Mercury and Lincoln For 1998
By Carey Russ
Mercury is on the move. The upscale division of Ford Motor Company has been revitalizing its line. A new Grand Marquis for the Mercury traditionalists is this year's highlight, and most other models have significant changes as well.
Full-sized, 6-passenger, rear-wheel drive sedans are on the automotive endangered species list. The Grand Marquis is one of the few left in production, and Mercury intends to keep its loyal customers happy. To that end, the Grand Marquis has been restyled, with new front bodywork, grille, and lights, and new taillights. The interior has been freshened. The suspension has been extensively modified for improved ride and handling characteristics, and an optional handling package is available.
Two trim levels of Grand Marquis are offered. Power is from the a 4.6-liter overhead cam V8. Standard Grand Marquises have 200 horsepower; the handling package brings an upgrade to 215. The Grand Marquis can tow up to 2000 lbs.
Mercury's Mountaineer sport-utility has been on the market for less than two years, and continues to evolve. For 1998, it has new styling, and a new standard engine and transmission.
Externally, the '98 Mountaineer has a new grille, headlights, and bumper fascia. A new liftgate with a larger backlight and new tail lights improves visibility. The interior has minor refinements.
There have been major refinements under the hood. For the first time, there is a choice of engines in the Mountaineer. Now standard is an overhead cam 4.0-liter V6 with 205 horsepower and a 5- speed automatic transmission. It is available with the new "Control Trac" automatic 4-wheel drive system. The 215-horsepower 5.0-liter V8, matched to a 4-speed automatic, is also offered in 2-wheel or all- wheel drive form.
The 1998 models of Mercury's European-inspired luxury compact were introduced early in 1997. Offered in GS trim with the 125-horsepower, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder "Zetec" engine or as an LS model with the 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter "Duratec" V6, the '98 Mystique has been dramatically restyled with a new front end featuring a bold grille and new headlamps and taillights.
The interior features a new appearance and improved comfort and convenience. Improved door seals make all Mystiques quieter, and GS models benefit from enhancements to the Zetec engine for quieter, smoother operation.
The upscale, midsized Sable has had minor styling revisions and a realignment of standard and optional equipment for 1998.
Two trim levels, GS and LS, are offered. Both have more standard equipment this year. The LS is offered in sedan or wagon styles; the GS is available only as a sedan. The standard engine on both is the 3.0-liter pushrod "Vulcan" V6, with the 3.0-liter twincam "Duratec" optional.
The smallest Mercury was reengineered last year. It is offered in sedan or wagon styles in two trim levels. Standard equipment levels have been raised this year, and there are minor mechanical changes.
The Villager minivan has minor trim changes this year.