Used 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1998

The last of the American rear-drive sedans gets substantial improvements this year, including a new instrument panel, new steering gear and an improved ride, thanks to a Watt's linkage suspension. All-speed traction control debuts this year as well.

Vehicle overview

The Mercury Grand Marquis, Lincoln Town Car and Ford Crown Victoria are the last American sedans to feature rear-wheel drive. This is, of course, important to more than just the taxi cab companies, police departments and limousine outfitters that prefer rear-wheel drive products; it is important to the nation as a whole.

Why, you ask? Because this is a nation that was built on the back of the rear-drive sedan. Such cars shuttled families hither and yon across the American landscape for years before vehicles like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Isuzu Rodeo were even thoughts in a design chief's mind. Cars like the Mercury Grand Marquis were the backbone of revered-but-lost institutions such as the drive-in theater. Only a car this large could hold four of your friends in the trunk, and weekend getaways at the cabin; before the Ford Explorer came to town, people actually had to tow their camper with cars. We know it sounds crazy, but now that there is only one domestic manufacturer of these land yachts we find ourselves secretly praying for their continued survival.

Fortunately for us, Mercury is relying on more than our prayers to insure the durability of this vehicle species. This year sees a new round of changes to the Grand Marquis that are destined to keep it in the gene pool a bit longer. The first and most notable change is found at the rear axle. This year, Mercury replaces the Marquis' rear suspension with a Watt's linkage unit that gives the rear axle 400 percent greater stiffness than the axle found at the back of last year's model. This, of course, means that the Grand Marquis tracks through corners better than before, providing more lateral stability for enthusiastic drivers. A change to the steering gear means that more drivers may feel comfortable tackling corners at higher speeds, better on-center feel results in more controlled direction changes. All-speed traction control debuts this year as well, negating most of the advantages that front-wheel drive cars like the Buick LeSabre may hold over the Grand Marquis inpoor weather conditions. The final changes to the 1998 Grand Marquis are on the inside, a new instrument panel makes it easier for drivers to read pertinent gauges.

Despite our fears to the contrary, we are certain that the Grand Marquis will continue to have a fruitful existence. There are enough people out there who are not willing to sacrifice the benefits of rear-wheel drive, such as better handling and increased high-speed stability, for the occasional convenience that front-wheel drive cars offer in inclement weather. Those people can do themselves a favor by stopping by a Mercury dealership and checking out the great value that the Grand Marquis has to offer.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.