2003 Ford Taurus SES 3.0 OHV SFI Flex (Vulcan) from North America
Plain Jane, comfortable even for big people, reliable as hell, indestructible
Camshaft position sensor drive (synchronizer).
My elderly in-laws purchased this car in southern NC in 2004 with 70K miles, and used it for around town driving, trading in a 1983 Lincoln Town Car. Mom in Law loved this car. I inherited the car when she passed away 1 year ago.
This is a true Mom and Pop car, with the base 3.0 OHV Vulcan engine, not the cool 24V job that I have always wanted. Have to resign myself to not getting one of those, because these things tend to last for about 299K to 300K miles (the engine has been known to do 400K to 500K miles). At this rate (5K miles / year), I will have this car till I die.
This car burns no oil, the inside of the engine is as clean as a whistle, and after replacing the squeaky camshaft position sensor drive, which replaced the distributor in earlier Vulcans (I did this myself in about 1.5 hours and a $45.00 part), the engine cannot be heard at idle! However, the car is quite fun to drive. One will not get gut wrenching acceleration from the Vulcan, but the acceleration is smooth, and certainly competent. This car will get to 70 MPH before you know that it did. Braking is good with front disk / rear drum brakes and 4 wheel ABS. The transmission is smooth and we never had the issues that people claim that these transmissions have. Handling is very good.
Mileage around town is OK at 15-16 MPG (New York Metro Area), but I have gotten between 27 and 30 MPG on highway trips. I have not used E85 on the highway, but the car gets 13 MPG around town on E85. The current price for E85 is $2.25, and the same station sells regular gas for $3.00.
There is quite a bit of room in this car. I am 6'0" and 400 lb, and I find this car comfortable both around town and on long trips (500 miles/day). Ergonomics are good. The fold down rear seat is handy when making runs to Home Depot for studs, pipe, etc, but there is no place for a 4X8 sheet of plywood.
This car is reliable as all hell, with all engine components other than the above mentioned camshaft position sensor drive and maintenance items being original, even the hoses. I do need to put in lower ball joints, but all other front end parts are original.
This car does not have the cachet value of a Lexus, but is nonetheless a great car!!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 13th July, 2015