A corporate twin of the Ford Taurus, the Sable was restyled last year to a more mainstream appearance than the rounded contours of the 1996 through 1999 models. The notable changes this year are limited to the addition of a stereo with a single-disc CD player as a new option.
The Sable returns in sedan and wagon body styles with V-6 power.
All exterior panels except the doors were new for 2000, and the Sable came out looking larger as a result. The wheelbase and overall length, however, were unchanged at 108.5 inches and 200 inches, respectively. The overall length makes the Sable one of the longest midsize cars.
Seats for six are standard on the GS sedan. The more-expensive LS comes with standard front buckets for five-passenger capacity. A front bench with a folding storage console is a no-cost option. A power-adjustable accelerator and pedals with a 3-inch range are optional.
Mercury lists trunk space at 16 cubic feet in the sedan, and the split rear seatback folds for additional cargo space.
Under the Hood
Engine choices include two 3.0-liter V-6s: a 155-horsepower version with overhead valves and a 200-hp engine with dual overhead camshafts. Both team with a four-speed automatic transmission.
The Sables front airbags deploy at one of two inflation levels based on crash severity, whether or not the seat belts are buckled and the drivers seat position. When crash sensors detect that airbags are needed, they inflate at a higher rate in severe crashes and at a slower rate in moderate collisions.
Side-impact airbags that protect the heads and chests of front occupants are optional. Antilock brakes with an all-speed traction control system also are optional. The Sable also has front seat belt pretensioners and retractors that remove slack in crashes. A warning system activates a red warning light and intermittently sounds a chime if either the driver or front passenger are unbelted.
The same safety features are available on the Taurus.