The upgrades were not unexpected since it's been three years since Ford dusted off the moribund Taurus nameplate and transformed the aged bull into a graceful big cat.
What exactly will a present-day buyer get that the early adopters did not? A lot, actually.
Alert observers will notice a new grille and front fascia, new wheels, redesigned front and rear lighting, new rear fenders and a new trunk lid.
More importantly, the standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine (the one in the test car) gets more power, 288 horsepower compared with 263; and more torque, 254 pound-feet, compared to 249.
Most importantly, according to the EPA, the all-wheel-drive test car even ekes out an extra mile per gallon of regular gasoline. The EPA estimates 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 21 mpg overall.
In my week of mostly suburban and highway driving in a fully optioned 2013 Ford Taurus Limited, I averaged between 17 mpg and 25 mpg, with an overall average of nearly 22 mpg.
Prospective buyers should note that for 2013 Ford offers two additional engine choices.
An optional turbocharged, 2-liter, four-cylinder engine combines with a six-speed automatic transmission to produce 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. It earns an EPA rating of 22 mpg city/32mpg highway and an overall average of 26 mpg. It is available only on front-wheel-drive sedans.
The 2013 Taurus SHO gets a twin-turbocharged version of the 3.5-liter V-6 engine that generates 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. With a six-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive, it is rated at 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway/ 20 mpg overall.
There are a number of other mechanical changes, too.
The suspension has been retuned, power steering has been switched from hydraulic to electric, the six-speed automatic transmission can now be shifted manually with a button on the shift lever, brake feel and stopping distances have been improved, and a feature of the all-wheel-drive system known as torque vectoring automatically adjusts power from wheel to wheel as needed to improve handling.
On the inside, the 2013 Ford Taurus features higher quality soft-touch materials, supple leather upholstery, better sound insulation and updated Sync and My Ford Touch infotainment systems.
Long-distance travelers and golfing buddies will particularly appreciate the trunk's 20.1 cubic feet of cargo space.
A quick word about Sync and MyFord Touch. They may be improved, but I still don't like them. Call me an old goat if you will, but I think they require too much of a learning curve for too little convenience and they can distract a driver from the serious business at hand.
However, don't think I'm down on all things electronic. I believe that two safety features in particular --- a rear-view camera and a blind-spot warning system --- should be made standard on all cars.
Seeing what's behind a vehicle has become much more challenging in recent years, thanks to to large whiplash-absorbing head restraints and to design changes in some vehicles that restrict rear view from inside the car.
The blind-spot warning system speaks for itself, but I confess that I still have trouble trusting it. Even with the warning light flashing in the driver-side mirror, I find myself craning my neck rearward to make sure nothing is running alongside my car.
Anyway, electronics aside, I found the Taurus to be an impressive large sedan, with no luxo-barge floatiness and sufficient driving dynamics to make any trip a pleasure instead of a burden. Obviously no sports sedan, it is made for roomy, comfortable long-distance motoring, automotive traits that American motorists have always enjoyed.
Up to five passengers will be able to relax in comfort knowing that the Ford contains a lengthy list of safety features which, in addition to the rear-view camera. includes a full complement of air bags, stability and traction control. and a post-crash alert system.
Also included on the upscale 2013 Ford Taurus Limited I drove were the optional adaptive cruise control with pre-collision warning, and a cross-traffic warning system, which alerts the driver to approaching vehicles and pedestrians when the car is backing up.
Base price of the 2013 Ford Taurus Limited is $34,850. With a comprehensive list of options the suggested price rises to $41,135.
After a week behind the wheel, I might be tempted to say the Taurus feels Lincolnesque, but I'm afraid that might be damning it with faint praise --- at least until Lincoln comes forth with a promised new full-size luxury sedan.
And, strictly in the interest of accuracy, it would be more accurate to rename the graceful 2013 Ford Taurus the Ford Feline, but I'm guessing that would not go over big with the marketing department.