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1998 Mercury Mountaineer Review
A luxury SUV for the unbeaten trail.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 1998 Mercury Mountaineer is a midsize Sports Utility Vehicle or SUV sold by Ford Motor Company under its Mercury brand. The vehicle was launched the previous year with most of its features borrowed from the now-discontinued Ford Explorer. In fact, both SUVs were almost identical mechanically, although the Mountaineer had a more upscale exterior design. The Mountaineer is popular mostly because of its excellent stability and handling, although there was some controversy after a large number of rollovers were reported regarding Mountaineers with Firestone tires.
Engines: 4.0-liter V-6, 5.0-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic
Models: Mercury Mountaineer
The 1998 Mercury Mountaineer was just launched last year, and its second model year sees some minor tweaks in terms of front and rear styling. The front fascia was flipped upside down, while the headlights were made smaller. The SUV also received a new rear hatch and unique wheels. All these changes were made to distinguish the 1998 Mercury Mountaineer from the Ford Explorer. The 1998 Mercury Mountaineer also has a new model with full-time four-wheel drive and a SOHC V-6 engine with a new five-speed transmission.
The 1998 Mercury Mountaineer has similar dimensions to those of the Ford Explorer, with a wheelbase of 111.6 inches and overall length of 190.1 inches. It has a width of 70.2 inches and a height of 70.5 inches for the two-wheel drive and 70.3 inches for the four-wheel drive version. The exterior of the 1998 Mercury Mountaineer is distinct from the Explorer with its grille and rear fascia, but the similarities are still quite noticeable. Overall, the exterior has a flashy exterior appearance that may appeal to some.
Inside, the 1998 Mercury Mountaineer is quite spacious, even more so than the Jeep Grand Cherokee, GMC Jimmy, and Chevrolet Blazer. Four adults can sit very comfortably inside, and the SUV can also accommodate three people, albeit for short distances. Most of the switchgear in the SUV is easy to reach, but the climate controls are disappointingly placed too low on the dashboard for easy access. Visibility is good all-around with the deep side and rear windows as well as the well-placed outside rearview mirrors.
Performance & Handling
The 1998 Mercury Mountaineer comes with a five-liter V-8 engine and four-speed automatic transmission. The engine delivers 210 horsepower and 288 lb-ft of torque. The new engine this year is an overhead-cam four-liter V-6 engine that delivers 205 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. This engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Like the Explorer, the 1998 Mercury Mountaineer delivers the best performance with its V-8 engine. The permanent four-wheel-drive system is quite handy and works perfectly well. This system gives the SUV good traction when required without having to stress the driver. The new V-6 engine cannot match the raw power of the V-8 engine, but its five-speed automatic transmission helps a lot in keeping the engine within its power band. The Control Trac 4WD system offered with the 1998 Mercury Mountaineer is quite convenient, even more so than similar systems offered by the SUV’s competitors. The ride quality is usually calm, but it does get a bit too bouncy and truck-like than the Mountaineer’s rivals. There is road and wind noise at highway speeds, but the level of noise is tolerable.
The 1998 Mercury Mountaineer has safety features like fog lamps, anti-lock brakes, and dual airbags. An integrated child-safety seat is also available at the rear, but the SUV must be ordered with leather upholstery before this feature is offered. The SUV received a good four out of five stars in terms of driver and passenger safety during frontal impact tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the NHTSA.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Powerful acceleration
- Lots of room inside
- Good visibility
- Lots of safety features
You Won't Like
- Poor fuel economy
- Poor ride quality
A luxury SUV for the unbeaten trail.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Dodge Durango
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
- GMC Jimmy
- Chevrolet Blazer