Mountaineer, which is Mercurys version of the Ford Explorer, carries over until January, when the 2002 arrives with new styling and a larger interior that holds seven passengers.
Like the current model, the 2002 Mountaineer will be built from the same design as the Explorer but will have more distinctive styling and unique features. Mercury will offer only a four-door model, while Ford will also offer a two-door Explorer Sport and a four-door Sport Trac with an open cargo bed.
Overall length on the new Mountaineer will be 191 inches the same as the current model but a new rear suspension and other design changes will create space for a two-place third seat that increases passenger capacity from five to seven. Cargo space grows from 80 cubic feet to 88.
As a clone of the best-selling SUV, Mountaineer looks like an Explorer with a Mercury grille. The overall length of 191 inches makes it 2 inches shorter than the Dodge Durango and 8 inches longer than the Oldsmobile Bravada.
Seats for five are standard in the Mountaineer, with a pair of front buckets and a split folding rear seat that lays flat without removing the headrests.
Under the Hood
Mountaineer engine choices are a 210-horsepower 4.0-liter V-6 and a 215-hp 5.0-liter V-8, the same engines available on the Explorer. The V-6 engine comes with a five-speed automatic transmission, and the V-8 is equipped with a four-speed automatic.
Different four-wheel-drive systems are available with each engine. The V-6 comes with Control Trac, which engages automatically and can be used on smooth, dry pavement. A permanently engaged system comes with the V-8.