Buy/Drive/Burn: It's a 2018 Full-size Sedan Showdown
A recent report on the potential demise of the long-running Taurus nameplate brought mixed reactions in the comments section, and is still doing so as of this writing. Said report also inspired today’s Buy/Drive/Burn, in a get it while you can sort of way. Soon, the Blue Oval in this trio will take the dirt nap.
But that’s then and this is now — and you must choose what to do with three full-size American sedans on sale in 2018.
Ford Taurus SEL
In its sixth generation since all the way back in 2010, the Taurus was updated for the 2013 model year. Exterior updates matched with an upgrade to the standard 3.5-liter V6 engine, bringing horsepower up to 288. Selected for today’s challenge is the SEL model, which is front-drive and comes with standard dual-zone climate control. Seats are cloth, and a sunroof is not included. You do get SYNC and a backup camera. The Taurus is yours for $30,120.
Chevrolet Impala 1LT
Newer than the Taurus by a few years, the 10th-generation Impala debuted in 2014. Trims have been shaved from the Impala gradually since this model’s introduction, and for 2018 number just three: LS, LT, and Premier (formerly LTZ). Today’s specified model is a 1LT. This trim nets the 3.6-liter V6 engine, along with cloth/leatherette seating. The six-speed auto sends power to the front wheels, and MyLink is standard on the 8-inch screen. The Impala will set you back $31,595.
Dodge Charger SXT Plus
The only rear-drive option of our trio, the Dodge Charger has been with us in seventh-generation format since 2011. Since its debut, Dodge has upgraded the Charger’s transmission from five to eight speeds and implemented a new version of the easy-to-use UConnect system. The most significant change was a restyled exterior for the 2015 model year. The SXT Plus trim has the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6, producing 292 horsepower in current guise. The cloth front seats are heated, and a variety of exterior colors are available at no additional cost. Without navigation or sunroof, the SXT Plus asks $32,495.
There you have it — a trio of large American sedans in an ever-shrinking segment. Which one do you grab while you can, and which is only worth a bonfire?
[Images: Ford, Chevrolet, FCA]
Gearhead77 on Apr 17, 2018
I just had a Taurus as a rental car. It was brand new, only 13 miles on it, so I was the first person to rent it. It was a Limited trim ( about 37k on the build and price) you do get all the stuff. And a lot of it; heated and cooled leather seats, Sony audio system with SYNC which worked well and sounded good. But also, you can get that stuff in an an uplevel Hyundai or Kia too. The seating position is high, which I remember when the Taurus was introduced as the 500. You lose some of the rolling bunker aspect, unlike the Chrysler. There's lots room, but it feels a little tight due to the design of the interior. SYNC is pretty intuitive and I only used the Apple CarPlay, but it was all fine. The powertrain is coarse and while you never want for power, it doesn't feel like its power rating. Throttle response is almost 80's-90's GM hair-trigger: Lots of initial response, but not that much more when you plant it. It can be hard to smoothly pull away from a stop until you're used to it. According to the trip computer, I averaged 22 mpg across PA from NJ in moderate traffic and about 75-80mph average. Our Sienna does that with a full load of people and stuff. Ride and handling were OK. It didn't drive big, but you certainly know you're piloting a big car. Ride is a bit cloppy and stiff over uneven stuff, largely due to 19 inch wheels wearing the awful and ancient Goodyear RS-A. I'm sorry, but my Golf feels much more linear in response and composed over the road at nearly half the price of this car. I know this is an old platform and the VW is new, but the Taurus doesn't feel like 37k worth of car. The Ford does feel solid though, more solid than our Sienna, which is as old of a platform. An SHO might be fun, but I don't need a giant car and it's not worth the 40k+, not with the awful resale these cars have. I'd go with the Chrysler if I was going for a big car. For me, I'd: Buy (or lease) the Charger Drive the Ford Burn the Chevy (sorry, not a GM fan at all, even though these are decent cars)
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