Mercury Grand Marquis - Saving the Best for Last

And the Marquis stands alone. With the discontinuation of the Ford Crown Victoria in the consumer market, Mercury’s Grand Marquis is the last survivor in a family lineage that can be traced back to the Model T, and for that matter, the very beginning of the Ford Motor Company. It is also the very last of a breed of full-size, rear-drive, full-framed family sedans for which America’s Interstates were created. As with many things, Mercury saved the best for last.

Styling remains familiar for 2008 with an edgy and bold chrome grille, available 16” chrome alloy wheels, formal roofline, thick C-pillar, and large taillamps. In an age of arching rooflines and road hugging bumpers, the Grand Marquis stays as upright as the Queen in back of her Bentley. Compared to most cars, the big sedan wears a lot of chrome down its bodysides and across its bumpers, but remains a clean and elegant design.

Passengers and drivers spread out under the long roof in limo-like comfort. Especially when equipped with the optional rear air suspension system, the car is profoundly quiet and smooth riding. Six-across front seating requires a wide and flat dashboard, but Mercury designers dressed it up with subtle curves, woodgrain or aluminum-look trim, easy-to-read analog gauges, and a contemporary two-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel. By choosing various luxury packages, your Grand Marquis can be loaded with leather seats, leather and wood steering wheel, power driver’s seat, power/heated outdoor mirrors, and CD player. Dual side airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system enhance safety.

Keeping to tradition, the Grand Marquis is the only vehicle in its class with a standard V8 engine – the only real choice for a grand comfortmobile. The 4.6-litre unit produces 224 horsepower at 4,800 rpm and 275 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. It can run on E85 (85% corn ethanol) and is connected to the rear wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission. Traction control and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes keep a handle in inclement weather. Fuel economy is rated a reasonable 17/25 mpg city/highway.

Driving the Grand Marquis will take most modern drivers back a few years. Wide and slick bench seats are easy to slip into, but certainly won’t hold you in place like buckets. Ride and steering are well controlled, but are relaxed in their motions. Up to six passengers have plenty of space to stretch their legs and shoulders while listening to the available CD player. Step on the gas and the front end lifts gently as the rear wheels usher the car hastily forward.

Adding even more luxury and style for 2008 is a Palm Beach edition. The package includes chrome heated mirrors, 16” nine-spoke wheels, and unique exterior badging. Interiors are upgraded with a satin finish on the dash and doors, “Palm Beach” logo on the instrument panel and backs of the front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and cashmere-colored leather seats. Side airbags are standard with the package.

Mercury knows its Grand Marquis customers well. If they had wanted a sport sedan, they would have bought one. What they prefer is a serene and safe driving experience that causes little trouble. Grand Marquis offers the comfort of a big Lincoln, the power of a V8, and safety features that helped it earn 5-star crash ratings for the 13th straight year. In the long run, it will be hard for Mercury to justify keeping the Grand Marquis, given the excellence of the full-size Sable, but there’s still one waiting for you now. To become one of more than 4 million customers since 1970, visit a Mercury showroom today. Prices range from $25,005 for a GS model to just under $30,000 for Palm Beach editions, making the Grand Marquis tough competition for the Chrysler 300, Buick Lucerne, and Toyota Avalon.
by Casey Williams