Having driven a multitude of cars, from Mustangs, to Sonatas, Imprezas, Cobalts, and Camrys, there is one that stands, in my opinion, head-and-shoulders above the rest. Coincidentally, it was also the first car I ever owned, and I didn’t even have to pay for it. That car is the Ford Taurus SHO 3.2L Automatic – 1993-1995.
On the exterior, the SHO is a very modest-looking car. It looks like most other Tauruses of the same model, although there are some slight modifications – it’s a bit lower, and has additional ground details that give it a slightly more sporty look. People might notice that it’s slightly different than the base model, but few realize what the car actually is: a high performance machine. While the original SHO had almost no indication that it was a sport car, the 1993-1995 model had the additional ground details mentioned above, a small spoiler, and dual exhaust. Overall, it makes for an attractive albeit slow-looking car.
Since the SHO doesn’t look particularly quick, most people assume it’s not. It appears, and for the most part, drives, like a family sedan that soccer moms use to pick up their kids. That is until it reaches 4000 rpm, at which point six butterfly valves open up in the intake manifold, which give the car more room to breathe and greatly increase its output. The engine redlines at 7000 rpm, although it doesn’t shut off until 7300 rpm, at which point it is screaming and really pushing weight. Performance-wise, the SHO can do 0-60 in around 6 seconds, and can run a quarter mile in the mid 14s. Its top speed is about 145mph. Due to its high performance, the SHO is able to compete with most GT Mustangs up until 1999 while putting out 220 hp with 215ft/lbf of torque.
While the SHO is a high-performance car, it is also still a Taurus. It is, by far, the most comfortable car I have ever driven or even been in. The only car that comes close is the Sonata, which is also very comfortable, but the SHO takes the cake. The seats are fantastic, and allowed me to make a 650-mile (12 hour) trip with only two short stops while suffering very little, if any, discomfort. If you’re looking to purchase a SHO, make sure that it is leather. The back seats have plenty of room, even if the front ones are moved all the way back. The roomy trunk is capable of fitting several large suit cases or whatever else you need to put into it.
The main downside of the SHO is that it’s not a very economical car. Sure, it gets decent gas mileage, falling somewhere between 24 and 30 mpg, but it also takes premium and requires a good amount of maintenance. While the engine will last forever, things like the transmission might need replacement after some time, especially if you’re rough on the car. Since it’s an older car, the transmission can be difficult to find and very expensive – maybe even more expensive than the car itself. If you’re not a mechanic, all of the maintenance can cost you a lot of money. Since you’d only spend about 3,000 on a mint condition SHO, you could easily run a bill much higher than the cost of the car just to maintain it.
Overall, the SHO is a great car, especially if you’re a mechanic or know someone that will help you do some work on the car for free. It is the first car I owned, and one I still drive today. With 200,000 miles on it, it’s still capable of smoking most other cars on the road and is great fun to drive. I suggest this car to anyone looking to own something different and fun.