2003 Grand Marquis New Car Test Drive
The Mercury Grand Marquis has been re-engineered for 2003. The new model comes with a brand-new frame, a new suspension, new steering, a new interior, and new exterior styling. And those are just the highlights.
The Grand Marquis offers almost all the comfort and convenience of the Lincoln Town Car, and it's priced lower than many luxury mid-size cars. That's a big part of the reason why Mercury has sold 2.7 million Grand Marquis since 1975 when the car was first introduced as a premium American sedan.
If performance is your game, step over to the Marauder, a 300-horsepower version with a floor-mounted shifter, extra gauges, sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch high-performance tires.
As a result of a stiff new structure, the 2003 Grand Marquis rides more quietly and offers sharper handling. It's a much better car than last year's model, more poised. The Grand Marquis frame is brand new for 2003, the third frame design since 1990, and the first with hydroformed front and rear extensions and new crossmembers. Also new for 2003: speed-sensitive variable power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering; a redesigned independent short- and long-arm front suspension, optional dual side air bags, new headlamps, side markers, grille, front fascia and decklid applique, new seat styles and materials, new instrument panel woodgrains, new wheels on all models, and a new overhead console design. For 2003, Grand Marquis has standard antilock brakes and traction control; fold-away, power-adjustable and heated outside mirrors, and a storage pouch in the driver's seat. A dual-media radio with AM/FM cassette and single CD player is now available on all models. A trunk cargo organizer is optional on all models as well.
The 2003 Grand Marquis comes in three trim levels: GS, LS, and the new LSE.
GS ($24,070) has a 220-horsepower, 4.6-liter V8 engine, automatic transmission, seating for six and all of the normal and standard comfort features. The GS Convenience version ($24,020) adds power adjustable pedals for the driver and remote keyless entry.
LS Premium ($27,800) adds automatic climate control, HomeLink garage door opener, rear reading lights, automatic-dimming mirrors, body side moldings, dual front seats with 8-way power for the driver and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. LS Ultimate ($28,980) comes with a rear air suspension, electronic instrumentation, an upgraded audio system, and controls for speed, audio, and climate on the steering wheel.
LSE ($29,305) has a different rear axle, a more powerful 235-horsepower engine, dual exhaust, sports suspension tuning, including the rear air suspension, leather seats and special wheels and tires.
To get sportier than this, you have to make the leap to the Marauder ($33,790) high-performance version with its 300 horsepower engine, extra gauges, custom interior and loud dual exhausts.
Options include leather seats ($995), a single CD player ($140), and a six-CD changer ($140). Packages and pricing varies, but dealers are dealing on the Grand Marquis.