2007 Mountaineer New Car Test Drive
The Mercury Mountaineer is a higher-end, fraternal twin of the Ford Explorer. This is both good and bad. It's good because, overall, the Explorer is a superb product. What's not so good is that the Ford Motor Company felt that Mountaineer needed a unique Mercury identity.
As a result, while the Explorer looks like a tough, non-nonsense, off-road truck, the Mountaineer looks like a Mercury. It's certainly attractive, but despite its machined-billet front end, it tends more toward country club sleek than off-road robust.
Mountaineer was extensively updated for 2006, with a redesigned frame and suspension; a new and more powerful V8; and an even newer six-speed automatic transmission.
At the same time, a heavily reworked interior enhanced user-friendliness. In fact, there is much here to love. The dash is trimmer, more elegant, and communicates essential information cleanly. Multi-adjustable front seats make for comfortable commutes. Passengers consigned to the third-row seats enjoy more legroom than their counterparts in other, seven-passenger SUVs in the class. The interior door handles are awkward, however.
2007 models bring subtle but significant improvements: Most notably, Ford's sophisticated Safety Canopy side-curtain airbags come standard on all Mountaineers, joining a long list of safety features that includes AdvanceTrac stability control with Roll Stability Control and adaptive driver and front-passenger air bags. A heated windshield that dramatically decreases de-icing time is now available on all models, and we recommend it for cold climates. The rear-seat DVD entertainment system now comes with a larger, eight-inch screen. And all Mountaineers now come with a standard auxiliary audio input jack.
The 2007 Mercury Mountaineer comes in two trim levels, base ($27,300) and Premier ($30,365). Standard in both is a 210-hp V6 and five-speed automatic transmission; optional on the upper-level Premier is a 292-hp V8 mated to a six-speed automatic ($1,295). Both offer a choice of rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive ($2,275). Seven-passenger seating is standard on Premier and optional on the base model.
The base-level Mountaineer ($27,300) comes with leather-trimmed sport bucket seats with 10-way power for the driver; dual-zone automatic climate control; color-keyed and leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise control and redundant audio and climate controls; AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with auxiliary audio input jack; power windows; power door locks with remote keyless entry; message center with four-line display; auto-dimming rear-view mirror; fog lights; automatic headlights; and 17-inch aluminum wheels with P245/65R17 all-season tires.
Premier ($30,365) adds a Reverse Sensing System; universal garage door opener; dual power heated outside mirrors with security and approach lamps; Audiophile stereo with in-dash, six-disc CD changer and an eight-inch subwoofer; color-keyed running boards; heated front seats with Preferred Suede inserts (perforated inserts are a no-cost option); six-way power passenger seat; second-row reclining seatbacks; a third-row, fold-flat 50/50 split bench seat; satin aluminum round exhaust tip; satin aluminum roof side rails; and 18-inch satin-aluminum chrome-clad wheels with P235/65R18 all-season tires. Power retractable running boards ($695) are optional. A discount package combines a power glass sunroof with navigation system ($850).
Options for both models include the power glass sunroof ($850); second-row bucket seats ($615); heated windshield ($300); adjustable pedals with memory ($225); Sirius Satellite Radio ($195); auxiliary rear climate control ($675); limited-slip rear axle with 3.73:1 ratio instead of 3.55:1 ($50); cargo shade ($80); rear-seat DVD entertainment ($1,295); DVD-based navigation for Premier ($1,995) or base ($2,505); roof-rail crossbars ($115); remote starter ($385); engine block heater ($35); and a Class III trailer package ($225).
Options for the base model include the Audiophile sound system ($510); Reverse Sensing System ($295); heated front seats ($495); color-keyed running boards ($485); third row seating with manual ($845) or power folding seats ($1,340); universal garage-door opener ($150); and 18-inch chrome wheels ($595); plus a Comfort and Convenience Package ($1,564) that combines the Audiophile sound system with color-keyed running boards and manual fold-flat third-row seating. Cloth bucket seats are offered as a credit option (-$1,000) that also deletes the steering-wheel mounted controls and reverts to manual air conditioning.
Safety features fitted on all Mountaineers include dual-stage adaptive front airbags, Safety Canopy side curtain airbags for the first- and second-row passengers, rollover protection sensors, front-seat side-impact airbags, AdvanceTrac electronic stability control with Roll Stability Control (RSC), antilock brakes with brake assist, LATCH child safety seat anchors, and a tire-pressure monitor. Wear those seatbelts because they're your first line of defense in an accident.