Used 2001 Mercury Sable Review

Edmunds expert review

Representing luxury on the cheap, Sable is a decent car suffering from an identity crisis.




What's new for 2001

A new child safety-seat restraint system is in place as well as a larger 18-gallon fuel tank. There's also a clearcoat metallic paint swap, trading Tropic Green for Spruce Green. Otherwise, no changes for the recently freshened Sable.

Vehicle overview

The Sable has earned a good reputation for safety, thanks to its solid performances in U.S. government crash testing. Mercury builds on that rep with the Sable's new Advanced Restraints System (ARS). This system adapts airbag deployment depending upon impact severity, safety-belt usage and driver-seat position. The ARS includes safety-belt pre-tensioners and retractors. Head-and-chest side airbags are optional for front occupants. Safety goodies include an emergency trunk release (for those times when you accidentally lock yourself in your own trunk), and locking front-seat head restraints.

Inside, the Sable has power-adjustable accelerator and brake pedals. With the touch of a button, the brake and accelerator pedals can, together, be horizontally adjusted up to 3 inches toward the driver from the standard location to provide added driving comfort for a wider range of drivers. Audio and climate controls are grouped in a soft-cornered rectilinear shape. Controls are operated by square buttons, which are arranged in a conventional linear grid fashion for more intuitive use. The flip/fold console in the six-passenger Sable now folds down flat to the floor, allowing easy access to the lower part of the integrated control panel.

We give the '01 Sable high marks in the ride and handling department. On the road, the car transmits truly usable feedback to the wheel, letting the driver know what is happening with the tires. The Sable has a compliant suspension with excellent rebound shock valving for spirited canyon driving, yet without the harshness that can render a cross-country drive unenjoyable. Drive the Sable into a turn, prod the throttle and the car responds in a predictable manner. Yet on the highway, passengers are treated to a comfortably smooth ride.

The 2001 Sable powertrains include the 3.0-liter Vulcan and 3.0-liter Duratec V6s. The main difference between the two engines is the cylinder heads. The base Vulcan has two valves per cylinder, while the Duratec has four. The four-valve motor makes 200 horsepower at 5650 rpm and 200 foot-pounds of torque at 4,400 rpm. The base engine makes do with 155 horsepower at 4,900 rpm and 185 foot-pounds at 3950 rpm. Both engines meet Low-Emissions Vehicle (LEV) standards in California and 13 Northeastern states.

With the optional 24-valve Duratec V6 putting the power down, the Sable is actually quite sporting. The engine features a wide power band with tons of low-end torque. Reaching the upper end of the tachometer, the engine emits a nasty growl and a notable amount of torque steer during upshifts.

We've always liked the Sable and Taurus, but thought they were edged out when compared to the Accord or Camry. The gap is now considerably narrower when comparing the Honda and Toyota benchmarks because the Sable (and Taurus) is now a much better car. Furthermore, you can get a Sable wagon if you desire-no such choice exists with Accord or Camry. Now if they just made the wagon's four-wheel disc brakes available on the sedan.






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.