Used 1997 Mercury Tracer Sedan

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1997 Mercury Tracer
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1997 Mercury Tracer

Pros

  • The totally redesigned offers better handling, a quieter ride and more sophisticated ergonomics than most of its competitors.

Cons

  • Unfortunately, the Tracer has an odd-looking grille, that makes the mechanically-identical Ford Escort the more appealing car.
Mercury Tracer years
1997

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Tracer is the slow-selling Mercury counterpart to the Ford Escort. Available only as a sedan or a station wagon, the Tracer is a reliable but dated compact. Newer sedans from Dodge, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet and Pontiac render the Tracer an engineering also ran, but it remains a solid value at $12,000. Additionally, it is one of very few compact wagons on the market, and the speedy LTS sedan is a well-kept performance secret.

An 88-horsepower four cylinder powers the base sedan and wagon. For 1996, the 1.9-liter base motor goes 100,000 miles before a tune-up. LTS sedans get a twin-cam, 1.8-liter Mazda motor good for 127 horsepower, along with stiffer suspension settings and added trim and equipment. The LTS is a worthy competitor for newer cars offered by other manufacturers, but the base Tracer should be considered only against other bargain basement vehicles such as the Hyundai Accent or Geo Metro LSi.

The base engine is rough and noisy, offering passable acceleration. Off-the-line response has been improved this year on Tracers with automatic transmissions by revising final drive ratios. The LTS sedan is fun-to-drive. All Tracers have dual airbags and score well in crash tests. Anti-lock brakes are optional only on the sporty LTS.

New last year was a limited-edition Trio package that included alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a spoiler on sedans. This year, buyers can get a Trio in any of Tracer's exterior colors. Also added during 1995 was an integrated child seat. It continues for 1996.

If you're looking for a sprightly, high-revving, family funster, the Tracer LTS is worth a look. If you're looking for basic transportation, shop the Ford dealer and choose a slightly less expensive Escort LX sedan or wagon. Better yet, drop by the local Chevy store and see what a value the new Cavalier is.

1997 Highlights

The Mercury Tracer is totally redesigned this year with enhancements across the board. The most noticeable improvements are in the powertrain and in the ride quality. New sheet metal gives the Tracer a rounder, more aerodynamic appearance as well. The speedy LTS sedan is discontinued.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Mercury Tracer.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Look somewhere else
MF,09/26/2003
Had 1997 Tracer for six years, OK car first 3-4 yrs, then bent a rod at 110k miles, dealer estimated cost to repair at $5000+, said if it was not rod then was a damaged crankshft as that was also a common problem of these cars. Car was babied for all six years, oil change every 3000 miles etc, last three years had to put $900+ into repairs. If shopping for used economy car with 60,000 miles then stay away from the Tracer. it is not a reliable car.
Dull design - but VERY reliable
Steven,07/23/2009
bought the car for $2000 and had no problems other than recently in 2008 the rear springs/ shocks have all but given out forcing me to get a new car. it also idles hard with shaking and does not have any passing speed on highway, even with oil/filter/air changes ever 2000 miles, and new spark plugs, cables. paint was pealing off when purchased but has not gotten any worse since. never had a problem starting up in the dead of winter even after sitting around for about a month without a engin turnover. a bit dull on the overall design.
great car for the money
rob,10/22/2009
I've had this car for the past 12 years, bought it new. Great little car, very reliable, fantastic gas mileage. This little 4 banger is quick, fun to drive with a manual transmission. I routinely average high 30 MPG range, close to 40 on the highway. GREAT Car, had to replace clutch and alternator twice, but otherwise a great little car
Great
Great Little Car,04/14/2010
I bought this car from a family member and I love it. I replaced the Transmission filter a couple months ago and never had a problem with it since. I drive it everyday and it is awesome. It is my 3rd car and I would buy another one if they still made them.
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Features & Specs

MPG
24 city / 34 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
110 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
24 city / 34 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
110 hp @ 5000 rpm
See all Used 1997 Mercury Tracer Sedan features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
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
    Acceptable

More about the 1997 Mercury Tracer
Used 1997 Mercury Tracer Sedan Overview

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Find a used Mercury Tracer for sale - 11 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $13,159.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Mercury Tracer?

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.

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