Ages ago (in social media time) I was lucky enough to take place in the #socialtestdrive campaign for the Suburban Collection. They gave me a beautiful, fully loaded Ford Taurus Limited Edition. Isn’t she pretty? Yes, I said she.
First of all, let me preface my experience review with two personal facts:
- I drive small cars. Once in my history, I drove a Ford Explorer. Otherwise, my driving history is filled with compact or coupe sized cars. As you may guess, the Taurus is not a small compact car.
- I drive manual transmissions. With the exception of a 6 month stint and the occasional rental car, I have always driven cars with manual transmissions and I expect that trend to continue for as long as the car makers keep putting them out or making parts to repair them.
Back to my social test drive experience.
I was lucky to be brought into this cycle of coolness by my dear friend Katie (if you want in, I know a guy, maybe I can help you out). She knows I’m a car geek and who wouldn’t want the chance to drive a brandy dandy new car for a weekend? As part of my socialtestdrive fun, I got to make my video debut. Thankfully, from there on out, I was behind the camera, getting to brag and inspire envy among my peers.
The rundown of the features in this car blew me away: integrated blind spot mirrors, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, leather upholstery, the almost disco feeling ambient interior lighting (that you can pick the color of), a blind-spot warning system, paddle shifting, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a power rear window shade, and the pièce de résistance – a navigation system with a touchscreen interface, voice controls, and Sirius Travel Link service. If you think that I was doing a happy dance in my head, you’d be correct.
As a driver of a small cars, the first thing that struck me about the Ford Taurus was the smoothness of the ride. Don’t get me wrong, playing with the sound system was fun, changing the ambient light colors made me giggle (now if only there was an option to tie the lighting to your music!), and truly, the cooled seats were something that I would do many things to have right now, but the floating on a cloud feeling, both from the suspension and the seat itself was amazing. After all, my little bitty cars have been more designed for those that drive like bats out of hell, not that I know anything about that, so floating along all peaceful and calm was truly a change of pace. The only thing that made driving in the Taurus feel better than the suspension and luxurious appointments was the blind spot warning system, especially since I vaguely felt like I was driving a boat on wheels, at least at first.
Onto what seemed like it should’ve been the highpoint of my test drive experience, but really wasn’t: the paddle shifters. I’m going to try to be brief on this topic but the long and short is that they’re a great idea when you’re going straight. Oh, wait, you wanted to make turns? Then you may want to be in regular automatic transmission mode, because here’s the thing about paddle shifters – they don’t go with the steering wheel when you turn it. No, really, they don’t. While in hindsight it makes absolute sense that you can’t have parts of your transmission turning and so they need to basically stay in one location, when driving on anything other than a straightaway, this makes shifting incredibly awkward and just something to avoid.
You know what though? I was so relaxed and comfy driving the Taurus, I didn’t even care that it was an automatic. My left foot never once tapped impatiently against the spot on the floorboard where a peddle would’ve been and I was comfortable and relaxed, more so than I remember ever being in a car while behind the wheel. Even though the Limited didn’t have the EcoBoost technology I’ve been hearing so many good things about, I drove 400+ miles (yes, in a weekend) before needing to refill the tank.
I probably could go on even more about this car and my time in it, and maybe one day I will. In the meantime, let me just say, I really had a blast driving this car. My test drive experience has shown me that my next car purchase may need to be of a car dedicated to pampering and coddling its driver, because golly, that was nice! After all, in this corner of the world, we spend so much time getting to where we want to go, to do things that we want to do, why not get there in absolute comfort?