I have had to replace the shock absorbers on this car three times in 110,000 miles, and the current ones are close to needing replacement again. The suspension design in the Ford Taurus is downright awful.
The transmission started roughshifting around 102,000 miles and is now in dire need of replacement.
The power steering went out around 106,000 miles and according to my mechanic much of the steering assembly now needs replacement.
The power window assembly on the back-left door died around 60,000 miles, and the window no longer opens or closes.
The cap on the lock of the back-right door broke off. It was not handled roughly by any means, it just came off and had to be replaced.
My parents bought this 1994 Ford Taurus in 1995 when it had only 5,000 miles on it. They later gave it to me when I got my license in 2000. The car had its first problems around 35,000 miles. Since then, it has given us headache after headache. My family has owned many cars, including the Taurus's twin, the Mercury Sable. Both that car and the Taurus have proven to be the most unreliable cars we have ever owned. The other cars we owned were Japanese cars: a Toyota Corona, Nissan Stanza, Mazda 323, and most recently an Acura 3.2TL. Those cars have been real workhorses, with few or no problems.
Ford's dealer service is horrible, every time I took it to the dealer to get a problem fixed, it came back with a new problem. I think these guys must be milking Ford for money under the warranty plan by creating new problems so the car must be serviced again.
So enough about the mechanical failures of the car... what about the car itself? The engine is not a very high performing design. It is a 3.0L V6, but it only puts out 140hp, so the design must be very inefficient. The car is not even capable of peeling out when the accelerator is pushed all the way to the floor from a standstill in the lowest gear. Handling is secure and predictable, but nothing special.
However, on the inside the car is very comfortable. The seats are soft and not all that supportive, but they are a pleasure to sit in even on long drives. Even the back seats are pretty good. Controls are all easily accessible and easy to figure out. There is plenty of space for storing things, and the trunk has ample room. I must point out the terrible design of the cup holders though. They are positioned so that putting anything in them blocks the radio controls. Plus, the design is such that nothing bigger than a can of soda will fit in them. You'll have a hell of a time trying to shove a coffee cup or a Coke from Burger King in there.
I have driven this car's main two competitors, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry (of the same model year as well as the newest versions). Overall, the Ford Taurus is a couple of notches below those two cars. There are some good things about the Taurus, but all in all I see no reason to buy this car. The Camry and Accord are only slightly more expensive, have much better designs, and are renowned for their reliability. Trust me: whatever small amount of money you save by buying a Taurus instead of a Camry or Accord, you will more than make up for it in all the extra repairs it will cost you.