$29,150 – $35,500 MSRP
$26,624 – $32,275 Invoice
14 / 20 MPG City/Hwy
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The 2006 Mercury Mountaineer, sister SUV to the Ford Explorer, receives many changes, including a new front fascia, a more powerful V-8 engine, an entirely new interior, improvements in ride and handling, available power-retractable running boards, and a stronger frame. It also receives a gift from the Ford Expedition, the availability of power-folding third-row seats that drop into the floor and disappear to provide extra cargo room and a flat load area.
Although the Ford Explorer remains one of the top-selling midsize SUVs, a particular set of buyers will opt for the Mountaineer, as it delivers all the features of the Explorer as well as a bit more exclusivity in the segment. The Mountaineer remains a body-on-frame design, but is able to deliver more car-like ride and handling benefits because of its rear independent suspension layout. Satin aluminum trim inside and out continue to be the focus of the Mercury brand, and it is apparent throughout this SUV. Clear taillamps for a more modern look and available 18-inch aluminum wheels complete the bold exterior appearance.
Under the hood is either the carryover V-6 powerplant or the new 4.6L V-8, good for 292 hp and 300 lb.-ft. of torque. The V-8 is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that helps with performance and fuel economy. There's also a choice of a two-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive setup. All-wheel drive optimizes grip automatically in inclement weather or in poor road conditions. Three trim levels-Convenience, Luxury, and Premier- all feature a redesigned interior that includes leather seats, a cleanly styled instrument panel, and a new transmission shift-lever design. A long list of available features includes a rear-seat entertainment system, audiophile sound system, power-adjustable pedals, and dual-zone automatic climate controls.
When it comes to safety, the Mountaineer shares the Explorer's quadruple five-star rating for frontal and side impact from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Safety features include the "Safety Canopy" side curtain air bag system and AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, which automatically applies the brakes and reduces engine torque to help maintain vehicle control in the event of wheel slippage due to foul-weather or poor road conditions.
The Mountaineer competes in the Midsize Utility segment against 19 other models. High fuel prices helped this segment take market share away from its larger full-size brethren in 2005, but the smaller crossover utility segment promises to give it a run for the money. Still, the room and power capabilities of the Midsize Utility segment make it a good compromise between its compact and full-size counterparts.
For calendar year 2005, Chevrolet sold 244,150 TrailBlazers (including the EXT model) to lead the segment and just edge out the Ford Explorer (241,849 units in 2005), according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report.SM The Jeep Grand Cherokee was a solid third (213,584 units in 2005). The Mercury Mountaineer sold 32,491 units during 2005, ranking 13th on the sales chart. Other high-volume models in the segment include the Honda Pilot, Dodge Durango, Toyota 4Runner, Nissan Pathfinder, and GMC Envoy/XL.
|Convenience V6 (100A)||5 speed automatic||$29,150||210-hp / 4.0L 6-cyl||15/21|
|Luxury V6 (110A)||5 speed automatic||$31,150||210-hp / 4.0L 6-cyl||15/21|
|Premier V8 (125A)||6 speed automatic||$33,300||292-hp / 4.6L 8-cyl||15/21|
$24,530–$31,860 Base MSRP
18/24 MPG City/Hwy
$33,030–$39,290 Base MSRP
31/27 MPG City/Hwy
$30,580–$32,580 Base MSRP
15/20 MPG City/Hwy
$27,635–$38,385 Base MSRP
16/19 MPG City/Hwy