2004 Mountaineer New Car Test Drive
Mercury Mountaineer presents a bold, expressive design. It's also among the best mid-size SUVs you can buy. Its innovative chassis and independent rear suspension offer a smooth ride. Its thoughtfully designed interior helps make long trips relaxing. There's respectable power from the standard V6, and more than enough with the optional V8.
Mountaineer shares its structure and most 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 with its waterfall grille, while paying homage to Mercury's heritage of styling innovation.
Mountaineer was completely re-engineered for 2002, with 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. For 2004, Mountaineer adds even more choices, including second-row bucket seats and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Power adjustable pedals and an in-dash six-disc CD changer are available at all trim levels. Electronic stability control, which Ford calls AdvanceTrac, is now offered on two-wheel-drive models and we recommend this feature.
Mercury Mountaineer comes in two models: two-wheel drive ($29,350) and all-wheel drive ($31,530). Each is available with a 4.0-liter V6 or a 4.6-liter V8. All Mountaineers come with a 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. A standard battery saver turns off the dome light and approach lamps after five minutes. P235/70 tires are mounted on 16-inch machined aluminum wheels.
The Luxury Package ($3,700 with 2WD, $3,550 with AWD) adds dual-zone automatic climate control, audio and climate controls on a leather-wrapped steering wheel, two-tone leather sport bucket seats with heat and power plus memory on the driver's side, power-adjustable pedals with memory, a message center, a universal garage door opener, and color-keyed running boards, Wheels and tires upgrade to P245/65R17, with the tire-pressure monitoring system
The Premier Package ($5,600 with 2WD, $5,450 with AWD) includes all that, plus a monochromatic exterior with satin aluminum trim, in-dash six-disc compact disc changer, and power moonroof.
All prices above apply to Mountaineers powered by the 4.0-liter V6. The 4.6-liter V8 adds $980 to the base model, and $830 to all other models.
Security Package ($795) combines Safety Canopy airbags with rollover sensors, and a Reverse Sensing System. The moonroof ($850) and power adjustable pedals ($120) are available as stand-alone options. Other options include auxiliary rear-seat climate control ($650), Audiophile sound system ($495), Sirius Satellite Radio (dealer installed), and a Class III/IV trailer package ($400). A rear seat entertainment system ($1,250) 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.