Mercury's first all-new sedan in nearly two decades debuted as a 2005 model. The Montego midsize premium sedan can be equipped with either front- or all-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive system can automatically distribute up to 100 percent of traction to the rear wheels.
Transmission choices include a continuously variable transmission and a six-speed automatic, each driven by a Duratec 3.0-liter V-6. Mercury says the Montego features a "European-inspired chassis [that] delivers crisp, responsive handling."
Luxury and Premier trim levels are offered. Ford has a closely related Five Hundred sedan.
All 2006 models get a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A rear-seat DVD entertainment system is now optional, and Premier models can be equipped with a navigation system. Later in the 2006 model year, power-adjustable pedals will be available for the Luxury sedan.
The Montego's front fascia features a waterfall-style grille. High-intensity-discharge headlights and rectangular fog lamps are installed. LED taillamps promise quicker illumination compared to traditional bulbs. Built on a 112.9-inch wheelbase, the Montego is 200.9 inches long overall and 61.5 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.
Five occupants fit inside the Montego's two-tone interior, which features an upright seating position that Mercury says is borrowed from 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.
An analog clock sits in the center of the dashboard. Leather-upholstered seats are optional, but an overhead console is standard. Two cupholders appear in the front console, with two more in the backseat's flip-down armrest.
A power driver's seat and tilt steering wheel are standard. A two-user memory feature stores seat, pedal and mirror positions in the Premier sedan. The trunk holds 21.2 cubic feet of cargo, which Mercury claims is 50 percent greater than competitive models.
Under the Hood
A Duratec 3.0-liter V-6 produces 203 horsepower and 207 pounds-feet of torque. All-wheel-drive sedans use the CVT, while those with front-wheel drive get a six-speed automatic.
All-disc antilock brakes are standard. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags are optional and packaged with a rollover Safety Canopy side curtain-type airbag system. A reverse sensing system is also optional.
Differences from Ford's Five Hundred are modest, but the Montego feels a bit heavier. Its relatively taut suspension delivers a comfortable ride, apart from an occasional noteworthy bump on rougher surfaces. Tracking well on freeways, the Montego feels a hair more sure-footed than the Five Hundred.
Entry and exit are exceptionally easy, and the chair-height seats yield excellent views. The CVT is virtually flawless — adequate for takeoffs and seldom troubled when passing. All told, the Montego is a good-sense sedan.
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