Back in the day, Ford took their RoboCop starring, grocery getting, soccer player hauling, workhorse vehicle with a terrible name (Taurus) and somehow actually made it cool. It was called the SHO and that acronym stood or Super High Output. The SHO was fast and it even handled quite well. In 2011, Ford brought the SHO brand back. Would this car be just a “badge” glued on the trunk lid to try and score props from the successes of yesteryear or would the new SHO actually bring the juice?
Check out how this all-wheel drive twin-turbo-charged asphalt chewer handled the Racer Boy Review Categories and find out.
What kind of girl will this car help me meet?
One word… Cougar. The Taurus isn’t a flashy “Hey, check me out” kind of ride. But if you’re chilling in the shade in a parking lot during your kid’s baseball practice, chances are middle-aged, sex craved, desperate housewives will linger your way. This car says you’re a family man who can appreciate a car with a big back seat and a large trunk, but you love to absolutely dominate anything from stoplight to stoplight. Cougars appreciate that sort of rational/irrational mindset. They see it as a sign of a man who likes to live on the wild side of things but also as the kind of guy who can keep a secret.
What kind of burnout can I do with this car?
The four wheel kind, well… sort of. The Ford Taurus SHO is all-wheel drive, which means it has an enormous contact patch for the car to plant its twin-turbo charged 365 ponies. This is good if you want to stick and go (and this baby will stick-and-go), but not awesome if you want to smoke the tires. Frankly there are just too many tires putting down the power to throw down a solid burnout. My suggestion: kill the traction control, stability control, yada, yada, yada, find some water and some smooth pavement and indulge yourself with some four wheel burnout fun for your Youtube channel – the channel that you keep with your fake identity. You know, the one your employer and family don’t know about.
Can I fit a body in the trunk of this car?
It is not a question of if, it is a question of how many bodies can fit in the trunk. This trunk is larger than my college dorm room, and I had to share that room with a fat kid who loved to watch World Cup soccer but ironically, was too heavy to actually play the sport of soccer.
During the test drive I spent two weeks cramming all sorts of shit into the Taurus trunk: luggage, tools, groceries and Soap Box Derby car parts. Speaking of car parts, a friend of mine recommended I checked out a site like Compare.Parts, as it can be quite tiring searching online for parts that you want, just to help with your car’s performance. I think this would just make everything easier for me. Anyway, everything fit in the boot and there was still room to stuff in a corpse if I needed to.
Will this car get the attention of Johnny Law?
No, which is probably one of the coolest things about this car. This car is awesome fast, yet nobody that looks at it knows how fast it actually is. I drove this thing all over the East Coast at ludicrous speeds and didn’t even get a second glance from the po-po. Think of it as a stealth fighter.
Its lack of flash or recognition is great if you want to avoid speeding tickets, but bad if you are trying to impress the sixteen year old kids at the McDonalds drive-thru. Most of these kids won’t notice the car either.
Can I back up while talking on my cell phone and eating a cheeseburger?
All day long, and you won’t event spill any ketchup. With the backup camera that comes on automatically as soon as you throw the car into reverse and the Ford SYNC system hooked up to the phone for hands free access, you can back up all day long and devour your one-thousand calorie cow burger. The backup sensors work great as well, warning you when you are about to run over little Jimmy as he pedals his tricycle directly behind you as you are backing up.
Is there enough room in the backseat to get a little something-something?
The backseat of this car is so large Ford should have a condom dispenser option for the back of the driver seat. Warning, the SHO is only a five seater! Too many trips to the back seat with the old lady and you are going to have too many kids to fit in the SHO. Which will send you to minivan land, and then you’re going to sorely miss the 365 ponies under the SHO’s hood.
How many clams is this bad boy going to set me back?
$44,440 for the totally optioned out version, $37,770 for the stripped (which is lighter and faster). The blind spot monitoring system kept me out of two wrecks, and the voice activated nav system was cooler than Star Trek. The engine alone makes this baby worth the cash-ola.
Is there a motorsports event where this car could be competitive?
The all-wheel drive gives the cleanest launches of any vehicle I have ever driven with this much horsepower. Clean launches means consistency. Consistency means this car would dominate any E.T. Bracket Drag Race. It would be comfortable, respectably fast and very solid. Plus, at the drag strip you would finally be around car guys who would appreciate the SHO name.
With the power and handling this car has along with a great interior and navigation system I’d also throw it in a road rally.
Randomness and Extras
I ran the car all over the East Coast while attending the 2011 All-American Soap Box Derby race in Akron, Ohio (this explains the colored shoe polish all over the windows). I threw a family of four, tools for the soap box race, and all of the luggage for a two week vacation in the SHO and it held up great.
My wife, whom I love, complained a bit that the suspension was a touch harsh. I don’t take much stock in her complaints because if she wasn’t complaining about something, then I would assume that she had stopped breathing. For me I’d trade the ride harshness for being able to carve through freeway on-ramps in a second.
If you’re interested in information other than if you can back up while talking on your cell phone and eating a cheeseburger or what kind of burnout the car will do, you can get those nerdy sort of stats at Ford’s Taurus page.
The 2011 Ford Taurus SHO has been officially Racer Boy
thrashed on road tested.