2005 Mercury Grand Marquis GS 4.6L V8 from North America
Don't listen to the automotive press, read this instead
Driver's power window at 58,500 miles. Covered under my extended warranty.
I have always been into big American cars. The virtues I like in a car are the ones everyone says are bad (soft suspension, bench seats, full frame). The Grand Marquis has all these things, which has a lot to do with why I purchased it.
I don't understand the general fascination with bucket seats and go kart handling to quote one major magazine. If you want super stiff handling, buy a sports car or a BMW. But as a daily driver, you are commuting in highway or local traffic. I drive a total of 50 miles a day commuting to and from work, and what I want is a car which keeps me comfortable. Safety is important to me; aside from that, I could care less about handling. I don't drive my car through the slalom, and honestly most ordinary drivers don't either.
Aside from one car my dad gave me (an awesome 96 Saturn coupe with a 5 speed stick, which I drove past 200k), all my cars have had bench seats. The elite automotive press has drilled into the public mindset that a front bench is ridiculous, it's for old people, it's not sporty, and it "doesn't hold you in fast cornering". Why are you cornering fast in a family sedan on public streets? I'm a big guy, and I like the extra hip room bench seats give me. They give me room to stretch out and make the interior feel much bigger (oops I forgot, big cars are bad too. Oh, except when they're SUVs). And even ten years ago, when I wasn't such a big guy, I still preferred them. Of course there is the added benefit of squeezing a sixth person into the car when absolutely necessary, though they better be small with the transmission hump in the way.
The automotive press and the public at large, their fascination with overhyped Japanese imports, and the belief that anything on wheels must be "sporty" have killed this once common American feature. What's wrong with having some utility in cars? The fact that as of 2013 you won't even be able to buy one any more is ridiculous.
The V8 makes more than enough power for my driving needs, which consist of both city and highway driving. Yeah yeah, modern V6s make more power. I know. But a few short years ago, 200 horsepower in a family sedan was considered plenty. Perhaps one of the reasons today's compact cars get worse fuel economy than Chrysler's K cars of the 80s is because everyone wants 200 hp in a compact. My car makes enough power for a daily driver. The numbers don't always tell the drivability story.
The body on frame construction makes for cheap body repairs when compared to a unibody vehicle. Body panels bolt on and off. Since almost every police department and most taxi fleets use the Crown Vic, parts for the Grand Marquis are plentiful. Lots of parts + less labor = less money out of my pocket if I need body work. And credit the Crown Vic's popularity for mechanical parts being inexpensive too. Also worth mentioning - the car is cheap to insure, and since depreciation stinks, I got it for a steal. Owning one of these "dinosaurs" makes good financial sense.
Is the car perfect? No. The trunk creaks when I open or shut the lid, no matter how many times I oil the hinges. The gas pedal is too far left, which makes my right leg uncomfortable occasionally. I do plan on seeing if I can rig the pedal so it's farther right as this does get annoying (I docked comfort points for this issue). The car has cruise control, but there's no light on the dash telling you it's on. The leather on the driver's seat is worn where the seatbelt comes out. While the car rides softer than most of what's being offered out there today, to be honest I expected it to be softer than it is. The cup holders stink. However I can live with these issues, and they don't detract from my satisfaction with the car.
Now granted I have only owned the car for three months, and I plan to leave comments in the future regarding how the car is holding up. But so far, I am very, very satisfied with this Marquis. I'm in my early 30s, and while my 26 year old wife initially poked fun at me for buying an "old man's" car, she changed her mind about it after her first drive. Huge trunk, lots of room, comfortable interior, controls are well laid out. I can carry more people than many SUVs in a more attractive vehicle. Gets the same fuel economy as my V6 LeSabre. And considering the abuse and miles these cars take from police officers and cab drivers, I think I'm in this car for the long haul.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th June, 2012
The automotive media primarily consists of car enthusiasts who like sporty cars, and are selling magazines to like-minded people. They represent the enthusiast community, not the ordinary folks who need practical "boring" cars for everyday use. They also hated the Chevy Cavalier, which still managed to sell very well. They hated how cheap and old-fashioned it was. However, for students and budget-minded commuters, it was a useful car.
The automotive media is obsessed with BMW's, which are expensive to own and maintain, are not suitable for high-school students, and are unnecessary for old ladies going grocery shopping and to church once a week, or people on a budget needing inexpensive, practical, reliable transportation. The car magazines are aimed at a certain mindset.