The Ford Taurus was a long-running Ford sedan that went from being a midsize option to a large full-size sedan. During that time, Ford made substantial upgrades to these models and, in turn, created a model that put performance at the forefront. The Super High Output (SHO) performance model was first available from 1989 to 1999, then again from 2010 until 2019 when the Ford Taurus ceased production. This particular sedan packed quite a punch when it came to power and came with understated styling to help it blend in with the rest of the cars on the road. What made the Ford Taurus SHO so unique?
A memorable first-generation; 1989-1991
When the first examples of the Ford Taurus SHO rolled off the production line, it sat alone in a segment that was yet to be populated. Sure, there were performance sedans, but most times, those were luxury models. The Ford Taurus SHO was a sports sedan for the regular shopper. This sedan quickly became one of the top models on Ford dealership lots.
Powering the first models was a 3.0-liter V6 engine that resulted in collaboration with Yamaha. The engine was powerful, producing 220 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque. It revved out to 7,000 rpm allowing this engine to have a reported top speed of 143 mph and getting up to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds. Further improvements included stiffer springs, dampers, and harder bushings. Furthermore, there were thicker anti-roll bars, unique wheels, and grippier tires.
Second chance changes; 1992-1995
For 1992, Ford made a few updates to this SHO to coincide with the new generation of the Ford Taurus. But, the most significant changes came in 1993 as there was now a 3.2-liter V6 engine that created 215 lb-ft of torque. An automatic transmission was also available. Otherwise, the rest of the changes were found on the exterior.
A sad sendoff; 1996-1999
When Ford unveiled the newest iteration of the Ford Taurus in 1996, the styling was undoubtedly a point of contention. The bulbous and rounded body was certainly a departure, but at least shoppers had the SHO model to look forward to. In many ways, this generation was the forgotten version as introducing a new V8 engine, also developed with Yamaha, gave a more impressive sound but unimpressive performance. Unfortunately, this new engine didn’t make much extra power, just 234 horsepower and 230 lb-ft of torque. Furthermore, drivers couldn’t enjoy a manual transmission.
This model was marred by many other issues related to the new V8 engine, which could lead to hefty repair bills.
After a few years away, 2010 was a welcome return
After nearly 10 years away from the market, in 2010, Ford brought back the popular Ford Taurus SHO. With a modern and sleek design, the Ford Taurus was much larger and, in turn, heavier and needed a powertrain to match.
For 2010, the new Ford Taurus now used a hefty 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 engine that produced 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. This increase in power was a welcome change, and thanks to the standard all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission, it got to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.
Furthermore, a huge bevy of upgrades made it more performance-focused. Unique SHO shock absorbers, springs, stabilizer, and strut mount bushing. With the available Performance Package, drivers enjoyed better brake pads, more refined steering, an oil cooler, transmission cooler, PTU cooler, and a shorter final drive ratio.
This model lasted until 2019, when Ford announced that the Ford Taurus and the rest of its cars were ceasing production.
The Ford Taurus SHO was a fun sedan for families
Throughout its lifetime, the Ford Taurus was an incredibly popular sedan. The SHO models gave an added thrill to all drives. While it is no longer available, it is possible to find an excellent example of a used Ford Taurus SHO, thanks to Autotrader. More models are always coming to the market, so keep your eyes peeled for the exact model you want.
Despite being phased out a few years ago, this sports sedan is still fondly remembered for its driving experience. The most recent models offered a throaty sound and driving experience paired with an abundance of great features and technology.
Quick hitting facts about this sports sedan
Depending on the model year, you could get a sedan that is plenty fast for most drivers. With top speeds between 133 mph to 143 mph, you won’t have something that will set records, but for most drivers, that top speed is more than enough. Be careful not to hit that speed on public roads, or you could be in for a big speeding ticket.
In addition to speed, the Ford Taurus SHO could be a good car to buy. If you can get one with a good history of regular maintenance or that did not suffer from the engine issues found from 1996 to 1999, it can be a great purchase. Make sure you understand what you are shopping for and don’t just jump for the first one you find.
A sports sedan from a bygone era
The Ford Taurus SHO holds a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts. With a focus on performance and a surprisingly comfortable ride, this model, even the older ones, is an example of a sports sedan from a bygone era. It is worth looking back at what this sedan is ready to offer drivers.
RELATED: The Used Ford Fusion Sport: Family Fun For Everyone