2008 Sable New Car Test Drive
For 2008, Mercury has rescued the good parts of the old Montego sedan, dumped the rest, and made what Ford Motor Company says are more than 500 individual improvements. So much has changed that the division has gone back to the old Sable name for the car, to see if it brings this product any greater recognition and/or market success.
As we said, Mercury has made some 500 changes, changes that were already scheduled for the mid-cycle freshening of the Montego, to the new Sable but were pulled ahead in time for the name change. The platform underneath the car is the same, the body and trim are generally the same as the Montego, but almost everything else has changed for the better.
Mercury Sable competes directly against the other large front-drive and all-wheel-drive sedans on the market, including the Toyota Avalon, the Chevrolet Impala, and the Chrysler 300.
The Sable is the largest car in the group, and carries four five-star safety ratings for front, rear, side and rollover crashworthiness. The big kicker in all of this is that, with all the new styling, interior, engine, transmission and standard features upgrades, the price hovers only about $250 above the bland, slow Ford Five Hundred when comparably equipped.
This family of vehicles, including the Ford Taurus sedan and Ford Taurus X crossover, is built on the same platform as the Volvo S80 luxury sedans, with some detail changes to the suspension systems to keep the price in Mercury territory. When all-wheel-drive is ordered for a Sable, it uses the same Swedish Haldex all-wheel-drive system as the Volvo S80 sedans and XC90 crossover SUVs.
The Sable is powered by a new 3.5-liter, 24-valve V6 engine that makes 30 percent more power and 22 percent more torque than the 3.0-liter V6 it replaces. The new 3.5-liter V6 is the same Ford-designed engine that powers the larger and heavier Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers and MKZ luxury cars. It's paired with a new six-speed automatic transmission built and shared by Ford and GM.
Needless to say, this new engine and transmission combination is much quicker, much quieter and much more responsive than the old Montego powertrain. Mercury says the 0-60 mph acceleration time has been reduced by more than 1.5 seconds, down from 9.2 seconds to only 7.6 seconds, a 17-percent improvement in acceleration performance, which really means something when you're trying to get on or off a freeway or an Interstate Highway. The new engine/transmission combination not only makes more power, it also gets 10 percent better fuel economy, even after adjusting for the new 2008 EPA method now used for fuel economy labeling.
The 2008 Mercury Sable ($23,540) comes in standard and Sable Premier ($27,330) trim levels. All-wheel drive comes on the Sable AWD ($25,390) and Sable Premier AWD ($29,180) models. (All prices are MSRP; destination charge is $750 for all models.)
Options include a Convenience package ($475) with a universal remote control, a reverse sensing system, a cargo net, and memory adjustable pedals; a wood package ($195); a DVD entertainment system ($995); AdvanceTrac electronic stability control ($495); moonroof ($895); voice-activated DVD navigation ($1995); 18-inch chrome wheels ($695); engine block heater ($35); Sirius Satellite Radio ($195). The new communications software, the optional ($395) Sync system developed by Ford with Microsoft, is available on all Sable models.
Safety features are complete and include front, side and curtain airbags, ABS, and traction control. AdvanceTrak electronic stability control is optional. With its large physical size and this standard package of safety features, the new Sable has been awarded a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and full five-star ratings from the federal government.