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2013 Taurus SEL – Veiling Glare Disaster

The setting is a brightly sunny day in Southern California with a new 2013 Ford Taurus SEL.  The Taurus has a tilted center screen and bright instrument panel applique in front of the passenger seat.  Additionally, there is a bright “racetrack” around the instrument cluster in front of the driver.  Frankly, in high ambient light load conditions, this is a disaster of veiling glare.  This is when the interior materials reflect the sunlight and either distract the driver or temporarily blind them.

Ford’s MyFordTouch system uses a touchscreen center screen.  This is good, but it shows finger prints and with the way the screen is situated in the Taurus it is particularly objectionable.  When reversing and trying to use the back-up camera, the sun washed out the backup image and the fingerprints further obscured the view.

In Googling “Veiling Glare”, I found an SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) paper titled “Fundamental Issues of Automotive Veiling Glare” written by Ford Engineers in conjunction with the University of Florida back in 1997.  Clearly, they understand the issue, but did not use their own institutional knowledge when launching this model of the Taurus SEL.

Veiling glare is a situation mostly missed by European manufacturers developing cars in gloomy, overcast conditions.  American manufacturers, even those developing their products in the Mid-West, usually don’t miss this. 

Smaller EcoBoost 4-Cylinder Transforms Taurus into a Much More Nimble Product While glare is more than a nitpick issue with the SEL, the car powered by the 2.0L gasoline direct injection turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with EcoBoost giving 240HP and 270 lb-ft of torque was very nimble.  Much moreso than the Taurus with the 3.5L V6 – even in 3.5L V6 EcoBoost form.  The car still suffers from an interior too small for the exterior size of the car, but it is good looking and well-appointed.

1 Comment

  • Dean| August 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm Reply

    My issue with this car is that it’s a large car and has less interior room than the Focus. My right leg sits on the 2+ foot wide console, my head hits the roof with the seat back to the point where I’m nearly laying down, and I can’t see anything in front of me except the hood of the car due to the length of the roof in front of the driver and the lack of headroom. Why does this car even exist?

    And now they want to add an even more underpowered 4 cylinder to the car.

    Skip this vehicle entirely. Even in 4-5 years when you can get a low mileage one for (I’m guessing) $7-8k, you can still do better for the price.

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