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January 27, 2013

Taurus moves traditional tastes forward

Whenever talk turns to cars, you still hear a lot of old-timers say, “they don’t make ‘em like they used to.” I’m pushing into that old-timer category myself, and I agree with them – but not in the way the expression is usually meant.

Nostalgic yearners complain that cars today aren’t up to the ideals of some mythical past. But from what I see, vehicles sold today far exceed past standards. They aren’t what they used to be because they’re an awful lot better.

As one measure, just look at the longevity of autos made now. Turning 100,000 miles on an odometer today is commonplace. If a car has received some care, drivers can expect to double that distance in a vehicle that remains handsome and reliable, if somewhat tired and worn at 200,000 miles. Still, not too long ago just reaching 100,000 miles was as rare as a 100th birthday.

But, OK, the “not like they used to be” lament also applies to intangible qualities, especially vehicle character and size. But even there, you can capture the expansive grandeur of yesterday’s large cars today in the full-size Ford Taurus sedan.

Taurus is a front-drive, five-passenger cruiser that combines spacious, easy-living cabin accommodations with all the contemporary engineering and manufacturing technologies that make today’s autos so superior. The model starts at $27,495, but can reach into the $30,000s, especially if you choose the all-wheel-drive option and layer on such amenities as leather upholstery ($1,495), and reverse sensing, rear-view camera and aluminum wheels (a $2,300 package). Taurus looks striking, too, with a vectored nose, stretched, bulging hood, and elegant elongation front to back.

At Regan Ford in Haverhill, sales consultant William Lafy sees the car’s qualities appealing primarily to mature drivers, especially those old enough to recall the big autos of earlier eras. But the Taurus also ropes in some tyro strivers, he explained.

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