I've had to have the motor mounts replaced due to my teenage driving. Receiving the car when it was 14 years old, it was driven "too hard", thus the motor mounts needed to be replaced.
Wear on the distributor caused a gear to loose a tooth and needed to be replaced. The only time the car has died on me.
The suspension on the car needed work, along with the ball bearings, due to making quick turns. (I need to stop doing that, the car is now 16.)
When it gets very cold, the turn signals have problems and do not blink when stopped.
Inside passenger door handle wear causes the door to not close unless the handle is pushed in. In other words, when you open the door to get out, the handle's spring does not pull it back in. Therefore, when you close the door it bounces back open. The door closes regularly when it is pushed in.
Many people report problems with this car, but it seems to me that people don't take care of their cars. My parents bought this car new when I was 2 years old in 1992, and it has got us safely to where we need to be for my entire life.
This is my first car and I am still driving it. I probably abuse it too much because I'm a teenager, but it has only broke down once and has never stalled on me. My parents say from riding with me and from mechanics reports, I turn too fast and accelerate too fast, causing the suspension problems and the motor mount problems.
This car also had to deal with me deciding to accidentally jump it, going 70mph, on a road with a little drop off. Saw sparks fly from the back of the car in the mirror, but no damage done to the car.
On top of that, I occasionally get bored and decide to bury the needle, being that the speedometer only shows up to 85mph. The needle just continues past 85mph until it hits the bottom of the dash. I have a video up of it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5__ZIULQr8
This car is a great winter car if you are looking for reliability. The heater works great and warms up quick. I know how to drive in the winter, and have no trouble getting up steep slippery slopes.
As most people do, the stereo has been replaced along with the speakers and added SUB WOOFERS in the back. It hasn't rattled apart yet. That's good.
One thing I love about the older cars is the 6 seat belts. 3 in back and 3 in front, allowing for more passengers when needed. I am in college, and this come in handy a lot as I am one of the few with a car.
I make long trips quite a bit, and have had no problems with this car whatsoever. It's been getting me places my whole life, and it will continue to until I get into an accident or something. I don't plan on getting rid of this car.
I don't know what the heck other people are doing to their Taurus's, but if you stay on top of the maintenance and don't drive it like a sports car, then it should be fine. Even if you do, it won't give out on you, you'll just need some repairs to keep it from completely going out, and probably for safety reasons.
All I can say is make sure you have a good mechanic. After reading all these different reviews, I can only assume some people don't maintain the car too well or have a good mechanic. The car will only run as good as you take car of it. If your mechanic sucks, then so will the car. You can't blame the car for what someone else does to it. My last/current mechanic didn't hook up a hose all the way, and when I started it to drive it home, it started smoking. He came back out and hooked it up the rest of the way in a second, and it was as good as new!
Treat the car well and it will treat you well. If you don't take care of the car, don't expect it to take care of you. It's 16 years old you know, and cars are considered to be antiques when they are 20. That is not far off.