2005 Mountaineer New Car Test Drive
The Mercury Mountaineer is essentially a premium version of the Ford Explorer. It shares its structure and most major components with the Explorer. Mountaineer's adventurous, geometric, architectural looks set it apart as a premium SUV, however. While the best-selling Explorer seems designed for generic utility, the Mountaineer offers a more machined, technical appearance.
The Mountaineer boasts an innovative chassis with an independent rear suspension that allows for a nice, smooth ride and better handling. At the same time, its body-on-frame construction preserves the big load capacity and towing capability that some families need.
Its interior is thoughtfully designed, offering luxury features that make long trips more relaxing. Mountaineer's come standard with a V6 that delivers plenty of power for everyday driving, and its five-speed automatic is smoother and more responsive than a four-speed. A V8 engine is available to provide the extra torque needed for towing. Its third-row seat folds flat, disappearing into the cargo floor when not needed. In short, this is a versatile mid-size SUV, capable of hauling a family and pulling a boat great distances.
For 2005, Mountaineer comes standard with AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control. This system uses electronic controls and active intervention to reduce the chances of an untripped rollover accident. The new system is in addition to Ford's existing safety features, which include a boxed frame, energy absorbing front crush zones, side impact steel bars in the doors, and four wheel ABS. Mountaineer was re-engineered 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 the 2002 model year.
Mercury Mountaineer comes in two models: two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. 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: Anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard. 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.
The Mountaineer is available with Convenience, Luxury and Premier trim packages. Pricing varies according to whether you opt for the V6 or V8. The Convenience Package includes 16-inch aluminum wheels with P235/70 tires, fog lamps, remote keyless entry system with driver side keypad, split lift gate, power mirrors, roof rails, intermittent wipers, single CD/AM/FM stereo, power locks, third-row seating, cloth sport bucket seats, power windows, and message center with compass and outside-temp display.
The Luxury Package adds dual-zone automatic climate control, audio and climate controls on a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual powered heated mirrors with security approach lamps, auto-dimming rearview mirror, two-tone leather sport bucket seats with heat and power plus memory on the driver's side, optional power-adjustable pedals with memory, a universal garage door opener, and color-keyed running boards. Wheels and tires upgrade to P245/65R17.
Premier Package adds color-keyed front and rear fascia and lower body trim, satin aluminum exhaust tip, satin aluminum roof rails, unique badging, reverse sensing system, Safety Canopy, in-dash six-disc CD changer and power moonroof.
Options include the Safety Canopy side curtain air bag system, Reverse Sensing system, auxiliary climate control ($650), Audiophile sound system ($495), rear-seat entertainment system with overhead DVD player ($1,250), second-row captain's chairs, a class III/IV trailer package ($400) and dealer-installed SIRIUS Satellite radio.