Talk about a dated movie reference, but here goes. You’ve got a full-size American passenger car dangling from each hand, but you know in your heart you do not possess the strength to save both. One, unfortunately, has to die. But for the other? Salvation.
We come to this grim scenario for a good reason. Earlier this week, a Wall Street Journal report struck fear and sadness into lovers of large passenger cars with long-running nameplates. While unconfirmed, the report stated that Ford will discontinue the Taurus in the very near future, with General Motors planning to do the same with the venerable Impala after the current generation ends.
Two once-beloved models that fell victim to changing consumer preferences â€” one dating back to the heady 1980s, the other to the Eisenhower administration. Which one deserves to live?
I suspect my own personal choice reflects that of many readers. Simply put, the Taurus stopped endearing itself to buyers long before the Impala, if indeed the Chevy no longer warrants a spot in your dream garage.
Unlike the Taurus, which Ford allowed to wither on the vine (in America, at least) since the start of the decade, the Impala has actually seen significant refinements in the not-so-distant past. The 10th-generation bowed for 2014 withÂ â€” in my opinionÂ â€” attractive styling that still holds up, a decreased curb weight, and a more refined V6 engine than its Ford rival. (That 3.6-liter mill actually appeared at the latter end of the ninth-generation model.)
While the Taurus, long since relegated to fleet sales in the mind of many buyers, doesn’t allow much roomÂ for legs up front, the Impala follows the GM mantra of “make the driver comfortable at all costs.” Rear seat headroom, at least for this 6’4″ writer, isn’t up to snuff, but that’s the price you pay for a swoopy roofline.
Despite their gradual disappearance, buyers responded to the Impala in greater numbers. Last year’s U.S. sales totalled 75,877 units. The Taurus? 41,236. To find a year where Taurus sales topped the six-figure mark, you’d have travel back to 2005. For the Impala, it would be 2015. Granted, many of these buyers were fleet managers.
What say you, BB? Am I off the mark in saying the Impala holds greater value as both a product and a historical relic? Or is the Taurus the nameplate you’d like to see preserved (and perhaps nurtured back to health)?
Maybe â€” just spitballing here â€” a few of you would let go with both hands, allowing both models to plummet towards oblivion. That’s on option, too.
[Images: General Motors, Ford]