2005 Montego New Car Test Drive
The 2005 Mercury Montego is an all-new mid-size sedan designed to offer roomy accommodations for five passengers and a smooth, comfortable ride. It's powered by a 200-horsepower V6. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available for better traction and handling in adverse conditions.
Ford Motor Company is in the middle of a major model changeover and rationalization, using a single Mazda-based platform for small and sporty cars and a Volvo-based luxury car platform for its larger and more luxurious models. The Mercury Montego falls into the latter category, and shares its modified Volvo underpinnings with the Ford Five Hundred sedan and the Freestyle crossover SUV.
The Montego is intended to replace the ancient Sable sedan, added to Mercury showrooms almost 20 years ago as a 1986 model. Montego offers a much larger interior package than any Sable ever had, still with front-wheel drive, but also offering all-wheel drive. It's Ford's first car-shaped SUV, with lots of help from Volvo and a bold new sedan look for Mercury.
The Montego's generous interior dimensions put it among the roomiest sedans. Its seats sit about four inches higher than those in the Sable, and the high driving position makes it feel more like an SUV than a car, nice and high up, with wonderful outward vision.
We found its all-aluminum V6 engine with drive-by-wire electronic throttle control worked extremely well with the new wide-ratio six-speed automatic transmission, which was extremely smooth and quiet and always matched the right gear with the driving situation. The all-wheel-drive models come with a continuously variable transmission that's smooth and responsive as well as efficient for good gas mileage. The steering and suspension of the Montego are European in feel, offering quick response and minimal lean in corners. The brakes are excellent, responding quickly when the pedal is pressed and slowing the car quickly when necessary.
Mercury Montego comes in two trim levels. All models are powered by a 3.0-liter 24-valve V6 engine and offer a choice of front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive. Front-wheel-drive versions are tied to a new six-speed automatic transmission co-developed by Ford and GM. All-wheel-drive versions use a new continuously variable transmission, or CVT, co-developed by Ford and the German ZF firm. If you order the all-wheel-drive version, you automatically get a suspension upgrade that includes self-leveling rear shock absorbers.
The Luxury model ($24,345) comes standard with dual-zone electronic climate control, six-way power driver's seat, a fold-flat front passenger seat, split-fold rear seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror, two 12-volt power points, AM/FM stereo with single CD player and tilt steering wheel with remote audio controls, remote keyless entry, folding heated power exterior mirrors, power windows and door locks, passive anti-theft system, 17-inch seven-spoke wheels, automatic high-intensity discharge headlamps, LED tail lamps, fog lamps. The Luxury model is available with all-wheel drive ($26,045). Cloth upholstery is standard; leather is optional ($895).
The Premier model ($26,545) comes with leather seating, heated front seats, power passenger seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, overhead console with Homelink, woodgrain interior appliques, memory function for power seats, mirrors and adjustable pedals, remote perimeter lighting, an AM/FM stereo with 6-CD changer and subwoofer, and a trunk cargo net. Premier comes standard with traction control and 18-inch 15-spoke alloy wheels. It's also available with all-wheel drive ($28,245).
Options and packages include a moonroof ($895); park assist ($250); and a safety package with side curtain air bags and a rollover sensor ($595). We strongly recommend the curtain air bags as they can help reduce the chance of head injuries to your passengers, assuming they're wearing their seat belts.