1996 Mercury Villager

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starting MSRP

1996 Mercury Villager

Key specs

Base trim shown


3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • GS


  • LS


  • Nautica


Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 1996 Mercury Villager trim comparison will help you decide.

1996 Mercury Villager review: Our expert's take


The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

Lincoln-Mercury shares the same sport-utility vehicle with Ford division, but each has its own mini-van–Mercury, the Villager, and Ford, the Windstar. The only sharing Mercury has to do is with Nissan, which markets a version of Villager called Quest.

When it comes to sport-utes, Ford and Lincoln-Mercury are equals with Explorer and Mountaineer, but when it comes to mini-vans, L-M is the clear winner.

The front-wheel-drive ’96 Villager LS we tested offers smoother car-like ride and handling with almost no road harshness in the cabin. It also can takethe merger ramp without backing off the accelerator. It has a lively, but quiet, V-6 with ample power to climb a hill, and it can run long distances without gulping fuel (18 m.p.g. city/21 m.p.g. highway from the 3-liter, 151-h.p. V-6).

All that plus dual air bags and anti-lock brakes. Villager comes closest ofany van now on the market to matching the mini-vans from sales champ Chrysler Corp.

Villager falls short of Chrysler, however, in that it only comes in regular-length version (112.2-inch wheelbase, 189.9-inch length) and not extended length (Windstar with its 120.7-inch wheelbase/201.2-inch length is Ford’s extended-length van). In addition, it offers but one slide-open door onthe passenger side, not sliders on both passenger and driver side as does Chrysler (or a power slide-open passenger-side door as does General Motors). And while it can hold up to seven passengers, it doesn’t have as much room left over as Chrysler mini-vans.

Like Chrysler, Villager has such handy features as a stowage bin under the front passenger’s seat, cup/juicebox holders for rear-seat occupants includingone that pops open to reveal a compartment for toys or snacks.

Unlike Chrysler, Villager boasts a third seat in back that slides forward on its track in order to increase cargo capacity without having to remove a heavy seat. It’s a great feature, but it needs better execution. You can only slide it forward by pulling levers at the front of the seat, not from the backof the seat.

Why not a lever in back so you need only open the hatch, pull a lever, slide the seat forward, and dispose of your packages?

GM will offer a third seat slider in its newly redesigned front-wheel-drivemini-vans this fall. Hopefully, it will be easier to use.

We tested the ’96 Villager LS, which starts at $24,300. In addition to the standard equipment mentioned it offers air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with cassette, power mirrors/windows/door locks, and 15-inch all-season tires. For $3,655 you can add the preferred equipment group with power seats, compact-disc player, heated mirrors, captain’s chairs, and a bunch of things labeled deluxe. Add $555 for freight.

Changes for ’96 include new front/rear facia and grille and the passenger-side air bag. Keyless entry and an integrated child safety seat are new options.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.7
  • Interior design 4.5
  • Performance 4.3
  • Value for the money 4.8
  • Exterior styling 4.5
  • Reliability 4.5

Most recent consumer reviews


stillgoing strong at 345,000 miles

Use it for extra car now and use it for utility vehicle. Odometer went out at 345,000 miles and want to see if I can get 500,000 miles out of it after I get the odometer fixed .


Mercury Villagers from 1993 to 1998

Fantastic vehicle. Reliable, consistent with minimum of needed repairs. Love this vehicle. We had had almost no issues as long as it's reliably maintained. Holds up to high miles exceedingly well. 258,000 and still going strong!!!!


Practical smaller van after 15 years

Fun to drive, car like handling, great flexible interior. We just love it, after 160000 on it it still runs well. It had some repairs, but amusingly it's original muffler is still there, the brakes were serviced only once. The least reliable side appeared to be electrical - rear view wiper, minor troubles with the door locks and front wipers. We did not have any major mechanical problems. I would estimate that all repairs costed me less than 3000 over the years. We consider a bench in a second row as an advantage we can not get from today's vans, as well as open-able rear view window - it helps a lot for hauling long things, like boards from Home Depot. Even in Minnesota we got just a few spots of rust after 15 years. If this van would be still on a market, we would buy it right away with no doubts at all. Unfortunately, they are mostly over-sized for us, or too small, like Mazda-5, and nothing in between. On a negative I would mention wind noise at higher speeds, so-so radio. It was purchased 2 years old having 18k on odometer for $17k -isn't that a value after all these years?

See all 4 consumer reviews