2001 Grand Marquis New Car Test Drive
The Grand Marquis is surely the most conservative car on the planet. We don't mean conservative politically, but in just about every other nuance of the word, from the engineering that went into the car to the lifestyle and attitude it projects. Grand Marquis is about living well, frugally.
Grand Marquis is one of the last surviving rear-wheel-drive, V8-powered full-size cars built on a separate frame. Its ostensible competitors, Buick LeSabre, Chrysler Concorde, Pontiac Bonneville, and Toyota Avalon, are all more modern in concept, with front-wheel drive, V6 engines, shorter wheelbases, and unitbody construction. Grand Marquis offers almost all the comfort and convenience of the Lincoln Town Car for a price less than that of a near luxury mid-size car.
2001 models get more horsepower over last year.
Grand Marquis comes in GS ($22,805) and LS ($24,705) trim levels. Both are powered by a 4.6-liter V8 coupled to a 4-speed automatic overdrive transmission.
LS adds luxury equipment, including a premium stereo, premium cloth upholstery, power lumbar support, an illuminated keyless entry system, chrome wheel covers, a light group, and pinstripes. GS and LS models are sold with a slightly higher level of standard equipment, and at slightly higher prices, in California and Hawaii than in the other 48 states.
Mercury has re-tuned the Grand Marquis engine for 2001. It now produces more peak horsepower, and delivers its peak torque at higher rpm. In standard, single-exhaust form, that translates to 220 horsepower at 4750 rpm, and 265 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. With dual exhausts, which are optional on GS and standard on LS, those numbers rise to 235 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque.
Option packages have been streamlined, which simplifies life for everyone. Our test car came with the $2,520 Ultimate Package, which adds anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic instrumentation, a premium sound system, and the Premium Package. The Premium Package is available separately for $1,120 and includes alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, electronic climate control, a power passenger seat, an auto-dimming mirror with compass, and power-adjustable pedals. The adjustable pedals are a new feature for 2001, and can also be ordered by themselves for $120. (They are standard on the LS in Hawaii and California.)
The anti-lock brake system is also available as a stand-alone option for $600. We highly recommend it as it allows the driver to maintain steering control during emergency braking maneuvers. You can also get ABS and traction control packaged together for $775. The traction control uses the anti-lock brake system to reduce wheel spin -- a big benefit when accelerating on slippery roads.