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Presence? Check. Performance? Yes, In the SHO. Big Outside and Relatively Small Inside? Yes, Again

What changes will make it different?

Added standard features in an effort to increase showroom appeal as this full-size sedan slides into the final year of its 2010-2015 design generation. SE, SEL, Limited, and performance SHO (Super High Output) models return. There are new color choices, and features such as a rearview camera and the company’s Sync infotainment interface become standard even on the least expensive SE. Among other upgrades, the SEL gets pushbutton ignition and the Limited is available with a power moonroof.

Why should I wait for the 2016 model?

To experience the very latest version of Ford’s largest car. The redesign will bring new styling and hopefully more interior space; relatively tight passenger accommodations were always a disappointing irony, given this automobile’s generous exterior dimensions. Engineers will work to reduce mass overall, likely enabling them to fit engines that get better fuel economy with little loss of performance. They’ll probably stretch the platform that underpins today’s Fusion midsize sedan, infusing the next Taurus with some European DNA. Expect a front-wheel-drive foundation, with the return of optional all-wheel drive a distinct possibility. Anticipate even more tech gizmos, too, including a simplified version of the brand’s maligned MyFord Touch telematics.

Should I buy the current 2015 instead?

Maybe if you’re looking for a deal on a car with some presence but one that hasn’t fulfilled its promise on the road or on the sales charts. With the redesign coming, dealers likely will be generous with discounts to clear showroom space. This year’s additional features make it an attractive buy, as does the available AWD and the decent open-road moves of the sporty SHO model.

Will the styling be different?

Beyond the new colors – called Bronze Fire, Magnetic, and Caribou – no. A model-year ’13 freshening cleaned up some of the rough edges around the nose and tail. But the proportions didn’t change, leaving a high beltline and low roofline that give the cabin a cavelike ambience. Neither was the rear seat enlarged, leaving a curious shortfall of legroom and headroom for so big a car. The SHO broadcasts its intentions with exclusive touches, such as a black mesh grille, black mirrors, and specific xenon headlamps and 20-inch alloy wheels. It also has special interior touches, including bolstered front bucket seats and aluminum trim.

Any mechanical changes?

None until the redesign. The ’15 returns with a 288-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 as the base engine in all but the SHO model. Optional on the SE, SEL, and Limited is a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder from the company’s EcoBoost engine family. It costs $995 more than the base V-6 but has similar performance, with more torque and better fuel economy. Exclusive to the SHO is a 365-horse 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6. A six-speed automatic is the sole transmission; it has special calibrations and steering-wheel paddle shifters in the SHO. AWD is available on the three mainstream models and standard on the SHO, where it also is performance calibrated. All models come with antilock four-wheel disc brakes, antiskid and traction control The SHO is also available with a $1,300 Performance Package option that upgrades the suspension and brakes and adds summer tires. There’s a chance the next-generation could offer a gas-electric hybrid model at some point.

Will fuel economy improve?

The redesign will almost certainly feature aerodynamic tweaks to boost gas mileage, but until then, versions with the 3.5-liter V-6 will have EPA ratings of 19/29/23 mpg city/highway/combined with front-wheel drive and 18/26/21 with all-wheel drive. With the turbo four-cylinder, ratings jump to 22/32/26 mpg city/highway/combined. The SHO rates 17/25/20 mpg and its maker recommends 92-octane gas for best performance.

Will it have new features?

In addition to the aforementioned changes, the Limited gains power adjustable pedals and the SEL a rear-obstacle detection system as standard. Every version again includes full power accessories, with the SEL adding to the SE such amenities as dual-zone automatic climate control, remote engine start, and SiriusXM satellite radio. The Limited adds MyFord Touch to the standard Sync system and also has pushbutton ignition, leather upholstery with power front seats. Also available as standard or optional, depending on the model, cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system, adaptive cruise control, rear power sunshade, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a hands-free parallel parking system. Available safety features include blind-spot alert, lane-departure warning, and forward-collision alert.

How will 2015 prices be different?

They climb marginally, but remain competitive with such rivals as the Chevrolet Impala and Dodge Charger. Base prices here include the manufacturer’s destination fee, in this case $825. The 2015 SE is priced at $27,615 with the base V-6 and at $28,610 with the optional turbo four. The SEL begins at $30,195 with front-drive and at $32,045 with AWD; with the turbo four, it’s priced from $31,190. Base prices for the Limited are $35,115 with front-drive, $36,965 with AWD, and $36,110 with the 2.0-liter. The SHO starts at $40,930.

When will it come out?

Summer 2014

Best competitors:

Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Hyundai Azera, Kia Cadenza, Toyota Avalon

What change would make it better?

If the redesign uses a Fusion-based platform, it will be another instance of the company’s global design initiative. Fusion shares some of its components with the European-market Ford Mondeo, a car that’s been lauded by customers and the press. This bodes well for Taurus, which has not received the same praise.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]