For years, the Mercury Grand Marquis stood as an example of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." The big Mercury, a slightly fancier twin of the Ford Crown Victoria, exhibited old-school automotive design with its stout but heavy body-on-frame construction, solid rear axle and softly tuned suspension calibrations. Its more modern American and Japanese peers, by comparison, featured lighter unibody architecture and fully independent suspensions.
The ride and handling performance suffered somewhat as a result, as the Grand Marquis just wasn't nearly as athletic as more modern rivals. But folks prized this Mercury for its roomy cabin, plush, quiet ride and bulletproof construction, not its ability to tear through a winding road at breakneck speed. It's no wonder that for decades its plainer Ford relative was the favorite of cab companies, police departments and fleet operators everywhere.
For the full-size sedan shopper who just wants a big, comfortable V8-equipped sedan and nothing more, a used Mercury Grand Marquis offers compelling value. Just keep in mind that it's affordable for a reason. Premium features like navigation, high-powered audio and Bluetooth are nowhere to be found, and competing large sedans are much more modern in their mechanical makeup and overall design.
Most Recent Mercury Grand Marquis
The most recent Mercury Grand Marquis generation began in 1998. Concurrent with the brand's demise, production ended after 2011. This full-size six-passenger sedan was generally available in two trim levels -- GS and LS. Going with an LS will typically get you more features.
Despite its 2-ton curb weight, the Grand Marquis was reasonably quick off the line thanks to a 4.6-liter V8 engine. Output varied somewhat during the car's run; models from 2003 and later typically had 224 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic was the only transmission available. Marquis models fitted with the optional Handling package (it was discontinued after 2007) received a power increase to 235 hp.
The Marquis received a variety of updates throughout the years. The biggest changes took place for '03, when the Grand Marquis received an all-new chassis with a redesigned front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering, all of which improved crash performance and handling. Antilock brakes were made standard that year, and front side airbags became available. Stability control was never offered, however. In general, we recommend shopping for one of these 2003-and-newer models.
For 2003 and '04, Mercury also offered the performance-minded Marauder, a name that harkened back to the 1960s. This blacked-out Grand Marquis featured a firmer suspension, big wheels, bucket seats and a four-cam, 302-hp V8.
On the road, the Mercury Grand Marquis delivered a soft, forgiving ride, but as expected, the handling was mushy. Ultimately, there was just no getting around this big sedan's decades-old design, substantial weight and large dimensions. Inside, the dated design and spotty materials quality were immediately apparent. The vehicle's chief strengths were its solid value for the money and the roomy, comfortable accommodations for five or six. A huge 21-cubic-foot trunk that could easily swallow a week's worth of luggage for a small family was another perk.
Past Mercury Grand Marquis Models
As for older Grand Marquis that followed the end of the previous model's long (1979-'91) run, the '92 Mercury Grand Marquis debuted with a restyled body and a new-generation, overhead-cam 4.6-liter V8 rated at 190 or 210 hp (with dual exhaust). We found that engine much smoother and more powerful than the ancient overhead-valve V8s it replaced. Minor improvements carried through to 1995, when a subtle face-lift yielded a new grille, lights, bumpers, trunk lid and dash. Not much changed after that until the next big update three years later.