2003 Mountaineer New Car Test Drive
Mercury Mountaineer presents a bold, expressive design. Its innovative chassis and suspension offer a smooth ride. Completely re-engineered for 2002, Mountaineer boasts a new frame, a new independent rear suspension, a new front suspension, new steering, new seating formats, and a raft of new standard and optional features.
Mechanically, the Mountaineer shares its structure and most of its major components with the Ford Explorer. It's the Mountaineer's adventurous, architectural look that sets it apart. While the Explorer almost seems designed to blend into the suburban wallpaper, the Mountaineer demands more attention. It points the way to Mercury's future, while paying homage to Mercury's heritage of styling innovation.
For 2003, the Mountaineer offers more standard equipment, most notably power adjustable pedals, automatic headlamps, and dual heated mirrors. The Premier Package now includes a power moonroof and Safety Canopy airbags. The 2003 Mountaineer offers new options as well, including a DVD entertainment center.
Mercury Mountaineer comes in two models: two-wheel drive ($29,235) and four-wheel drive ($31,235). Each is available with a 4.0-liter V6 or a 4.6-liter V8 ($800).
All Mountaineers come with a wide-ratio five-speed automatic transmission. All have seating for seven, using a third seat that folds completely flat to make room at the rear for large cargo.
All Mountaineers are built to a relatively high specification, with power windows, mirrors and locks, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, and a Class II receiver hitch for towing. All have the SecuriLock passive anti-theft system and remote keyless entry, and approach lamps on the bottoms of the side mirrors that illuminate the sides of the vehicle when the key fob button is pressed. Power adjustable pedals are now standard as well. A standard battery saver turns off the dome light and approach lamps after five minutes. P245/70 tires are mounted on 16-inch machined aluminum wheels.
The Luxury Preferred Equipment Package ($2670) adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, power for the passenger seat, memory for the driver's seat and pedals a message center, dual automatic temperature control, audiophile stereo with a six-CD changer, steering-wheel mounted climate and audio controls, electrochromic heated mirrors, painted running boards and 245/65R17 all-terrain tires.
The Premier Package ($4570) includes all that, plus a monochromatic exterior with satin aluminum trim, Safety Canopy air bags, a reverse-sensing system and a power moonroof. The moonroof is available as a stand-alone option ($800).
The rear seat entertainment system ($1100) is a new option for 2003 that includes an overhead DVD player and a pull-down seven-inch color screen. The system comes with two wireless headphones, remote control and a universal jack.
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