EXPERT REVIEW

IndyStar.com's view

If there is such a thing as son of Lincoln Town Car, it is the 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis.

The Grand Marquis may give up 3 inches in wheelbase and about 6 inches in overall length. But from the standpoint of styling, major mechanical components, optional equipment and ride, the car is a slightly smaller version of Lincoln-Mercury Division’s prestigious luxury sedan.

The Town Car was redesigned completely for 1991, and was as different from its predecessor as day and night. The same has been done to this Grand Marquis, with like results.

Whether you start from the front or the back, this Grand Marquis exhibits Town Car influence.

Under the hood, there is no difference at all. Powering the Merc is the overhead-cam V-8 and four-speed automatic transmission found in the big Lincoln. And the availability of optional equipment like electronic instrumentation, an anti-lock braking system with traction assist, rear air suspension and a plethora of pleasure features puts the Grand Marquis right up in the luxury-sedan class.

The overhead-cam V-6 with its 40-horsepower advantage over the push rod/rocker arm V-8 in the 1991 Grand Marquis obviously makes a major contribution to the ’92 sedan’s performance. With the new Grand Marquis LS model that Tom Roush, head of Tom Roush Lincoln-Mercury-Mazda, provided for a test car, you just needed to feed this thing the throttle and it was gone.

The engine was the single-exhaust, 190-horsepower version. If that’s not enough, 210 horsepower is available with dual exhausts and a trailer tow or a performance and handling package.

The more enthusiastic types may prefer the handling package. The test car possessed the epitome of the so-called boulevard ride. But the attendant soft suspension permitted a fair degree of body roll in fast corners.

The car rode so smoothly and quietly there was virtually no sensation of speed, until you looked at the numbers being flashed by the electronic instrumentation. It will pay a driver to keep checking the speedometer readout, because you almost invariably are going a lot faster than you realize.

The steering was another one of those power systems where you almost could turn the wheel by blowing on it. A touch more resistance would help.

A Grand Marquis LS is designed to be a luxury six-seater with accompanying comfort and convenience equipment. There was plenty of room front and back. And limousine-style doors made getting in and out easy, although occasionally a cover on the bottom of the steering column bumps the right knee.

A driver going from a ’91 Grand Marquis to this ’92 will feel right at home. Most controls are in the same location, and those that have been moved a bit are clearly marked and easily located.

Town Car drivers also may feel at home, because the 1992 Grand Marquis offers almost the same kind of car for approximately $10,000 less. Maybe the name doesn’t carry quite as high an image, but product-wise it comes close to being a dead heat.

1992 Mercury Grand Marquis LS Base price: $19,789As tested: $24,470Type: Front-engine, rear-drive, six-passenger, luxury sedanEngine: 4.6-liter, 16-valve, 190-horsepower, fuel-injected V-8Mileage: 18 mpg (city), 25 mpg (highway)Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 8.8 secs.Length: 212.4 inchesWheelbase: 114.4 inchesCurb weight: 3,768 poundsAnti-lock braking system, electronic group, keyless entry system, dual-power seats, conventional spare tireArea dealers: Dave Mason, Collins, Dellen, Smart,Tom Roush, Crossroads

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