A new wave of cleaner, greener engines is on its way; they'll be smaller, but just as peppy--and they'll get better mileage. But will Americans pay more money for less engine, even if it saves on gas? That's been the big unknown.
Now Ford has tackled that problem head on. It will offer its new EcoBoost engine in the 2010 Taurus, but it'll do so in the highest-performance version, which carries the legendary Taurus SHO name. That stands for Super High Output, and it's been used over the years in blazing "sleeper" versions of the often dull Taurus family sedan.
The 2010 Taurus SHO performance model will be the first Ford to offer the EcoBoost engine.
More than 100,000 SHOs have been sold since 1989, and they're still sought after as used cars--if you can find one that hasn't been wrung out to within an inch of its life. The best part? Aside from wheels and a badge or two, the SHO looks just like your neighbor's Taurus rental car...until it blows you off at the stoplight, anyway.
Ford's new EcoBoost engine is one of the best examples of the trend toward bigger power in a smaller size. It uses gasoline direct-injection and twin turbochargers to wring out the power of a traditional V8 (365 horsepower) from a mere 3.5-liter V6. Sure, that's a far cry from the uber-thrifty 98-horsepower, 1.3-liter engine in, say, the 2010 Honda Insight mild hybrid. But full-size family sedans have a place in the market too, and there will always be buyers for the fastest versions. To meet rising mileage standards, EcoBoost helps leadfoots lighten up their gas consumption.
Like most engines these days, all you can really see of the EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6 is...a plastic cover.
The Taurus SHO ain't cheap. It starts at $37,995 and comes with all-wheel-drive and a six-speed transmission with paddle shifters as standard. It's also got stiffer suspension and a host of high-end options. It'll go on sale this summer.