2002 Mercury Grand Marquis GS 4.6L V8 from North America
A surprisingly good car!
The only issue I've had with the car is the volume control on the factory radio would increase the volume, even when turning volume counter clockwise. A friend of mine fixed this using contact cleaner on the internal volume switch. Works like a champ now.
Routine oil changes and tire rotations. No mechanical failures whatsoever.
Well what can I say, this is without doubt the most trouble free car I have ever owned. My last car was a Volvo S80, which I loved dearly, but in the end, had to let go due to re-occurring problems with the drive train and air conditioning.
My job requires vast amounts of highway driving. My Volvo was a great highway drive, and handled very well. When the time came to replace it, I was in the market for a long distance driver that was roomy and reliable. After many many hours of reading used car reviews, my choice was severely limited. One quiet afternoon, I was with a friend and explained my quest to find a comfortable highway car. He tossed me his keys to his 01 Grand Marquis, and told me to go out for an hour. I must confess I was not at all excited at the prospect of driving this car, and had almost a hatred for it before I even drove it. Boy, did I soon change my mind! So much so, I drove to my local Lincoln dealership and found an insanely great deal on a 2002 Grand Marquis GS.
The Grand Marquis is a dated, basic car that on paper, sounds incredibly boring and unappealing. Drive one however, and you will find it to be probably one of the most overlooked cars on the road. This car is big, but after a few miles of driving, feels like a typical mid sized car. The seats are like sitting on a finely appointed living room couch. The visibility in this car is superb, with very few blind spots.
The car retains a traditional column mounted shifter, which frees up the space where you would normally find a center console. This on long distance trips has its advantages, as you don't feel cramped, especially if you're over 6ft tall like me. The interior is much like one would expect of a domestic car; lots of plastic and not much imagination in the dashboard department. I did notice that after a while, you begin to appreciate the simplicity of the controls and lack of over-complication.
The air conditioning in this car is probably the best I have ever experienced in any car I have ever driven. I live in Florida, and even on the hottest days, I find myself turning it down, because it will freeze you out.
The trunk is HUGE! 21 cubic feet according to the owners manual. I was surprised to find a full size spare wheel/tire instead of the usual doughnut sized.
My vehicle is considered the basic model, but still came with remote locks and keypad on drivers door, power windows/mirrors, cruise, ABS, traction control, premium audio (which sounds great for factory), fancy chrome wheel covers and auto-lamps.
I guess two things that really annoy me about the interior of this car are the design of the cup holders, which block adjustment of the A/C controls, and for such a large car, the rear seat legroom is a joke. When carrying passengers, I have to adjust my seat, making my driving position uncomfortable. This however is a minor inconvenience.
It's highway driving where this car reigns supreme. If I could sum up how comfortable this car is on long driving into one word, it would be 'effortless'. I can drive for hours and not feel the slightest bit fatigued. The road/wind noise is very minimal. The 4.6L is smooth, but delivers a punch when you need it.
The MPG in this car had me questioning my own mathematical skills. I consistently found this car achieved better MPG than the EPA rated it on highway driving. I averaged about 27MPG on long distance drives. From a V8, this is better than good.
I have put 32,000 miles on this car, and not had a single problem. Despite its mileage, this car feels new, and I feel with care, it has many more years of life left.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd June, 2012
Has the plastic intake-manifold been replaced in the past? If not, make sure the replacement part has the aluminum cross-over.
Aside from that, enjoy the ride :)
I agree with you that the column mounted shifter is one of the many things that I miss dearly about traditional American big cars. I now have a Buick Enclave, because they basically don't make any new cars that retain anything that I find appealing in a car. I don't mind the floor mounted shifter in the Enclave, because it is so big I can't hardly reach the glove compartment from the driver's seat, so it doesn't feel cramped like in a modern car. I do still find myself reaching up for the column though; wishful thinking and years of learned behavior I guess.
The plastic intake problem was corrected for the 2002 and beyond Panther body cars.
I could not agree more about the column-mounted shifter! It is just crazy to put it between the seats, where it eats up room and serves no conceivable purpose.
All the innovation of the last 20+ years has only made cars worse - more expensive, more complicated and thus prone to expensive breakdowns, and smaller, light, less safe, less comfortable, and less convenient.
Finally, there is something satisfying about driving around in a large, solid, simple, and robust vehicle - something few today know.
Now that the auto manufacturer's can push cars like the Toyota Prius for close to $30K, they have no incentive for making big cars. Back in the 60s and 70s, when the automakers profited more from a large car, they preferred to build them; now they lose money on big cars, thus they don't make them anymore. It's sad what people are willing to pay for modern cars. In comparison, a full-sized Buick or Olds from the mid 70s would probably cost $30K or less inflation adjusted. Today you would be lucky to get a mid-size (compact 10 years ago) for that price range, and there are a lot of compacts in that range as well. Most of these cars are not worth much more than $20K. Thanks UAW.
I'm 23 and own a pristine '98 Crown Vic. I love having a column shifter. It looks so much better and classy. Console shifters are a useless waste of space, and look like some ugly growth coming out of the console. I am proud Mercedes started offering them on the current S-class since it was redesigned for the 2006 model year. And of course, the 2010- present E class.