The EcoBoost engine really is the news. It costs only $995 more than the less fuel-efficient, base Taurus V-6 whose fuel economy rating is 19/29 mpg.
Plenty of passengers traveled in the test Taurus SEL with optional EcoBoost, and none guessed the powerplant was a four-cylinder gasoline engine.
The four-cylinder engine displacement is just 2 liters, but with dual overhead cams, direct injection and turbocharging, this EcoBoost four gets as much as it can from every gallon of gasoline.
Indeed, the test car, which traveled 70 percent of the time in city traffic, was driven spiritedly and frequently carried passengers, averaged more than 22 mpg.
Yet, the Taurus never lagged or seemed taxed. The car moved smoothly with traffic on city and highway roadways, and shift points from the six-speed automatic were not obtrusive.
Peak torque comes on by 3,000 rpm, which is a good for both decent acceleration and all-situation driving.
Note that the gas tank is a sizable 19 gallons, so fillups can be few and far between. In comparison, the lower fuel-mileage Impala's gas tank carries 17.5 gallons, with the government estimating a full tank can go for 337 miles.
The Taurus also impressed with its quiet interior. Not much was heard from neighboring vehicles at stoplights, and conversations inside the car were in normal tones. There was a bit of road noise from the optional 19-inch, all-season tires, but wind noise was nicely muted.
The optional larger tires, by the way, included a fancy-looking finish that made the Taurus SEL, painted Deep Impact Blue, look upscale.
The 2013 Taurus has new, electric power-assisted steering and other fuel economy aides and it cruises comfortably on highways.
The car's heft is noticeable, however, on back-and-forth curves on mountain roads.
The Taurus trunk is downright huge, with 20.1 cubic feet of space. A lot of this room extends way inside the trunk, under the rear parcel shelf. In comparison, the Impala's trunk provides 18.6 cubic feet of space, and the 300's trunk has 16.3 cubic feet of cargo room.
The black leather trim on the test Taurus seats looked good, though it wasn't the most supple leather to the touch.
Front-seat legroom of 41.9 inches promises to accommodate just about any tall driver, while rear-seat legroom of 38.1 inches tops the Impala's 37.6 inches and is less than the 40.1 inches that Chrysler says is in the 300 sedan.
Consumer Reports says predicted reliability for the Taurus is average.