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1999 Mercury Villager Van

4dr Wgn

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

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  • $22,415 original MSRP
Printable Version

1999 Mercury Villager Van

Printable Version

1999 Mercury Villager Van

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1999 Mercury Villager

Source: The Car Connection

Giving Chrysler's trio something to think about.

by Robert Ahl

The future looked bright for the Mercury Villager minivan at its introduction six years ago. The minivan market was red-hot in the United States, and the Villager, co-developed with Nissan, promised something new: Japanese engineering and reliability, combined with American minivan marketing know-how.

The Villager came through on its promises - its swoopy styling was well-received, and it rode and handled better than the Chrysler vans of the time. Villager sales met Ford’s modest goals - about 75,000 units a year - until the arrival of the new, better-looking and better-handling Chrysler minivans of 1996. Now, with a year under its belt, the redesigned Villager has recaptured a little of the edge it once held over the Chrysler minivans.

The Villager looks more like a Nissan than a Mercury. That’s because, just like the previous Villager, it was designed at Nissan’s La Jolla, California, design studio alongside its twin, the Nissan Quest. The body was all-new last year, although it didn’t look like it. As in its first edition, the Villager has flush window glass, smoothly curved fenders with a long front end, and flush door handles.

The new body allowed designers to address the Villager’s weaknesses. A second (driver-side) sliding door was added - a necessity in the U.S. minivan market now. Length was increased to improve second-seat legroom and cargo room in back. These improvements required no significant changes to the Villager’s platform or wheelbase. That allowed Ford and Nissan to save money at Ford’s Avon Lake, Ohio, plant - the only plant that builds the Villager and Quest.

That platform has a suspension of struts and control arms up front and a rigid axle located by leaf springs in the rear. The Villager’s carlike handling needed little improvement, but Ford and Nissan made changes anyway. Gas pressure in the front struts was reduced by 31 percent to reduce bump harshness, while jounce and rebound control was increased with changes to strut and shock valving. In back, the multileaf springs were reduced to single leaf to reduce spring friction.

We can’t complain about the accuracy of the Villager’s variable-effort power steering - it has a good sense of straight ahead, and makes the Villager easy to position in a corner. There’s less steering feel than with last year’s car, unfortunately, but at least the ride is noticeably improved. The Villager swallows bumps about as well as a typical midsize U.S. car. The body structure feels impressively stiff over bumps and potholes, particularly for a minivan. Engineers managed to increase torsional stiffness by 15 percent, despite the addition of the fourth sliding door.

Under the hood, there’s more power. The Villager’s SOHC 3.0-liter V-6 (a de-tuned Maxima engine) was dropped. In its place this year is a new 3.3-liter iron-block SOHC V-6 from the Nissan Pathfinder SUV. Mounted transversely for the minivan, the 3.3-liter makes 170 horsepower, 19 more than the 3.0-liter V-6. Curb weight remains about the same as last year, so acceleration to 60 mph is expected to take about 10.5 seconds. That’s competitive with most mainstream minivans. Chrysler’s vans, though, offer three different engine choices - up to 200 horsepower.

The 3.3-liter SOHC revs with a sophisticated sound - certainly more pleasing than Chrysler’s pushrod sixes. The transmission, a Nissan four-speed unit, has been reprogrammed to reduce gear “hunting” when climbing hills. This transmission always seems to find the right gear at the right time, but its shifts seem prolonged, giving the driveline an imprecise, mushy feel. The driveline combination yields fuel economy of 17 mpg on the EPA city cycle, and 24 mpg on the EPA highway cycle, the same economy as last year, despite the more powerful engine. The front-disc, rear-drum brakes have a lighter and more compact standard anti-lock system.

Other than the Villager’s quiet ride and refinement, it’s hard to distinguish this van from its competitors from behind the wheel. That’s OK, because in the U.S. minivan market, it’s features that distinguish one minivan from another, not performance. The Villager comes with many innovative ones. The interior can seat seven - two in front and the middle, and three on a bench seat in the rear. The two rows of rear seats can be folded, or removed from the van. (The seats have wheels.) Remove the second seats, and the third bench can be slid forward and locked, providing lots of room for three and their cargo. There’s also a new removable shelf behind the third seat, which can support up to 30 pounds of smaller items while concealing larger ones underneath.

There’s more. The Villager can be ordered with a dual-mode sound system with front and rear audio controls. It allows parents to listen to the radio, while those in back can listen to a CD with earphones. The power driver’s seat has a memory in the keyless entry system that remembers seat adjustments and mirror positions for two drivers. The climate control system has a pollen and dust filter. In the driver’s sun visor, there’s an optional digital voice recorder that can play a message you record back to you - instructions to a destination, for example.

Safety is a major consideration with minivan customers, and the Villager has its share of safety features. The B- and C-pillars of the body are reinforced with Hexel aluminum honeycomb in key areas for crash strength - one of the first applications of this exotic material on a production car. In fact, the Villager meets 1999 U.S. car-crash standards (minivans are considered trucks in the United States and are subject to less rigorous standards than cars.) Dual front airbags are standard, but then again, they are on all U.S. cars and light trucks these days. An integrated second-row child seat is available. Side airbags are not offered.

The 1999 Villager is priced just slightly more than its Chrysler and GM competitors. Base models start at around $23,000, with loaded versions topping out under $30,000.

The Mercury Villager is not intended to appeal to a broad spectrum of buyers like its Chrysler and GM competitors. Ford offers its larger and much more popular Windstar minivan for that. The Villager is aimed at a smaller market - one that favors carlike ride and refinement and expressive styling above more practical considerations like cargo capacity. The changes for 1999 simply update this idea. Mercury dealers should be pleased.

© The Car Connection

 

Printable Version

1999 Mercury Villager Van

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Opt

Passenger Restraint

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

Road Visibility

Intermittent Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Opt
Printable Version

1999 Mercury Villager Van

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

1999 Mercury Villager Van

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