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1998 Mercury Grand Marquis Sedan

4dr Sdn LS

Starting at | Starting at 17 MPG City - 24 MPG Highway

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  • $23,990 original MSRP
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1998 Mercury Grand Marquis Sedan

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1998 Mercury Grand Marquis Sedan

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1998 Mercury Grand Marquis

Source: New Car Test Drive

Luxury car features and value in a full-size sedan.

by Jim McCraw

Base Price $24,395
Price As Tested $27,035

If you want a real American six-passenger sedan that has rear-wheel drive, body-on-frame construction, lots of luxury amenities, and a reasonable price, you are shopping in a very narrow segment. Chrysler Corporation gave up on rear-wheel-drive passenger cars years ago, and 1996 was the last year in which General Motors made any large sedans with rear-wheel drive (the Cadillac Brougham and the Chevrolet Caprice were canceled after that). That leaves the Ford Crown Victoria for the police forces, daily rental and taxicab companies, and the Mercury Grand Marquis for the rest of us.

The Grand Marquis has posted strong sales gains over the past few years. Mercury officials credit changing American demographics -- more older couples who have children or parents living with them, for instance -- and the car's solid value, an important factor for those on fixed incomes. Only four years ago, the Grand Marquis had less than 15 percent of the large-car market, now it's closer to 27 percent. Owner loyalty, which speaks volumes, is more than 42 percent, the highest in this part of the market. Grand Marquis competes against Oldsmobile Delta 88, Pontiac Bonneville and Buick LeSabre as well as Chrysler Concorde and Toyota Avalon.

Walkaround

The so-called Panther platform on which the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis are built, along with the Lincoln Town Car, has been around since 1990. After seven years on cruise control, Ford Motor Company has given the Panther cars a substantial number of upgrades for the 1998 model year.

The Grand Marquis has been restyled with a more vertical grille treatment, a different grille texture, jeweled headlamp treatments and new taillamps. It will share showrooms with the Lincoln Navigator, Town Car and Continental.

Underneath the car is a completely new frame that allowed the Grand Marquis to earn a five-star rating for crash standards front and rear. While the center of the frame is quite similar to the old car's, the front and rear extensions have been upgraded and strengthened, and the front and rear suspensions have been improved for a smoother, more vibration-free ride. The traditional recirculating ball steering system has been upgraded with premium bearings and materials to improve steering feel and response; a power steering fluid cooler has been made standard.

The Grand Marquis is still a big car, with a base curb weight over 3900 pounds, a 114-inch wheelbase and an overall length of 212 inches. So no matter how good the steering and the tires and suspension are, it still takes some skill and effort to negotiate a supermarket parking lot.

The 1998 package includes upgrades to suspension, steering, tires and wheels, brakes, battery, security, interior, powertrain, and styling, in short, just about every area of the car.

The Inside Story

The list of standard equipment on a Grand Marquis rivals that of its sibling, the Lincoln Town Car. There are still two flavors, the GS and the LS. Dual-exhaust is restricted to the LS version, which also comes with more standard equipment: floor mats, cruise control, power door locks, illuminated keyless entry system, chrome wheel covers, a light group, and a bodyside tape stripe.

Ford's old Preferred Equipment Packages, or PEPs, are gone, replaced with three simplified option groups: premium, ultimate, and performance. The $1000 premium package adds alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, electronic climate control, a power passenger seat and an auto-dimming mirror with compass. To that, the $2400 ultimate package adds: anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic instrumentation, and a premium sound system. The $855 handling package, which we recommend, includes a completely retuned suspension with rear air shocks, a big rear stabilizer bar, a 3.27:1 axle ratio, the dual-exhaust engine, 16-inch alloy wheels and Goodyear high-performance tires. Our test car had the ultimate package, but not the handling package.

The interior offers enough real estate to package all the controls and instruments in a logical, intuitive, and spacious manner. The seats are huge, thick and comfortable as the family rocker. Nothing seems out of place and nothing about the entire interior is cramped. For 95th percentile drivers like me (6'3" and 215 pounds), there is enough room for long legs, broad shoulders and gangly arms, but there is also enough latitude in seat adjustment to accommodate more petite family members. Rear-seat roominess and comfort are at the top of the class, and trunk capacity is rated at almost 21 cubic feet. Fit and finish inside the car are superb, and the materials chosen are excellent.

Ride and Drive

The engine that powers the Grand Marquis is a 4.6-liter single overhead-cam V-8 that was introduced with these cars in 1990, and it has turned out to be one of the best engines Ford Motor Company has ever built in terms of quality and durability. It, too, has been upgraded for 1997, and now makes 200 horsepower with single exhaust and 220 hp with the optional dual exhaust system, a 10-hp increase over previous calibrations. The engine now has coil-on-plug ignition which is simpler and more reliable.

Likewise, the four-speed automatic overdrive transmission designed to mate with the 4.6-liter V-8 has been shaped up and smoothed out for 1998, with 50 percent quicker, smoother, and more positive shifts, and no maintenance required for the life of the car. With this combination, the Grand Marquis is rated a Class 1 tow vehicle, to tow 2000 pounds continuously.

And, whether you tow a small trailer or boat and trailer, you might consider that ABS and traction control come as a single package in 1998, and that traction control has been upgraded from low-speed-only to all-speed, which makes it a great deal more flexible in many weather conditions. The system can be switched off with a switch hidden in the glovebox.

Wheels have been increased from 15-inch to 16-inch. Steel wheels are standard, aluminum alloy wheels are optional. Special alloy wheels come with the handling package. Standard tires are P225/60R-16 all-season radials that ride better and bite better than the smaller tires used last year. Brakes, too, have been enlarged and upgraded, with larger, thicker rotors and dual-piston calipers on the front discs for better, longer brake performance.

For 1998, the Grand Marquis rear suspension has been altered substantially to get that quiet, smooth and unperturbed ride. The rear trailing arms, which used to point inward toward the driveshaft, have been reshaped and remounted between the frame and the rear axle assembly to provide control of the axle's up and down motions. At the same time, the rear axle assembly has been fitted with a Watts linkage, a simple mechanical link between the center of the frame and the axle assembly that locates the axle laterally. Mercury's Precision Trac suspension system with coil springs and relocated shock absorbers controls the ride. With one set of bars for vertical motions and the Watts link for lateral motions, the car is much less susceptible to wallow and is not as affected by crosswinds as it was before. This was clearly the best-handling big Merc we've ever driven, a pleasure on a winding road.

Final Word

If splendid isolation is what you're looking for, or if you plan to cover lots of North American territory on the big highways, the Grand Marquis belongs on your shopping list. With its body-on-frame construction, quiet and smooth V-8 engine and rear drive, the Grand Marquis goes out of its way to separate you and your traveling partners from mechanical noise and intrusions caused by the road surface. The new steering and suspension really work well to improve ride quality, road feel and handling, and for the $27,000 as-tested price, you get luxury-car value in a full-sized sedan.

Order our 200+ page magazine of reviews. Send $8.00 (S&H included) to New Car Test Drive, 2145 Crooks Rd. Suite 200, Troy, MI 48084

©1998 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

1998 Mercury Grand Marquis Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Opt
Traction/Stability Control Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std

Security

Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

1998 Mercury Grand Marquis Sedan

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 2 Years/24,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance 3 Years/36,000 Miles

Mercury Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Manufacturer's 7 years / 100,000 miles Powertrain Limited Warranty from original in-service date. 12-month/12,000-mile comprehensive limited warranty. See dealer for details. Rental Car Reimbursement $30/day.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 2009-2011 model years & less than 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 172
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

1998 Mercury Grand Marquis Sedan

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