It fixes the main problem of the current North American Taurus, interior packaging.
Styling? It just needs a cosmetic makeover. It already has better proportions to begin with.
Along with the New Taurus most certainly sharing much of the architecture(unseen bits) with the Continental. Just from a numbers perspective, a very low 1,000 month Continental is not enough volume to justify/pay for an 'exclusive' architecture in NA. Especially since we can expect local China production of the Continental to start in the next couple years. Continental just can't support the architecture itself in NA and New Taurus is necessary.
The non-luxury sales numbers and model specs tell the story...
New Maxima, over 62k, up 55% for 2016 (new model with better rear legroom)
New non-fleet Impala, over 97k for 2016 down 17% (adjustment for fleet reduction)
Dodge Charger, over 95k down 1.2% (old model with better rear legroom and RWD)
Chrysler 300, over 53k up .4% (old model with better rear legroom and RWD)
Avalon, over 48k down 20% (refreshed model still with low rear legroom)
Taurus, over 44k, down 9.7% (old heavy model with low legroom)
As we can see by the actual sales numbers, new models what meet the needs of the large car customer have a sales increase, or are maintaining year over year sales. You know, similar introduction process for Ranger as it relates to new F-150. Those that refreshed but still did not meet the larger rear seat legroom expectation of the large car customer suffered. Taurus is at the bottom in sales, with the oldest architecture and worst interior rear legroom.
Ford knows this very well, and why the old Taurus has been extended in NA until Continental has a chance to gain sales momentum for at least two years. 2019 refreshed Continental should also usher in New Taurus for NA market. Because large cars are not going anywhere. And as the senior demographic gets older, and unable/less willing to climb into an CUV/SUV, large cars get even more important.
Remember, a growing CUV/SUV market does not necessarily mean a declining large car market.