The 2000 Ford Taurus, which officially goes on sale Nov. 4, is a sedan with diminished expectations.
Ford Division is abandoning the oval styling, football-shaped instrument cluster and tight import-style ride of the current Taurus. A primary lesson Ford learned: Taurus buyers do not want flashy styling that makes them stand out from the crowd. What they want is safety, a quieter car, a softer ride and more conveniences.
So the 2000 model carries several safety innovations, including an 'advanced restraint system' that determines the severity of a crash, safety belt use and the driver's seating position before deploying the airbags for a low- or high-energy frontal crash. Ford estimates the new system will cut in half the number of airbag deployments needed when occupants are wearing safety belts in accidents.
An emergency trunk release is standard on the redesigned car. Head-and-chest side airbags are available as options, as are adjustable accelerator and brake pedals to allow shorter drivers to sit farther from the steering column.
The sedan is being sold in LX and SE versions. Compared with the current model, the 2000 Taurus is 1 inch taller and 0.1 inch longer. Back-seat passengers gain 1.9 inches of rear headroom, and trunk space increases by 1.2 cubic feet.
A station wagon, restyled only from the B-pillar forward, remains in the lineup.