Used 1996 Mercury Sable Sedan

1996 Mercury Sable
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1996 Mercury Sable

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

One of the biggest automotive stories for 1996 is the total redesign of the Mercury Sable. Longer, wider and larger inside than the old Sable, the 1996 model sports radically modern, yet heavy-handed, styling. Three trim levels, G, GS and LS, are available as well as two body styles. Sedans and wagons are available in either GS or LS trim levels.

Mercury claims that the new Sable sports 87 percent greater torsional stiffness. Part of this increase is directly attributable to the fact that the entire side of the new Sable is a single stamped section of steel, except for the doors, of course. Glass area is up 28 percent, lending the Sable a lighter, more airy feel than its predecessor. MacPherson struts hold up the front of the new Sable, while a quadralink rear suspension, similar to that found on the 1995 Lincoln Continental, keeps the rear of the car in line. Standard tire size is P205/65 R15.

An improved Vulcan 3.0-liter V6 powers G and GS models, pumping out 145 horsepower. Order LS trim and get an all-aluminum twin-cam 3.0-liter Duratec V6 good for 200 healthy ponies. Rumors continue to fly that the Sable will get the Taurus SHO's Yamaha-built V8 with 240 horses. If the big engine appears in the Sable, it will be the first time a V8 has ever been offered. LS models run to 60 mph in about eight seconds.

Front disc and rear drum brakes are standard. Antilock four-wheel disc brakes are optional. Sporting the same steering rack as the Lincoln Continental, Ford says that steering feel and response is much improved over the old version.

Standard equipment includes air conditioning, five-mph bumpers, rear seat heat ducts, split-fold rear seats and a battery saver system. Innovations on the 1996 Sable include an Integrated Control Panel, which combines stereo and climate controls in one easy-to-use pod. Stereo componentry has been relocated to the trunk. A patented three-way flip-fold console is available in cars equipped with six-passenger seating. In its upright position, the console is a seating position. Flip it down, and it's an armrest. Flip it once more, and it turns into a handy storage bin with cupholders and room for audio cassettes. Optional on Sable Wagon is an integrated child seat.

We must admit that we're a bit skeptical about the fishy-faced styling of the new car, but our initial shock has diminished to distinct distaste. Recently, photos ran of a Sable prototype that was pitched to the Chinese government after they complained about the frontal styling of the new car. The prototype had a raised hood, revised fascia, traditional rectangular headlamps and a chrome waterfall grille. The changes transformed the homely Sable into an Infiniti look-alike. Too bad the Chinese styling exercise didn't make it onto American production lines.

Preliminary reports indicate that the Sable is indeed a much improved sedan, ready to go head-to-head with the best in this class. Time, and a test drive, will tell.

1996 Highlights

Fresh off the drawing boards for 1996, and it seems the drawing boards were poorly lit. Styling is heavy-handed and homely, but definitely not dull. Otherwise, the new Sable is an excellent car, powered by new engines, suspended by new components and innovative in nearly every way. Longer and wider sedan and wagon bodystyles are offered in GS and LS trim.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Mercury Sable.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Used to be reliable
I bought this car in the middle of 2005 with less then 60,000 miles on it. Since I have had it I had to get the rear suspension replaces, brakes redone, I had the serpentine belt replaced and the whole airconditioning unit. Recently I had to have all the wiring replaced and a wk earlier the spark plugs replaced because the car refused to start and gasoline drenched everything. The engine light has been on forever and I have had the codes fixed everytime. In the summer it overheats if I am in town and I have had the whole cooling system serviced and nothing is even wrong with it. The interior has started to peel off and the paneling on the doors falls of, had it fixed but refuses to stay.
love it!!
I recently (11/2006) bought an LS with the 24 valve engine and 56,718 miles on it after 11 years. Also have a 97 cougar V6 but this 24 valve engine is fantastic. So far I love the car and the smoothness of the ride. It is easy to drive and has a large interior which is nicely appointed. The tires are a little small and the alloy wheels are boring. All in all a great car.
Not in it for the long haul
I'm reading through other reviews of this car and it seems that the transmission isn't reliable. Luckily I'm a little over 100k and I haven't had to replace the transmission, but I fear the time is nearing. My issue with the sable is the car has a propensity to run hot. I replaced the radiator, hoses, thermostat, etc a year ago. It all needs to be done again. NOT CHEAP. I don't know what the problem is but I know of other owners who've had the same problem.
1996 Mercury Sable LS
Very comfortable car that has retained a "luxury" feel even 6 years after purchase. Below average reliability. I've had to rebuild the transmission (around the 70,000 mile mark) and replace the A/C compressor (around the 50,000 mile mark). This car handles and rides like a BIG car. It floats along with very little road feel. Also has very high wind noise.
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Features & Specs

18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
200 hp @ 5750 rpm
18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
145 hp @ 5250 rpm
18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
145 hp @ 5250 rpm
See all Used 1996 Mercury Sable Sedan features & specs


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1996 Mercury Sable
Used 1996 Mercury Sable Sedan Overview

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Find a used Mercury Sable for sale - 5 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $11,016.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Mercury Sable?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mercury lease specials
Check out Mercury Sable lease specials