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New York show: New Taurus points to Falcon facelift

Superhero: Ford claims the Taurus SHO grille is akin to Superman's shield.

Big US Ford debutante presents Falcon telltale with new corporate design DNA

25 Apr 2011


FORD design boss J Mays has confirmed that the 2013 Taurus facelift featuring the company’s new corporate nose will be integrated across a variety of upcoming models, including this year’s vital Falcon makeover.

The new Ford look will also be integrated into the next-generation Mondeo mid-size sedan.

Speaking to GoAuto at the New York International Auto Show last week, Mr Mays explained Ford’s desire for a bold, coherent look that still retains each individual model’s character.

Claimed to have been heavily influenced by the latest Audi A6, the new Taurus features a cleaner and more defined hexagonal grille treatment that lends itself to a variety of model grade variations.

Bowing to US buyer feedback, Ford said that it worked hard to differentiate the sports-orientated SHO version from the more mundane Taurus models with modified grille, bumper and air intake elements.

“Both domestically and globally, we’re experimenting with various trapezoidal shapes on the front of the car,” Mr Mays explained.

“Some of those shapes are ‘Superman shield’ in nature, like on the Taurus SHO, and some of the classic inverted trapezoid on a variety of cars around the world, from Focus and Mondeo to many of our crossover products that you have seen.

“That inverted trapezoid has even made its way onto the Falcon when it goes through its mid-cycle action in Australia.

“So we’re talking very closely as a global design team about finding a recognisable face for Ford that we could spread around the world.” However, Mr Mays explained that the trapezoidal face has to be flexible enough to give it attitude: “It will be there, but it will be slightly different in every way, too.”

27 center imageLeft: Ford's new Taurus and the current FG Falcon.

Another Ford designer added that it is all about achieving the right look and proportion.

“I think SUVs and crossovers will have a slightly different aspect ratio or attitude to things as far as the trapezoidal shape is concerned,” said the designer.

“It’s not going to be exactly the same shape all the time, it’s just that the formula is one you hope everybody will recognise.” Beyond the styling, Ford promises softer trim materials and an improved feeling of ‘quality’, as well as a palpably quieter interior, in all of its future models, including the Falcon.

The recently released SZ Territory is a strong pointer to the upgrades we can expect in the 2012 Falcon.

Meanwhile, Ford global product boss Derrick Kuzak said that the V6 powertrain in the new Taurus is going global as part of the company’s One Ford mantra.

“You already know that the (four-cylinder) 2.0-litre EcoBoost in the Taurus is going to the Falcon,” he told us.

“Just as we have global platforms, we also think about engines and transmission architectures and powertrain systems in exactly the same way.

“We’re on a path of reducing the number of platforms and having them all global, and we’re doing the same thing around our powertrain architectures.” The 2013 Taurus facelift comes just over two years after the reborn American sedan was unveiled at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Besides the new slim headlights, hexagonal grille, bumpers and wheels, the makeover includes a variation of the 2.0-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 175kW of power and 340Nm of torque, a revised 216kW 3.5-litre V6 petrol unit now boasting twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT), and a host of other mechanical improvements such as electric power steering, an ‘aggressive’ deceleration fuel shut-off system and ‘smart’ battery management.

Ford also promises reduced noise/vibration/harshness properties thanks to better sound deadening and a big step forward in quality through improved trim and materials.

Ford claims the Taurus is now more ergonomically sound due to a new touch-screen interface and steering wheel-mounted toggles offering voice-activation technology.

Other new features include an active parking system and torque vectoring control that works like a limited slip differential by braking the outside front wheel slightly during aggressive cornering.

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