1996 Ford Taurus Ghia 3.0L V6 Duratec from Australia and New Zealand


Great drive, awful reliability


A terribly unreliable car with many, many common problems.

Firstly, the A/C stopped working. Climate worked and blowers OK, but no cold air. Technician said it had gas, and would need to remove the entire dash to repair.

Then would not switch into 4th gear / overdrive. O/D OFF flashed on the dashboard. This is caused by a clip in the gearbox breaking, meaning it would not engage 4th gear - $500 to repair. Now clutch and gearbox slips when car is cold, will just dis-engage power.

CV joint replaced at 155,000 km's.

Alternator stopped working, causing car to die completely at full driving speeds - fortunately, I could pull over. Labour was huge, had to pay over $500 for this in labour alone.

Rear window motor worked intermittently. Again, parts cost very high.

General Comments:

A fantastic car if you have endless sums of cash. Very comfortable, great ride, but handles like a boat.

All the features are great - IF THEY WORK. If you buy one, make sure you have an extensive drive and test of every single thing on the car. If anything is not working, do not buy the car, it will cost you your life savings to put things right, and then the next thing will go wrong.

Ahead of its time, but this is its downfall. Australians - don't buy a Taurus, just get a Falcon!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd April, 2009

1996 Ford Taurus GL 3.0 V6 from North America


One big headache


Other than routine maintenance like brake pads, tires, and batteries.

550000 miles - Ball joints, tie rod ends, CV joints. This suspension was built really poorly. Some of the front end parts were made of plastic. I hit a few bumps on a road that was being repaired, and broke a ball joint, and ruptured everything in the front end. I had to drive home, which was only a few blocks away with the wheel dragging. Cost me $750 bucks, and a good friend of mine is my mechanic, so he didn't even charge me full price for the maintenance.

Transmission went at 63000. When I picked this car up from the dealership the day it was bought for me, it was 2 quarts low on trans fluid already. It leaked a few quarts per thousand miles. It left me on the side of the road because 3rd gear went out, and overheated the car. Blew my radiator hoses too when this happened. $1600 dollar repair.

Alternator - 64000. A little bit of a cheaper repair, but I was on a trip driving back from Boston back home to Jersey. It left me stranded over 100 miles from home needed to be towed. Cheap fix, but expensive tow.

Water pump - 68000. This went on another trip, but luckily I made it home before it overheated.

Thermostat - 72000.

73000 - Camshaft position sensor.

75000 - brake rotors warped.

77000 - Belt broke, and almost overheated it. Needed to have it towed once again. I put the blame of that on myself though for not replacing it as regular maintenance.

Around 80000 the A/C stopped working.

81000 - Shocks, struts, and springs. Car was sagging.

84000 - Another alternator.

86000 - New transmission started leaking out of the front seal.

88000 - Fuel pump. Another tow. My girlfriend at the time was with me, and it was a cold night, and we were stuck on the side of the road for 3 hours before the tow truck came.

89000 - Ignition switch towed again.

89000 - Power steering pump.

89000 - Motor burned or leaked oil mostly since new, but I was getting ready to trade it in so I had the main oil seal fixed as it was leaking faster at this point.

89000 - The day before I was ready to trade it in the starter felt like crapping out.

General Comments:

Very good car for the first year or close to it that I had it. Then it was a major headache.

Very unreliable.

Comfortable car, nice interior, but mechanically it was horrible. A nightmare, and a terrible experience for a first car. Especially since it was only 3-6 years old when I had it.

My grandfather bought me this car when I got my license in 1999. He bought it for A LOT more than the value of it was. RIP OFF. My grandfather was kinda bummed that I decided to trade it in. He thought I should keep it. I had to pretty much buy the car back on repairs.

All in all I have known other Taurus owners, and they seem to have experienced similar problems with theirs as well. I think this is quite possibly the WORST car Ford ever built, and should have been the cheapest. I don't understand how this was the best selling car in America for years straight.

I bought a 96 Contour after this, and I have to say I have put 100000 miles on it so far it is at almost at 200000 miles, and it is a MUCH better built car, and MUCH more reliable. Yet is is a cheaper car. Go figure.

Never had to have it towed once.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th November, 2008

20th Jun 2010, 10:15

Every car is different, and every driver is different. I have owned several of these vehicles, and have driven all but one to more than 300,000 miles with no major problems (I lost the transmission in one at 250,000+). No complaints - reliable, excellent handling cars.

20th Jun 2010, 13:40

In looking at the list of problems one thing becomes pretty obvious: This owner has probably been taken in BIG TIME by unscrupulous service techs trying to sell parts that weren't needed. No Ford is going to need this kind of front end work in 200,000 miles, let alone 55,000. Ours never needed ANY front end work in 325,000 miles. In fact all it ever required was a starter, muffler, battery brakes, and tires.

It pays to learn how to tell if your car REALLY needs the stuff your shop says it needs. I'm a mechanic, and I see people every day being duped into totally unnecessary brake, front end, suspension and engine work. In many such cases the work isn't even DONE. A very minor issue is fixed, and the owner is billed for parts that were never even installed.