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With Mercury dropping its prices on all 1999 models, the Sable is an even better buy than last year.
It offers no substantial advantage over the similarly-priced and not-as-weird-looking Accord or Camry.
Available Sable Sedan Models
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Still smarting from that 1996 "redesign" that had many longtime Sable fans running to the competition, Mercury performed some minor cosmetic surgery in '98 to help soften the Sable's front end. This year's changes are limited to new wheel designs, a revised gauge cluster and interior console, as well as suspension alterations designed to improve overall ride quality. The particulate filtration system has been deleted from this year's models.
Competing in the crowded "around $20,000 sedan" category, Mercury's Sable, and the near identical Ford Taurus, have slid in market share over the past three years. While the latest body style has been less than celebrated by the public and press at large, the sedan and wagon still possess many great characteristics, including a smart dash layout, excellent outward visibility, and plenty of interior room. There's also a plethora of cupholders, nicely integrated armrests and optional rear passenger air conditioning controls. Refinement comes in the form of wood-grain appliques on the doors and instrument panel. This year, the gauge cluster is revised with new graphics and a mini-center console is standard on five-passenger versions with column-mounted shift. The six-passenger flip-fold center seating console can still be had for no additional charge.
Handling can be improved with the optional 16-inch wheels, 55-series tires and rear stabilizer bar. 15-inch wheels are standard and ride on 205/65R15 tires. All models come with four-wheel independent suspension, a front stabilizer bar, and gas-pressurized shocks/struts.
Powertrain options remain unchanged from last year with the GS model getting the Vulcan 3.0-liter V6 capable of 145 horsepower and 170 foot-pounds of torque. Optional on the GS and LS models (and standard with the LS premium group) is the Duratec 3.0-liter, 24-valve V6 with 200 horsepower and 200 foot-pounds of torque. All models come with a four-speed automatic. Manual shift is not an option on the Sable.
As a capable and comfortable people mover, the Sable is still a great American sedan (or wagon). Unfortunately, it is not a great world sedan and, when compared to the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, the Sable offers no advantages while also suffering from a questionable exterior shape.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.