As soon as I got behind the wheel of the 2009 Mercury Grand Marquis, I felt like I was stepping back in time to 1995...
Whenever I travel, I like to try to rent different cars so I can get a feel for the latest and greatest from different car manufacturers. On my latest trip, I had reserved a Buick Lucerne (I figured Tiger Woods wouldn't steer me wrong), but in typical rental car fashion, my only option in that class was the Mercury Grand Marquis. When we got to the car, we were blown away by how large the trunk was. We easily put all our bags and a large stroller into the trunk and had room to spare. You could easily fit 4 bodies in that trunk... that's about the only nice thing I have to say about the Grand Marquis, but apparently, that's all the Grand Marquis is aiming for. On the Mercury website, the only key feature of the Grand Marquis is the "Best-In-Class Trunk Space", and on that single point, the car delivers.
Once inside the car, I was immediately underwhelmed. For a 2009 "premium" automobile, there were very few premium features. The radio featured a single CD deck. For as large as the car was, I was also disappointed by the amount of front leg room. I couldn't position the seat back far enough to prevent my knee from hitting the keys as I drove, and at 6'2", I'm not among the world's tallest drivers. I figured this car was probably stripped down for "rental car duty", so I visited the Mercury website to see what other options were available. The only interior option for the car was a "Smoker's Package" for $10 which included an ashtray and a cigarette lighter. Oh, and you could upgrade the radio to include the CD AND a tape deck. While other car manufacturers are trying to entice buyers with upgrades based on "Performance", "Luxury", and "Technology" packages, Mercury instead decides to go after the "Smokers" demographic. The Mercury website did inform me that the Grand Marquis had a V8 engine -- a fact I wouldn't have guessed from driving the car. Accelerating on the freeway seemed to tax the engine more than it should have for a V8.
At this point, I was intrigued as to who would buy this car, so I did a little more research. Edmunds reported that model has not been updated since 2003 other than minor trim adjustments, although I'd argue that the interior hasn't had significant upgrades since well before that based on the sparse options available. Perhaps the minimal changes in the car provides for some rock solid reliability -- a little more research disproved that theory. CNNMoney.com lists the Mercury Grand Marquis on its list of "11 Worst Cars". I found little to argue with in CNNMoney's review.
While other car manufacturers race to push automobile technology forward, Mercury seems content to throw it into cruise control and ride the soft pillowy ride to their demise. Unless you're a start-up mafia looking for lots of trunk space on a budget, I'd suggest passing on the Mercury Grand Marquis.
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