1995 Ford Taurus

By November 10, 1999
1995 Ford Taurus

If your family needs run extra large, as in extra large loads and extra large trips, you may have to look beyond sedans. Perhaps, though, you’re just not into high-riding, box-shaped transport wagons on a par with today’s minivans. They don’t perform, you say, and they’re not pretty. If that’s your problem, let us tell you about the Ford Taurus LX Wagon, the minivan that looks like a car.

Station wagons are a dying breed, there’s no doubt about it. The imports make only a few small wagons. Chrysler is completely out of the wagon business.

Some automakers, however, are still in the game. General Motors makes the huge rear-drive Chevrolet Caprice and Buick Roadmaster, and also the Oldsmobile Ciera, Buick Century and Saturn wagon. And the company that first popularized the station wagon – Ford – is carrying on a tradition with the Taurus family of wagons, as well as with the small Escort and Tracer wagons.

A Taurus, or even a Mercury Sable wagon for that matter, could be the perfect answer for a young family that needs space and style. The loaded Taurus LX has plenty of both.

Walkaround

Ford’s best-selling Taurus front-drive intermediate family of vehicles includes the country’s best-selling station wagon. The Ford midsize wagon shape has changed little since 1985, when the current body shell was introduced. After 10 years, it still looks great, a testament to its then-radical design.

There’s a GL version for starters, with no lower body cladding and a more basic interior, offering a standard 140 hp 3.0-liter V6 and a 4-speed electronic automatic overdrive transaxle.

The LX package includes color-keyed lower body cladding, cast aluminum wheels, console and floor shifter, the light group, a cargo area net, cloth seats, and cloth and vinyl trim.

All Tauruses come with dual airbags, air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, electric rear defroster and tilt wheel as standard, but the LX is a considerable upgrade for the money. Both wagons come with standard roof racks, and both are available with extra-cost anti-lock brakes (ABS).

Little has changed on the 1995 Taurus LX Wagon from last year’s offering. The 3.0-liter base V6 engine gets a number of durability upgrades, and Ford claims that the suspension has been retuned end-to-end for a smoother ride.

Solar-tint glass in the front and rear has been made standard in all models. And for the first time, taillamp assemblies are made of recyclable plastic.

The 3.0-liter base engine and the 3.8-liter optional V6, with a balance shaft for smoother running, are both rated, oddly enough, at 140 hp, but the 3.8 is rated at 3800 rpm and the 3.0 at 4800 rpm. The 3.0 makes 165 pound-feet of torque at 3250, but the 3.8 makes a much heftier 215 lb.-ft. at only 2200 rpm, and is the clear choice for heavy hauling.

Interior Features

When these cars were revamped inside and out in 1992, they weren’t given enough credit for change – and the most change took place on the inside.

Our LX Wagon had a rich and interesting environment, with lots of nice detailing around a very well-done basic set of analog instruments, triple rotary controls for climate and the annoying small-button Ford radios. An AM/FM stereo is standard, and it even comes with handy remote controls for volume and station on the dash.

The new-in-’92 instrument panel received dual airbags as standard last year, along with CFC-free air conditioning. The panel is very easy to use and see, with more attention to graining and texture than most intermediate cars’ instrument panels.

The Taurus’ seats are somewhat spare but proved to be long-term comfortable, and the flip-up tailgate with separate flip-up glass is a model of good design. There were cupholders and storage nooks all over our LX Wagon – in the doors, the console and in the rear.

All of the interior materials of our tester seemed first-rate, and components were well-made and installed with a minimum of visible mechanical stuff or bare metal.

The Taurus Wagon is flexible, too. You can get seating for five, six, seven or eight people, and the third seat can face either forward or rearward, depending on the seating options you choose.

Ford designers didn’t forget they were creating a station wagon. We enjoyed adequate hip- and legroom with six adults, and we had a generous amount of cargo area behind the rear seat, to boot.

Driving Impressions

The Taurus LX Wagon with the optional 3.8-liter V6 engine has a chassis/powerplant combination that’s been under continuous development for more than 10 years now, and it is just about thoroughly sorted out.

The 3.0-liter engine is perfectly adequate for the needs of most small families in this wagon, but we would recommend the 3.8 anyway because it tends to operate under less strain than the 3.0. The extra power and torque and the smoothness added by the balance shaft are worth the minimal investment, and the gas mileage is about the same anyway. This is the same engine you can buy in a Lincoln Continental.

The Taurus Wagon is no rocket, but it certainly isn’t a slouch. Acceleration and passing power are very good. We found the transaxle to be quiet and smooth in operation, and it kicked down quickly when needed.

We would classify the ride quality of the Taurus Wagon as just this side of stiff. The wagon rides flat, but a fair amount of harshness comes through, especially high-impact harshness. All the same, the small stuff gets soaked up very well.

The Taurus steering system has always had a pleasant heft to it, and that trait continues into 1995, making the wagon a deft handler that doesn’t wander about on the highway.

The thick steering-wheel section and the nicely assisted steering give a feeling of command and control behind the wheel.

A wagon is, by its very nature, louder in operation than a sedan. There’s not much structure between a wagon’s rear tires and its occupants’ ears, but the Taurus does a good job of keeping that roar down to a bare minimum.

We never got into an ABS-on situation, so we can’t describe that part of the braking system’s efficiency. But we were pleased with the positive, progressive pedal feel and stopping power in normal situations.

As for its wagon qualities, well, the Taurus holds a little less than 40 cu. ft. with the seat up and just over 80 cu. ft. with the seat stowed. Those numbers qualify it as a serious and useful station wagon, but most definitely not a minivan.

The tailgate goes up and away for big-load packing, and the window glass can be popped open for small-item storage out back.

Yes, there are other midsize wagons that hold a third more stuff, but they have roofs with square corners, and the Taurus Wagon doesn’t. You have to eat some space to get the sexy body shell.

Summary

The Ford Taurus Wagon (and its twin, the Mercury Sable) offers a great combination of space, style and solid functional performance that the other wagons can’t match. But if serious hauling is your need, a larger-capacity wagon or small minivan might suit you better.

All of the things that have impressed us about the perennially popular Taurus were present on the ’95 LX Wagon.

If you want some style in your wagon, the Taurus and the double-the-price Audi wagons are the only ones to get.

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