Used 2003 Mercury Grand Marquis Review

Edmunds expert review

Thousands of Floridians can't be wrong! A Lincoln Town Car at Honda Accord prices.

What's new for 2003

The 2003 Grand Mark receives a number of updates. The most important ones are hidden. A new full-perimeter frame uses strong, lightweight hydroformed steel sections for the front rails to improve frontal and offset crash performance. Redesigned frame crossmembers and new optional side impact airbags improve side impact crash performance. Additionally, the new frame -- combined with a redesigned independent front suspension and new monotube shock absorbers at all four wheels -- contributes to a smoother, more controlled ride and improved handling. Other changes include a new variable ratio rack-and-pinion steering system with variable power assist and a new dual-rate brake booster that automatically supplies full braking power in a panic stop. On the inside, the seats have been changed to improve comfort and appearance, the cupholders are new, a three-point seatbelt has been added for the center rear passenger and the door trim has been redesigned for a cleaner appearance and better ergonomics. To spot a 2003 Marquis, look for the brighter headlights and subtle new styling applied to the front and rear of the vehicle.

Vehicle overview

Model History/Marketing Philosophy: If you've been pinching your pennies to buy a new full-size rear-drive V8-powered American sedan, we hereby direct you to the Mercury Grand Marquis. It's mechanically identical to the Ford Crown Victoria and similar to the Lincoln Town Car. In fact, Ford, Lincoln and Mercury are the only brands building such cars these days. Decades-old technology allows Mercury to keep the prices low, and the car is a favorite among people who need space and don't want a minivan or sport-ute. Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options: For 2003, two models tempt you -- the GS and LS. Underneath the LS umbrella are the Premium, Ultimate and LSE trim levels. Base GS models include all the family-sedan basics, like air conditioning, a CD player, remote keyless entry, ABS, power windows and locks, cruise control and tilt steering wheel. Also standard are unexpected items like traction control and an eight-way power driver seat. The LS Premium adds power adjustable pedals, cruise control, alloy wheels and a power passenger seat. The Ultimate includes a wood and leather steering wheel and a rear air suspension. Finally, the LSE includes a handling package, leather trim and a front center console and a floor-mounted shifter. Powertrains and Performance: The Grand Marquis was never a slouch in terms of acceleration, with the 4.6-liter V8 engine pumping out 220 horsepower. For 2003, Mercury has made a few minor improvements that reduce emissions and boost oil longevity. The only transmission offered is a four-speed automatic. Buy an LSE, and you can look forward to more power and torque from the 4.6-liter V8 engine (235 horsepower instead of 220). Safety: You can sleep better at night knowing that the Grand Marquis scores well in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests; for 2002, it earned double five stars for frontal crash and double four stars for side impact testing. With a crash-severity sensor, safety belt pre-tensioners, dual-stage airbags and seat-position sensors, the Grand Mark protects occupants like few smaller cars can. New for 2003 are optional side airbags. Added standards like EBD, brake assist, traction control and power adjustable pedals mean this big Mercury can avoid obstacles better in the first place. Interior Design and Special Features: A cavernous trunk of 20.6 cubic feet will swallow any luggage you might have. All Grand Marks except for the LSE allow for six passengers. Driving Impressions/Opinions: Want a chrome-encrusted, rear-drive V8-powered American sedan without the premium charged for a Lincoln? The Grand Marquis fits the bill perfectly.

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.