Mercury's Grand Marquis and the similar Ford Crown Victoria are the only six-passenger rear-wheel-drive sedans sold in the U.S. with V-8 engines and traditional body-on-frame construction. The 4.6-liter V-8 produces either 224 or 239 horsepower.
For 2003, Mercury's Canadian-built full-size sedan got a new frame, suspension and steering system. Equipment revisions and a mild face-lift highlighted updates for 2004.
Four Grand Marquis trim levels are available for 2006: GS, GS Convenience, LS Premium and LS Ultimate. New 16-inch, 16-spoke machined aluminum wheels are standard on LS models. All Grand Marquis sedans wear a fresh grille, front fascia and headlights. LS sedans now include an overhead console with a compass, map light and universal garage-door opener.
According to Ford Motor Co., every Grand Marquis since 1996 has earned five-star ratings for the driver and front passenger in frontal-impact crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. With side airbags installed, the sedan has also earned five stars in side-impact testing.
Styling modifications to the grille, headlamps and taillamps are evident on 2006 models. Lightweight hydroformed steel sections are used for the front rails of the full-perimeter frame. Standard 16-inch wheels are installed. An optional handling package for the LS sedan includes a rear stabilizer bar, rear air suspension and aluminum wheels.
Measuring 212 inches long overall, the Grand Marquis rides a 114.6-inch wheelbase and stands 58.3 inches tall. Rack-and-pinion steering includes speed-dependent variable assistance. Options include a moonroof, fog lamps and a full-size spare tire.
All 2006 Grand Marquis models can hold up to six occupants. The trunk's cargo capacity is 20.6 cubic feet. Liftover height is 26.8 inches, and a trunk organizer is optional.
Standard GS equipment includes a CD stereo, an eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar support, air conditioning, and power windows, locks and mirrors. The GS Convenience adds keyless entry and power-adjustable pedals. Heated mirrors, electronic temperature control and a power passenger seat go into the LS Premium sedan. The LS Ultimate edition includes a rear air suspension, a wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel and a dual-mode audio system. A Limited Package for the LS Premium includes two-tone leather-trimmed seats, myrtlewood-grain trim and nine-spoke chrome wheels. Heated front seats are available.
Under the Hood
In standard form, the 4.6-liter V-8 develops 224 hp. Models with the optional handling package get a more potent 239-hp version of the V-8 with dual exhausts. Both engines team with a four-speed-automatic transmission. The handling package includes a different rear-axle ratio for improved acceleration from a standstill. All-speed traction control is included with higher-end models.
All-disc antilock brakes incorporate electronic brake-force distribution. Side-impact airbags are optional. A dual-rate brake booster automatically supplies full braking power during a panic stop.
Fans of traditional rear-drive sedans don't have many choices today. Fortunately, the Grand Marquis is a reasonable one, offering a comfortable ride, satisfactory performance and ample space. These attributes, however, are accompanied by tepid handling. Ford's Crown Victoria delivers the same benefits, but the Grand Marquis contains more comfort and convenience features for the extra dollars.
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