgrades are expensive
· Some use of materials are a bit cheap

Formerly the Ford Freestyle, the Taurus X joins the Ford lineup for 2008 as a full-sized crossover SUV with station wagon sensibilities. For 2008, Ford updated the Taurus X styling cues to be more inline with that of the Edge, with a new three-bar chrome grill, restyled hood, newly shaped front fenders and fascia, taillights, and dual chrome-tipped exhaust. The Freestyle, unlike Edge, features three rows of seating, with room for up to seven occupants. The Freestyle is powered by the new 263-horsepower, 3.5-liter Duratec V-6 engine that produces 245-lb-ft of torque and is mated with the same six-speed transmission also found in the Ford Edge. After a week with the 2008 Ford Taurus X Limited AWD, I've compiled a brass-tacks list of highly technical scientific data based upon observations, experimentation, tabulations, inspections and so forth. Here we go:

The Ford Taurus X & um&.
I didn't quite know what to make of the Taurus X when it first arrived; even with the fresh redesign from its former Freestyle roots, its overall concept eluded me. It's bigger than the Edge, with more carrying capacity than the Explorer, yet it's a station wagon - OK, crossover - but it lacks the cache of, let's say, a Volvo Crosscountry, and for a list price of $38,545, I felt there needed to be at least some cache. That was on Monday, though, and by the following Monday I truly found a great appreciation for it. It started on Wednesday, when I found that I had to move a six-foot sofa table. With the second and third rows folded flat, the big wide opening and the low lift gate, I was able to pop it in all by myself. For this Gay, the ability to move accessory furniture and still have plenty of cargo space was a big plus. Then I found that I had to take a work trip to eastern Washington that took me to the Tri-Cities, and then Spokane. The ability to make a 900-mile road trip after throwing my back out from stupidly moving a six-foot iron sofa table all by myself was another big plus.

A 3.5-liter 263-hp V6 replaces the 3.0 liter in the Taurus X for 2008, meaning an increase in horsepower of over 30 percent. Combine the increase in horsepower with a smooth six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive and you have a capable highway cruiser with plenty of get-up-and-go and decent all-wheel-drive fuel economy (est. 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway & OK, so it's not a hybrid). The Taurus X has great road feel for a car of its size, the all-wheel-drive system keeps a vehicle that would look a bit top-heavy stuck to the road, but I wouldn't exactly call it a sports wagon, either. The Taurus X is a great long road trip car. The seating is positioned up high with a clear view of the road, and there's plenty of glass, so there are no real blind spots. One annoying little thing, though, is the positioning of the steering wheel; it seems a million miles away and it's not telescopic.

The European-inspired interior is well-thought-out but seamed a bit choppy and a bit on the cheap side compared to the redesigned Mercury Sable - its sister - although it's probably the same grade of materials. I'm chalking it up to execution of the design. The controls are easy to find, and there are a million cup holders. Seating is comfortable for passengers of all sizes, front and back, and well-supported. The test car came with DVD navigation system and the Sync system. I'm in love with Sync. It downloads your complete Bluetooth phone book, and all your favorite music from your iPod, and it's all voice activated. It also came with a rear seat DVD entertainment system - great if you've just found yourself part of the Gay baby boom.

For those safety-conscious consumers out there, the Taurus X is rated the safest seven-passenger crossover in America by the NHTSA; with a five-star government safety rating for driver and passenger in frontal crash, front and rear seat in side crash, and a four-star rating in a rollover.

OK, for a before-tax price of $38,545, what do you get?
The 2008 Ford Taurus X Limited AWD comes with a long list of standard features, although the popular options added up quick. A quick look at the favorites includes:

· 265 hp 3.5-liter V-6
· Six-speed automatic transmission
· All-wheel-drive
· Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS
· Traction control
· 18" aluminum mirrors

· Dual-stage front airbags
· Side curtain airbags
· Perimeter alarm
· Integrated key fob
· Fog lamps

Comfort and Convenience
· Sync voice activated system
· Electronic auto temperature control
· AM/FM/MP3 six-disc in-dash CD with four-speaker audio system
· Leather-wrapped steering with tilt and cruise control.
· Power windows, locks and mirrors
· Eight-way power drivers seat
· Leather seating surfaces

Additional Charges
· DVD navigation system ($1,995)
· Limited convenience package with adjustable pedals, universal garage door opener, and cargo net ($255)
· Limited ultimate package with heated second-row bucket seats, power lift gate ($825)
· Aux climate control ($650)
· Sirius satellite radio ($195)
· 18" seven-spoke chrome wheels ($695)
· DVD family entertainment system ($995)
· Destination and delivery ($750)

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