The Ford Taurus was once a household name in the automotive market, especially when sedans were at the height of their popularity. The Taurus first appeared in 1986 and had a three-decade production run across six generations. It’s a competent sedan that offers a comfortable ride, optional all-wheel drive, and a strong value proposition.
However, similar to the fates of many sedans and hatchbacks through the years, the Ford Taurus was discontinued. Sedans stopped being popular, and the Taurus ended up on the chopping block alongside the Fusion, Focus, and Fiesta.
While you can’t buy a brand-new Ford Taurus anymore, you can always buy a used model with huge markdowns. However, not all Taurus model years have good long-term reliability. For today’s guide, we’ll go through the recent Taurus generations and find the most reliable Ford Taurus year and the ones you should avoid. Let’s take a look.
2000-2007 Ford Taurus (4th Generation)
The 2000 redesign brought safety equipment, but that’s about it. Unfortunately, the fourth-generation Taurus had a lot of unreliable models.
Avoid: 2000 Ford Taurus
As expected, the debut model for this Taurus generation had a lot of complaints and reliability problems. CarComplaints collected over a thousand complaints and eight recalls for the 2000 Taurus. The most common problem with this car is the transmission system. Apparently, the transmission system was prone to failure and overheating. One user complained about not being able to use the forward gear after the transmission had just quit. Due to transmission issues, we recommend skipping this model year.
THE FORD TAURUS YEARS TO AVOID
For the longest time, the Ford Taurus was a mainstay in the automobile industry. It was first introduced back in 1986 and only just ended its final year of production in 2019. With such a lengthy run, there are bound to be Ford Taurus years to avoid.
Avoid: 2002 Ford Taurus
The 2002 Ford Taurus is another model year to skip. According to CarComplaints.com, the 2022 Taurus received more than 1k complaints and four recalls. The number one problem of this sedan is the broken front spring. Numerous reports detailed how their vehicles’ tires had been blown out and discovered the broken front springs. One complainant wrote:
“I was in my driveway leaving for work when I heard a loud BANG. I thought my daughter had left a toy in front of the car and I ran over it. I got out, looked, nothing. Started down the driveway again to a really loud noise. Backed up, thats when my husband came out and asked what I ran over. He said spring was breaking.”
Another major flaw of the 2002 Taurus is its faulty transmission system. With over 20 written complaints, frustrated drivers claimed the transmission system went out at around 80k miles. And the common fix is with an expensive transmission replacement. Avoid the 2002 Taurus if you can.
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Avoid: 2003 Ford Taurus
The 2003 Ford Taurus is easily the most unreliable model year of this sedan and must be avoided at all costs. CarComplaints declared the 2003 Taurus as the worst model year, no thanks to its severe transmission issues. It racked up over 2k complaints and four recalls at the website and received the “Avoid Like the Plague” badge.
The transmission issue has received a whopping 340 written complaints, and they all describe just one thing: the transmission just went out without any warning or symptoms. Then, owners are in a hole for an average of $2,000 to replace the transmission. If you can avoid one Taurus model year, make it the 2003 version.
Buy: 2006 Ford Taurus
The 2006 Ford Taurus is one of the better models of this generation. As per CarComplaints.com, the 2006 Taurus received only 491 complaints and three recalls – significantly lower than the earlier must-avoid models. It has an issue that cuts off the engine while driving, but there’s not enough prevalence to be considered a significant issue. For the older models, the 2006 version is easily the most reliable Ford Taurus year.
2010-2019 Ford Taurus (6th Generation)
The sixth generation of the Taurus brought a beautiful redesign and a wealth of safety features like adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and forward-collision warning. The sixth generation is also the last lineup of the Taurus before it was discontinued, and it has several reliable models worth checking out.
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Buy: 2010 Ford Taurus
The 2010 Ford Taurus is a solid sedan with great features, an enormous trunk, a quiet cabin, and an available AWD. Interior quality is slightly on the plain side, but its long-term reliability is impressive. It received reports of a stalling engine, where drivers experienced an engine shutoff out of nowhere.
“We were driving on the interstate at night and the engine suddenly shut down. We managed to coast onto the shoulder of the road but it was a dangerous situation. The car was towed to the nearest Ford Dealership for evaluation.”
Despite these reports of engine problems, these are just a few reports, so we can’t consider it a widespread issue. However, it’s worth checking for engine problems if you plan to buy a used 2010 Taurus.
Buy: 2016 Ford Taurus
If you need a good balance of newness and value, the 2016 Ford Taurus can bring you the best of both worlds. Over the years, the 2016 Ford Taurus received only 58 complaints, and two recalls over the years, as per CarComplaints. While it doesn’t have a very competitive interior space or performance, the 2016 Taurus makes up for it with excellent safety scores, comfortable ride quality, and available all-wheel drive. A used 2016 Taurus may cost you between $7,999 to $28,900, depending on mileage.
Buy: 2019 Ford Taurus
The 2019 model is the Taurus’ Swan Song, and it’s a pretty good and reliable midsize sedan. The final model year of the Taurus offers good reliability scores, exceptional safety scores and advanced features, and low ownership costs. Even when sedans are not that popular anymore, the 2019 Taurus presents a compelling package like its peppy 3.5-liter V-6 engine capable of 288 hp and a sizable trunk for keeping your luggage safe.
If you don’t mind the less-than-stellar interior quality and unengaging performance, the 2019 Ford Taurus is an excellent midsize sedan you can safely buy as used. This model year has a price range of $9,988 to $23,500 for a used unit, depending on mileage.
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So you’re in the market for a used vehicle? We’ve gone ahead and prepped some essential questions to ask when buying a used car.
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