2011 Ford Taurus Limited

The thing about the Taurus Limited: If it had a Lincoln logo, you wouldn’t be surprised.

The thing about the Taurus Limited: If it had a Lincoln logo, you wouldn’t be surprised.

Although there is lots of talk about “One Ford” vis-à-vis the focus on the core brand and the idea that since the Ford Motor Company has some fine products in other parts of the world (e.g., the Fiesta) they belong in other places, like North America, one thing that many of us in North America probably don’t realize is that if you go to, say, Europe, you’re not going to find the Lincoln brand. Ford is it, from top to bottom and everything in between. And I’m guessing that that’s just fine so far as the consumers are concerned. Ford is undoubtedly perceived as a competent, quality brand from top to bottom.

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This is not to argue that there shouldn’t be a Lincoln brand in the U.S. Rather, it is to put the Taurus Limited into the sort of context that it belongs. This is a big car. A substantial car. A car with a long list of features and amenities. A solid car.

And it comes with a non-trivial price tag. The car as Driven has a MSRP of $31,770. Add in a few packages that bring to bear everything from blind-spot monitoring to heated and cooled seats to adaptive cruise control to voice-activated navigation, then, with the delivery fee, you’re bumping $39K.

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Mind you, this is not to be critical of that price. But it is somewhat surprising if you think of Ford as being the Great American Brand of Affordable, Quality Cars & Trucks. And even if you don’t think of it as being the GABAQCT, then you might think that if you’re going to be spending nearly forty-grand on a car, shouldn’t it be something that is generally considered to be a “luxury” car in terms of badged perception, if nothing else?

While I know it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, the Infiniti G25 sedan starts at $31,400, and chances are someone who rolls up to the valet stand at a pricey restaurant is going to get a better parking spot with the G than with the Taurus.

Which brings me back to the point of thinking of “Ford” as merely afFORDable. There’s more to it. A lot more.

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Sure, it has somewhat senior styling. (My mother thinks it is a striking vehicle, and I won’t reveal how old she is lest I am on the receiving end of a mother’s ire.) But look at all of the touches, whether it takes the form of the projector-beam headlamps or the 19-in. chrome wheels; the tilting and telescoping steering wheel or the Sync system; the capless fuel-filler receptacle or the rear-view camera.

It drives like a big car, but not like a sluggish one. It is comfortable without being cushy.

So what it all might come down to is a question of value. Not price, but value. And not just value in terms of the calculation of what the sum of the parts add up to, but whether you’re personal value is such that you can be content—if not happy—that you can get a car that has a Ford badge that’s this good without worrying about what some snooty neighbors might think.

Selected specs

Engine: 3.5-liter V6

Material: Aluminum block and heads

Horsepower: 263 @ 6,250 rpm

Torque: 249 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 112.9 in.

Length: 202.9 in.

Width: 76.2 in.

Height: 60.7 in.

Base curb weight (FWD): 4,015 lb

EPA Estimates: 18/27 mpg city/hwy