The HSC 2.5L I4 and the 3-speed automatic has now been dropped from the options list. The Taurus L/GL (sedans and wagons), Taurus LX sedans, and all Sables were the Vulcan 3.0L V6. The Essex 3.8L V6 was standard on the Taurus LX wagon and was optional on all other non-SHO Taurus and Sables. Both engines used the 4-speed AXOD-E (AX4S) automatic transaxle.
The rear wiper/washer control for the wagons are located in two different places for both models. On the Sable, the buttons were located under the rear defrost button next to the tachometer. On the Taurus, the buttons were located to the right of the ignition switch. Coincidentally, the spot for the rear wiper/washer on the Taurus is the same spot for the foglight button on the SHO.
The Taurus hood got a more pronounced depression while the Sable hood was still completely smooth.
Taurus LX/SHO and Sable LS/LTS had different bodyside trim than the Taurus L/GL/SE and Sable GS models, respectively. The Sable LS/LTS also had different rocker panels and lower front valance than the GS models.
Because they used the Sable's front, the grille (now integrated into the bumper cover) was smaller than the slot between the headlights. They filled the gap with "fishtanks" which were clear plastic lenses (similar in design to the Sable's lightbar). They never lit up, but could be modified to do so.
New head design (open chamber for slightly lower compression)
More agressive cam profile
Increased webbing on the lower block to increase rigidity
A water-to-oil engine oil cooler helps to keep things cool
Transaxle's final drive ratio is 3.37:1
Reinforced transaxle bellhousing
New engine and transmission strategy
These modifications provided the 3.8L V6 with 160 HP and 225 ft-lbs of torque. In full cruiser dress (lightbar etc.), the Police Package has a drag limited top speed of 129MPH. In detective dress, top speed is in the upper 130s.
This was the only year the Taurus L/GL and Sable GS came with gray bumpers and side trim. Some Taurus models of this year got a two-tone paint job where the bumper and trim was a slightly darker shade of the body color. Sables also got the two-tone but some models also got a colored stripe across the trim and bumper. The Sable LS got special body cladding that made the lower middle section of the car the same color as the bumpers.
It was the only year the Taurus LX had the option of a cornering lights on the side of the front bumper.
All floor-shift models got an updated center console and shifter. The center console was much rounder than before and had integrated the armrest. It seemed to flow into the design of the dashboard instead of looking like a tacky add-on. The shifter was more ergonomical and shorter than before. Non-SHOs and SHOs have different gear indicators. Non-SHOs have P R N OD D 1 while SHOs got P R N D 2 1 plus an overdrive-off button on the shifter.
The Flex Fuel Taurus was introduced about mid-year. It was a Taurus GL that used a modified Vulcan 3.0L V6 that could run on methanol or a mix of methanol and gasoline. The FFV (Flex Fuel Vehicle) Vulcan differed from the normal Vulcan because of a distributor-less ignition system. It also had a digital instrument cluster to monitor the fuel. All Flex Fuel Vehicles got the extended range (18 gallon) fuel tank as standard equipment.
The biggest change for the SHO was the addition of a new engine and transaxle option. It could now be ordered with a Yamaha 3.2L V6 coupled to the AXOD-E (AX4S) 4-speed automatic transaxle. The Yamaha 3.0L V6 with the 5-speed manual transaxle still came standard. The way to tell the 3.2L and 3.0L apart is that the 3.2L EGR is mounted on the driver's side of the intake to the rear of the throttle body.
The SHO also gained a new directional Slicers ("blades" faced forward; no slot to remove center cap), decklid spoiler, straight exhaust tips (last year's turned downwards), and steering wheel (see 1994). The directional Slicers pulls air out of the wheel while running down the road to help cool the brakes. These were made in Italy and have "R" and "L" stamped on them. The older non-directional slicer were made in Canada. The new spoiler had an integrated Light Emitting Diode brake light eliminating the need for the center high-mount stop light mounted in the rear window.
All non-SHO models gained the SHO steering wheel in the middle of the year. The old wheel was used at the beginning of the year until it was phased out. The new steering wheel had a new integrated horn pad/airbag which curved inwards on the sides and was much rounder than before. The cruise control buttons (if available) fit neatly on both sides of the horn pad and curved outwards.
All models now had R-134a (CFC-free coolant) air conditioning instead of R-12 (Freon).
Some Vulcan-equipped models received the AX4N 4-speed automatic. There is no logical reason as to why this happened. This odd combination continues up until the AX4S was discontinued around late 2002 when the AX4N became the standard transaxle. The only way to tell what transaxle is in the vehicle is by the VIN tag on the driver's door or transaxle characteristics.
All models got a new dome light. The switches (for the map lights) were located on the back of the previous unit. On the new light, the switches have been moved towards the outer sides of the corresponding map light.
All models gained a million mile odometer in the middle of the model year. It was previously a no cost option.
All models got 15" wheels standard (except SHO which had 16" wheels standard) to accomodate larger brakes.
The Taurus saw the introduction of a new trim level. The SE was introduced as an affordable SHO. It was a Taurus GL that could be ordered with almost every option (except the SHO instrument cluster, drivetrain, bumpers, and trim). It could even have the SHO spoiler!