Family Car Review:
Mercury is a hallowed name in the American automotive universe. The
brand still occupies its original role between an everyday Ford and a
luxury Lincoln. However, that space has narrowed as lesser Lincolns and
fancier Fords crowd the brand out. Sales have been less than spectacular
in recent years too.
The first Sable, when
it arrived in 1985 as an upscale partner to the original Ford Taurus,
was a great success. Ford hit the bullís eye with this new size and type
of family sedan. But, like everything else, time moved along and after
the controversially styled 1996 products debuted, sales began to slide.
Ford Motor Company
experimented in 2005 by replacing the Sable with the Montego, a name
taken from a popular mid sized model from the 1970s, but in a stunning
reversal, killed the name and restored Sable for 2008. So, is the Sable
just a slightly revised Montego? Not really.
Sure, the í08 does have
the same body panels, but the lights at both ends are much more
elaborate, with jewelry galore. The crystal taillamps have multiple
sections beneath the cover, and look mostly white. The now signature
Mercury satin-finish waterfall grille borrows from the other Mercurys
such as the smaller Milan and Mariner SUV. But it doesnít look that
different from the Montego.
Under the hood, itís a
different matter. The Sableís Duratec 3.5-liter V6 boasts nearly 30
percent more horsepower, now 263, than the Montegoís 3.0-liter engine.
Mercuryís engineers tweaked the suspension and power steering systems
for a sportier ride and sharper turning and mated a six-speed automatic
to the new engine.
You can order all-wheel
drive in the Sable for $1,850 if youíve a mind to. My tester had
front-wheel drive, which delivered slightly better fuel economy but
lacked the benefit of extra traction in rain, snow and other
Despite the power and
handling improvement, fuel mileage actually improved by about 10
percent. The ratings now are 18 City, 28 Highway. I averaged 17.0 mpg in
my Merlot Clearcoat Metallic tester.
The EPA Green Vehicle
Guide awards the Sable an excellent Air Pollution score of 9.5 out of
10. The Greenhouse Gas scores are 6 for the front-wheel-drive version
and 5 for the all-wheel-drive model.
Sable interiors wear
fake wood in the Guitar Maple or San Macassar patterns or a pseudo
carbon fiber called Cyber Carbon. The leather seats, standard in the
upper level Premier model, feature attractive two-tone hides with cross
stitching. Base cars settle for a new graphic pattern cloth. The
instrument panel is carefully detailed to differentiate it from Fords.
The steering wheel wears metallic spokes that share the brandís satin
The Sable received a
new sound package that gives it a hushed, luxury car ambiance. Material
was added to the windshield pillars, doors, and headliner as part of the
upgrade. Itís definitely quiet in there.
Thatís a good thing
when you want to listen to music or have a phone conversation. With the
Mercury Sync system, you can connect your iPod and your
Bluetooth-enabled phone directly to the car and issue commands to them
with your voice. How Star Trek!
My phone isnít
Bluetooth enabled, but I played around with my iPod a bit. I plugged it
in to the USB port in the car, just like a computer at home, and SYNC
accessed most (but not all) of the songs from its 8 MB of memory. Then I
tried using voice commands to play them.
I was not always
successful. I asked for Beatles and got Eagles. It sometimes took two
tries to get the correct song. When I requested an artist, the system
played a nice shuffle of all the songs on the iPod from various albums
by that artist. However, when I turned the car off and came back later,
it played only from the CD from which the song originated, a flaw.
Overall, SYNC took a lot or careful attention and was frustrating at
times, but it is the wave of the future. Version 2.0 should be better.
The Insurance Institute
for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Sable its Top Safety Pick for
large family cars. The Sable received five stars, the highest rating in
government crash tests. Plenty of airbags and a dished steering wheel
protect occupants if a crash occurs.
My Sable Premier
started at $27,330 and with several options and shipping came to
$31,455. The base car starts at $23,935 plus shipping ($750 at the
The Chicago built Sable
has what it needs to do well in the mid sized car market. If you really
need a roomy family-size car it offers a uniquely American flair.
By Steve Schaefer ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Byline: Family Car
Review provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Mercury Home Page
Column Name: The Sable
has what it needs for the mid sized car market
Topic: The 2008 Mercury
Word Count: 857
Photo Caption: The 2008
Photo Credits: Mercury
Sable Internet Media
Series #: 2008 - 58
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2008 Mercury Sable
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2008 Mercury Sable