The TACH Report: Lincoln and Mercury Offer More Power and High-Tech Features

24 November 1998


THE TACH REPORT; New Lincoln's and Mercury's Have More Power and High
Tech Features.

When the $44,000 Lincoln Navigator luxury SUV was first introduced
eighteen months ago it was powered by a V8 motor putting out 230 hp but
starting December 7 the segment sales leader gets a 5.4 liter Intech 300
horsepower increase to a needed and impressive 300 ponies.This engine
will achieve LEV (low emission vehicle) status for 1999.

According to Jim O'Sullivan, Group Brand Manager for Lincoln their
customers are high energy achievers who want unique styling and
definitely want top performance and power. The hp increase makes
Navigator the most powerful SUV is the luxo group which includes Land
Rover and Lexus.

Driving this big boat through the hills and dales of Northern California
gave one a feeling of complete confidence and invincibility. The vehicle
is impressive inside and out what with every control imaginable
including Homelink, cellphone, dual weather controls and airbags all
‘round.

The newest gadget in Lincoln's Navigator arsenal is the  power
adjustable brake and gas pedal unit. Now everyone can fit into the
drivers seat of this big Sport Ute. Adjust 16 way seats to your liking
(with memory) adjust the steering wheel and THEN adjust both pedals up
to three inches up or down via pushing a button on the instrument panel.
It really works.

You can get a 4X2 Navigator for a sticker of $39,150 and the 4X4 starts
at $43,160.

Is this a hot seller ? LM has three shifts a day turning out Nav's and
the line is down only for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The Mercury Villager remains basically is unchanged on the outside
except for the addition of some attractive paint treatments and styling
cues/badges .Overall length has been increased by five inches. The
minivan comes in three flavors;. Villager, Sport and Villager Estate.
There is more room inside than last year and some controls have been
repositioned to improve convenience plus two new dual cupholders have
been added. The cargo area has been redesigned with picnics and tail
gate parties in mind as an adjustable shelf/table has been added for
lunching convenience.

One of the features we found to be really attractive for 1999 is the
addition of ``Travelnote'' and ``HomeLink'' Travelnote is a voice recorder
built into the driver side sun visor that can record three minutes of 
messages at the touch of a button...street addresses, phone numbers,
directions, whatever. Homelink operates three remote transmitters.
Mercury Villager prices start at $22,295.

The Mercury Mountaineer has been around since 1996 and while some think
it may be just an upscale iteration of the Ford Explorer it has taken on
a personality of its own and for 1999 this sport ute sports the
``Travelnote'' feature that we think will surely catch on with the
aftermarket crowd. Montaineer has another FIRST tech-wise in that it has
an optional ``reverse sensing'' system. Put the vehicle in reverse and you
will hear a series of beeps that can increases in frequency as the
Montaineer gets closer to another car in the parking lot, shopping cart,
bicycle, tree...until the obstacle is 10 inches from the rear bumper.
Mountaineer's standard engine is a 4.0 liter, 210 hp V8 and has an
optional five-liter.

Not much else is new styling-wise for 1999 but some new colors do make
this SUV stand out. It rides like...a truck. It IS a truck and as such
does truck things. Rugged and dependable things.And yet its main appeal
is to women drivers.

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel

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