2003 Ford Taurus Overview
New for 2003
Available real wood and leather trimmed steering wheel
Dark paledo wood trim on instrument panel and gear shift knob (SEL only)
Imola leather trimmed seats (SEL only)
New seven-spoke wheels
Adjustable pedal switch moved to instrument panel for improved ergonomics
Power windows, locks, tilt steering and floor mats are standard on all series
Exterior color added: Gold Ash Metallic
New wind blocking seals on doors, windows and sideview mirrors
New sound damping in floor minimizes road noise in cabin
Illuminated cruise control switches
Ford continues to boost the quality, reliability and value of its award-winning Taurus for 2003. Craftsmanship lives inside the new 2003 Taurus. It is more than an engaging ambiance; there are many important new features, changes and improvements. From new interior fabrics and exterior colors to a laser-focus on shielding the driver from unpleasant exterior noises, the Taurus continues to build on Ford's commitment to offer one of the best all-around vehicles in the midsize class.
There are two body styles available for the 2003 Taurus, a four-door sedan and wagon, and four trim levels: LX, SE, SES and SEL. The SES Taurus is a new Sport version of the sedan (see sidebar), while the SEL Deluxe provides a more luxurious interior, complete with simulated wood grain trim, shift knob and real wood and leather-trimmed steering wheel. Taurus is available with one of two fuel-efficient V-6 engines: a 3.0-liter OHV Vulcan that produces 155 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque, and a 3.0-liter DOHC 24-valve Duratec that produces 200 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. All Taurus models have automatic transmissions, and both engines are designed to go 100,000 miles before the first scheduled tune-up, with normal fluid and filter changes.
A flexible fuel version of the Vulcan engine can run on E-85 ethanol, regular unleaded gasoline or any combination of the two in the same 18-gallon fuel tank. The Taurus carries forward the exterior styling that made the prior series one of the best-selling sedans in North America.
Taurus has earned double front five-star crash safety ratings from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for four straight years.
It is built at Ford's Chicago and Atlanta assembly plants.
Interior Refinement, Comfort
New interior color clusters and improved seating fabrics, both leather and cloth, further improves the quality and appearance of the 2003 Taurus interior.
Two-tone cloth seats with a more pleasing pattern are now available and imola leather, provides improved feel, comfort and durability.
The use of light-colored materials brightens the interior of the 2003 Taurus.
The Taurus Sport package includes new two-tone cloth seats and pewter finished interior pieces, a floor shifter, and special badging. Five-spoke directional sport wheels and monochromatic front and rear appliquŽs complete the Sport package.
Taurus offers a spacious interior with a high level of convenience items. The sedan offers five- or six-passenger seating, with available 60/40 split fold-down rear seatbacks for flexibility in carrying passengers and cargo. A rear-facing third seat is available on the Taurus wagon.
The Taurus sedan trunks have 16.0 cubic feet of luggage volume, with a low liftover height of 26.0 inches for easy loading and unloading.
The Taurus wagon has 81.3 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seatbacks folded down, and 38.8 cubic feet with the seatbacks in their upright positions. The Taurus wagon's liftgate features a flip-up rear window to make loading small packages easier.
Improvements in noise, vibration and harshness for 2003 include additional damping in the floor body and a series of quality measures to reduce air leakage and cabin noise, including the use of expanding foam in the A-pillar and other body cavities and the use of new sealing material in weld access holes. These actions, all part of Ford's 6-Sigma "Black Belt" quality actions on the Taurus, better seal the vehicle and reduce noise and wind leaks in the cabin.
Ride and Handling
All Taurus models deliver power to the front wheels through a four-speed automatic overdrive transmission with adaptive shift control programming which maintains the same shift quality throughout the life of the transaxle.
The standard MacPherson strut independent front suspension includes a front stabilizer bar to control body lean.
Sedans use a quadralink rear suspension design with nitrogen gas pressurized shocks. Wagon models use a short- and long-arm independent rear suspension with nitrogen gas pressurized shocks and progressive rate springs, which help to maintain ride comfort at various loading levels.
Taurus sedans have power-assisted front disc and rear drum braking. Wagon models have four-wheel disc brakes. The anti-lock braking system, which is a no-charge option, helps to prevent braking-induced wheel lockup and maintain driver control while braking. The optional all-speed traction control helps to curb wheel slip under acceleration, for enhanced performance and control.
