Well, Ford, I’ve gotta hand it to you. You did it, something that TTAC readers probably thought unlikely, improbable, maybe even downright impossible. I’m about to type some words that most of you never expected me to say.
I found a Ford that I don’t like. Its name? Taurus Limited. And we had a wretched week together.
It’s hard out here for a full-size car. Sales are declining on a consistent basis, as crossovers and falling demand for V6 and V8 non-premium sedans eats into the once-proud full-size segment. Talk of Ford killing off the Taurus seems to float around, while at least half of all sales in the broader segment seem to go to fleets. Market forces might claim their next victim in the form of the Hyundai Azera.
There’s a “problem” with the modern performance variant: they are too easy to review. You see, dropping a high-horsepower V8 into anything makes it good. Take the last generation Chrysler 300 SRT8. It’s interior was made from plastics rejected by Lego and Rubbermaid and you’d be hard pressed to tell it apart from the $9.99 rent-a-car special. The big difference with the SRT versions was that Chrysler stuffed a 425HP 6.1L V8 under the hood and a set of pipes that made the 300 sound like sex. The uncomfortable seats, crappy dash plastics and 1990s stereo were distant memories. If Chrysler had managed to fit the same V8 into the Sebring, it would have been the best convertible ever. This time is different. Before the 2013 300 SRT8 arrived, I decided I would not be seduced by Chrysler’s larger, meaner, sexier, more powerful 6.4L engine and review it like any other car. Can that be done?
Hyundai’s press materials list the 2012 Azera’s competitors as “…traditional large sedan sales leaders such as Maxima, Lacrosse, Avalon and Taurus.” But those cars were on the minds of exactly no one at the Las Vegas launch of the 2012 Azera. Only the Lexus ES350, the market’s leading 4-wheeled sensory deprivation tank, was on the lips of the assembled journos when talking about the Azera’s competition. Hyundai didn’t give us much time with the car, but one thing was clear.