This is the poster of the review of this Mercury Sable. A couple of weeks ago, while I was asleep, my brother was driving my car. There was a rather violent encounter with an Accord being driven approx. 65 MPH. Needless to say, my Sable didn't fare too well, and it is now fully inoperable. Goodbye, my friend...
Would like to add that the compressor noise is common on these (Our Taurus and Windstar, both with the 3.0L, did the same thing). Not sure yet about the cost of replacement, as we haven't had to replace yet.
I have the belt squeak that drives me crazy, but with that being the worst for $6000 for a nice vehicle with 51,000 miles, I feel lucky.
Sables are pretty good cars from my experience. Though I think the 2000+ generation is much more reliable than the previous ones. What I find strange is that you say that the tires and the fuel filter are "rare"... highly unlikely, since you see Sables and Tauruses on almost every block... and considering that I have had the tires changed on my Sable, and their price was in line with all other tires... I bet the Sable really messed up the Accord... unless the Sable was broadsided.
Also... Mercury is one of the most reliable American brands (In fact, I remember seeing a chart where Mercury was only behind Lexus in reliability)... so if you want a Ford Taurus, it is probably better to get the Mercury version, since quality control seems to be better.
I remember seeing the same same chart last year. They just averaged together all vehicles for each brand. Mercury benefited from not having any versions of the less reliable products that are in the Ford line-up. I don't think a Ford Taurus is any less reliable than a Mercury Sable. But there may be some difference that maybe Mercury owners are a little more affluent and maintain their vehicles better? Don't know.
I've had my Sable for 6 years now. 185k miles on it. I've only had to change the alternator and the A/C compressor. However, I've changed that compressor twice and I hear it rattling again, which means it's on its way out once again.
Still not bad for almost 200k miles. Good car. It hasn't left me stranded once.