Used 1997 Mercury Tracer Wagon

1997 Mercury Tracer
List price range
1997 Mercury Tracer


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


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

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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

The Epitome of Economical
I bought the car 11yrs. old with 34k miles. As of 7/10/08 the car has 48k miles. It's been an ideal car for me. I work in town, but commute an hour away for college. The car has been very reliable and economical. Maintenance is cheap. It sips fuel. The wagon body style has come in useful on many occasions. The car seems very well built for just being a cheap economy car. The interior is comfortable. It drives pretty nicely. Great brakes. Great steering. Very smooth, yet stable ride. The seats are firm, but seem good for my bad back. For the low initial price and dependable, affordable service that follows, this is a great choice in used economy cars of this age.
Good car
I have had this car for nine years. Bought it used. It now has over 208,000 miles. Over the years it has required basic wear and tear maintenance. What a miracle of a car!
love my wagon!
We've owned this car for 5 years & the only extra money that we've put out is for new tires & brake service. That's gotta be good enough to satisfy anybody. Back in '97 I thought about getting an import & Ford updated the Escort/Tracer just in time to get my attention. I'm happy with my little wagon & intend to keep it for a long time!
Lots of Gusto for an econ
I bought this car at 98k to go to work and back, weekend work and just kicking around town. It now has 107k & I love it. For a small economy car I'm surprised at it's get up and go power, handling, and comfort. The styling is nice too. The car I have has everything you would want in a car today. Airbags, ABS, A/C, power everything & alloy wheels The model I'm driving is a stick which I don't mind but I'd rather be in an automatic but what do you want for under $2,000. (It's a 97 bought in 02. NOT BAD JACK!!) Only thing I'v had to do w/ this thing is a tune-up and oil changes. (Knock on wood)
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Features & Specs

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


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

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

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Find a used Mercury Tracer for sale - 3 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $14,003.

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Find a used certified pre-owned Mercury for sale - 10 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $10,980.

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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.

Check out Mercury lease specials
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