Variable- assist power rack-and-pinion steering reduces assist levels at highway speeds to improve driving feel. It increases boost at slow speeds, for reduced effort in slow speed maneuvers, such as parking.
Safety Remains Taurus Cornerstone
While interior improvements and the attention to craftsmanship clearly are the underlying theme for the 2003 Taurus, safety remains the cornerstone of Ford's midsize family sedan. The Taurus comes standard with Ford's Personal Safety Systemª with second-generation dual stage front air bags. Side air bags and all-speed traction control also are available.
Taurus' Personal Safety Systemª is able to adjust the deployment of the dual-stage front air bags to help protect the front occupants. The system determines if both or none of the air bags should deploy, and at what level, depending on the severity of the accident and safety belt usage.
The system uses an electronic crash severity sensor, Personal Safety System Restraint Control Module, driver's seat position sensor, safety belt pretensioners, energy management retractors and front outboard safety belt usage sensors to help protect the driver and right front passenger in certain frontal collisions.
Taurus also offers an optional side air bag supplemental restraint system for enhanced protection. The new LATCH child-safety seat system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) helps in the installation of a LATCH-compatible child safety seat.
The SecuriLockª passive anti-theft system uses an electronically coded ignition key to start the vehicle. The vehicle will not start if the key does not have the code. An available perimeter anti-theft system monitors doors, hood and decklid against unauthorized entry. All Taurus doors lock automatically when they are closed, the ignition is on, the transaxle is in gear and the brake pedal is depressed.
Since its introduction, the Taurus has repeatedly been praised by independent sources. Right out of the gate in 1985, it was a hit with consumers and the best-selling car in the U.S. from 1993 to 1997. In 2000 it was resigned, featuring new styling and comprehensive safety package. The 2002 Taurus was selected by Parents Magazine and the American Automobile Association (AAA) as one of the best vehicles for families based on crash tests, braking performance, trunk space, ease of installation of child seats, gas mileage, maintenance plans and roadside assistance. The selection of Taurus is part of a public service campaign by these two organizations called "Seated, Safe and Secure" to help improve child-passenger safety.
The Taurus continues to be rated a double five-star from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the highest crash rating NHTSA awards for frontal crash tests. In addition, Taurus is rated a "Best Pick" from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in its offset frontal crash test.
Taurus: A Best Value
Beyond its proven quality, safety and performance, the Taurus treats its occupants to a lengthy list of standard features, including: power windows and locks, tilt steering, floor mats, AM/FM stereo cassette and six passenger seating.
Every 2003 Taurus comes with a 3-year/ 36,000-mile limited warranty, as well as a five-year, unlimited-mile limited corrosion warranty. In addition, the 24-hour Ford roadside assistance program provides peace of mind on those days when an owner might need a few gallons of fuel, a jump-start or the mounting of a spare tire.
2003 Taurus Sport SES
For 2003 the Taurus lineup grows with the addition of the Taurus Sport SES, designed to appeal to a younger buyer searching for a sportier style at a good value. The Sport comes equipped with Ford's 3.0-liter DOHC V-6 Duratec engine that delivers 200 horsepower and 200 foot-pounds of torque.
Wrapped around the all-aluminum engine is a fully monochromatic body with a body-color spear in grille and a body-color appliqué on the rear deck lid. Aluminum painted sport wheels, a rear spoiler and unique "SPORT 24V DOHC" fender badging round out the exterior of the package.
Inside, a pewter brush finish is used on the instrument panel center stack surround and the floor console. High-contrast two-tone sport seats with upgraded fabric for both front- and rear-seat passengers are visible even from outside the vehicle and appeal to younger buyers. Deep-pile floor mats feature "SPORT 24V DOHC" embroidering.Sport Edition Key Exterior Features:
Available colors: Dark Shadow Gray, Matador Red, Medium True Blue, Silver Frost, BlackMonochromatic grill insert and rear deck lidRear spoilerFront-fender "SPORT 24V DOHC" badgingExclusive 16-inch aluminum five-spoke wheels
Key Interior Features:
Black interior with two-tone black and gray cloth seatsPewter brush finish on the instrument panel and the floor consoleFront floor mats are embroidered with the words "SPORT 24V DOHC"
"The 2003 Taurus offers better packaging, upgraded interiors, and a range of new options," says Chris Roe, Taurus marketing manager. "The Sport edition is an exciting and value-rich addition to the Taurus line."