I bought my 97 Mounty as a cheap suv to get me through chicago winters. It needed a little tweaking, having 180k miles on it, so i fixed some minor issues, installed a cheap mp3 radio, some heavy duty shocks in the rear, and Bridgestone Blizzak snow tires...let me tell you, this thing is a beast in the snow! Absolutely unstoppable! The awd and 5.0 mustang V8 are the best features in this reliable suv. (Okay, i put a Flowmaster muffler on it too, just so i could have that nice V8 rumble in the winter time as well). Its not a horsepower monster...the top end sucks, but its a torque beast. I can launch from a stoplight at 3k rpm in a foot of snow and not slip one bit! It handles like a wide receiver in ballet shoes, like any 90's suv, and it sucks gas too, but every vehicle has its trade offs. This thing is awesome though.
I bought my 97 mercury mountaineer 7 mo. ago. I really enjoy driving it and it handles awsome in the snow. The only problem I have had is the transmission, which was fairly easy to replace. It definetly has enough power to get out of it's own way with the V8. I would suggest this vehicle to anyone.
I have had the car for 7 years bought it in 2001 with 65K miles on it. Overall I have enjoyed the car, However over the last few years (130K + miles) have had lots of issues. Have had to replace ball joints, tie rods, idle arms on multiple occassions (I don't even go off road). Engine has too much weight over the front end, also had to replace 02 sensors yearly. Car is getting around 13 mpg and with gas prices edging closer & closer to $5.00 have come to the realization that it's time to get rid of it. Car always started (did replace battery & alternator) and would consider the car as dependable just very costly to drive. Heater fan, AC compressor also need to be replaced.
It's too bad we regulate fuel economy and won't tap into our own fuel resources to make gas cheaper. It has caused all these new cars to have overly fragile transmissions and week motors that fall apart. I purchased this car 9 years ago with 150k miles it now has 228k miles very reliable no major repairs except I did replace the heating box in the dash because it only blew hot air (a flap inside malfunctioned)$400. There were no check engine lights on until a couple 1000 miles ago the parking brake light came on not bad for a car pushing a quarter million miles. I'm returning a 07 Ford edge off lease with 38,000 miles feels like its shaking apart at 60 mph transmissions shot.
Performed great on smooth flat roads. Bumps are super apparent, but handles them nicely. I had a sub wired from the factory head unit, and it sounded good for whathe it was. Gas mileage was horrendous, 5.0 awd, I would make 10 in winter and around 14 in summer. Because of age of the truck now it would do 0-60 in a solid 12 seconds. Seacting was spacious. Enough room for everyone in the leather interior. Mine had a 6 cd changer that whenever you would hit a bump it would cause the cd to skip. Two things that really weren't thought over by Ford truck; no heated mirrors and no heated leather. Upsides are if someone hits you, you always get money for it. In North Dakota if a car is older than 10 years then it can't be totaled. So every time someone would back into the car it was nothing but pay day. Upgraded to a 2016 Trax because my husband works at chevy and he would complain when it needed work. Sad to see it go, but the upgrade was necessary. 20+ mpg here I come!