Mercury’s first all-new sedan in nearly two decades debuted as a 2005 model and gets a couple key features added for 2007: Traction control and side curtain and side-impact airbags. 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.”
Base and Premier trim levels are offered. Ford has a closely related Five Hundred sedan.
All models get a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A rear-seat DVD entertainment system is optional, and Premier models can be equipped with a navigation system. Power-adjustable pedals are standard for the Premier sedan.
The Montego 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 Base model rides on 17-inch tires. New for 2007 are optional 18-inch, eight-spoke chrome wheels. 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.
Two new exterior colors are available for 2007: Dune Pearl and Alloy Metallic.
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 says is 50 percent greater than competitive models.
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. Traction control is standard.
All-disc antilock brakes are standard. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags will become standard in fall 2006 and will be packaged with a standard rollover Safety Canopy side curtain 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.