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Expert Reviews 1 of 6
By Jim Flammang
May 11, 2004
Vehicle Overview Lincoln-Mercury chose the 2004 Chicago Auto Show as a launch pad for the new Montego, which is Mercury’s first all-new sedan in nearly two decades. The Montego midsize premium sedan can be equipped with all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. The optional all-wheel-drive system can automatically distribute up to 100 percent of traction to the rear wheels.
Transmission choices include an all-new continuously variable transmission (CVT) and a six-speed automatic, each driven by a Duratec 3.0-liter V-6 engine. Mercury says the Montego features a “European-inspired chassis [that] delivers crisp, responsive handling.”
Luxury and Premier trim levels will be offered. Ford has a closely related Five Hundred sedan. Both models will be manufactured in Chicago.
Exterior The Montego’s front fascia features a waterfall-style grille. High-intensity-discharge headlights and rectangular fog lamps are installed. In the rear, LED taillamps are used for quicker illumination compared to traditional bulbs. Built on a 112.9-inch wheelbase, the Montego is 200.7 inches long overall and 60.1 inches tall.
Fifteen-spoke alloy wheels on the Premier sedan hold 18-inch tires, while the Luxury model rides on 17-inch tires. Montegos feature a fully independent suspension, and all-wheel-drive models have self-leveling rear shocks. Low-profile windshield wipers use a strip of spring steel to press the rubber blade evenly against the glass. A power moonroof is optional.
Interior Five occupants fit inside the Montego’s two-tone interior, which features an upright seating position that Mercury says is borrowed from the company’s sport utility vehicles. Front-row seats are mounted on top of a cross-car beam that’s engineered to enhance safety. The rear seats are slightly elevated to yield a better view without impeding the driver’s vision. With the 60/40-split second-row seat folded, the Montego offers 49.9 inches of load floor length. The front passenger seat also folds flat.
The leather-wrapped steering wheel features satin-aluminum spokes. An analog clock sits in the center of the dashboard. Leather-upholstered seats are optional, and an overhead console is standard. Two cupholders appear in the front console, with two more in the backseat’s flip-down center armrest.
A power-adjustable driver’s seat and tilt steering wheel are standard. A two-user memory feature stores seat, pedal and exterior mirror positions in the Premier sedan. The driver’s power window has express operation, up or down. The trunk holds 21 cubic feet of cargo, which Mercury claims is 50 percent greater than the capacity of competitive models.
Under the Hood A Duratec 3.0-liter V-6 engine produces 200 horsepower and 200 pounds-feet of torque. A CVT is standard on the Luxury sedan and on the Premier with all-wheel drive. Premier sedans with front-wheel drive use a six-speed-automatic transmission.
Safety All-disc antilock brakes are standard. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags are optional and packaged with a rollover Safety Canopy. A reverse sensing system is also optional.