Differences Between Taurus SE and SEL

by Derek King

The Ford Motor Company manufactures the Taurus sedan line. The Taurus, still in production as of 2011, features four models, including the SE and the SEL. Although both models provide a virtually identical experience, there are some variations between the two that makes each vehicle distinct.

Interior Features

The 2011 Taurus SE is equipped with single-zone air conditioning that provides the same temperature settings for the driver and front passenger. The Taurus SEL is equipped with dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control. The dual zone provides individualized temperature settings for the driver and front passenger. The Taurus SEL has an optional ambient lighting feature that the SE model does not offer. The ambient lighting features several different colors and five dimmer levels that illuminate the footwells, door handles and front cupholders. Although both models feature a message center with a trip computer, the SEL model includes additional features, such as a compass and outside temperature display.

Transmission and Wheels

The Taurus SE model is equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. The SEL model uses an upgraded six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with paddle activation. The SEL transmission delivers the feel of a manual transmission with its steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Although both models feature a front-wheel drive as a standard option, the SEL model also offers all-wheel drive as an optional feature. The SE model is fitted with 17-inch aluminum wheels. The slightly larger 18-inch aluminum wheels are standard on the SEL, with an option to upgrade to 19 inches.

Safety and Handling

The Taurus SE and SEL models provide virtually identical safety features, such as a personal safety alarm system, child safety locks and a front and rear seat airbag system.

The SEL model offers two features that the SE model does not. The perimeter antitheft alarm system is a standard feature on the SEL model not offered by the SE. A rearview camera that displays a video image of the area behind a vehicle is an optional SEL feature.


Although both models are equipped with an AM/FM stereo radio with CD and MP3 playback, the SEL model offers an optional upgrade to the Sony audio system. The Sony system includes 12 speakers and a six-disc in-dash CD player. The Taurus SEL model also includes a six-month trial subscription to SIRIUS Satellite Radio, while the SE model does not.

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