Mercury Villager Origins
The Mercury Villager was created from scratch, similar to its now-defunct cousin, the Ford Edsel. Mercury was a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company until 1945, after which it merged with Lincoln to form the Lincoln-Mercury Division. In 1958, the Lincoln-Mercury joined hands with the Edsel, and this alliance was rechristened the Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln division. However, with the demise of the Edsel in 1960, the original Lincoln-Mercury division was reinstated and remained ever since.
During the late-1950s and 1960s, most of Mercury's vehicles looked like spiffed-up Fords or toned-down Lincolns. In the early-1970s, the brand detached itself from Ford and designed cars like the Cougar, Marquis, and Park Lane. By the end of the 1970s and throughout the 1980s, the company again joined hands with Ford.
The Mercury Villager was introduced in 1993. The minivan was Ford’s first answer to the Aerostar, a groundbreaking front-wheel drive truck-based minivan by Chrysler. Though initially successful, the Villager’s popularity dipped as growing numbers of modern minivans invaded the market. Ford tried to resurrect the Villager by modifying the design. The new version was manufactured as a result of a joint venture between Ford and Nissan. It intended to narrow the gap between the former’s aging rear drive and the forthcoming and freshly-engineered Windstar. About the Mercury Villager
In an era when most minivans had detachable rear seats that were extremely cumbersome to handle, the Mercury Villager was renowned for its special rearmost seat. The seat could be easily shunted forward on an integrated track for accommodating five passengers. The Villager also offered a spacious luggage area at the back. Mercury Villager Features
The Mercury Villager second-generation version was released and re-released between 1999 and 2002 and was subject to a few changes from earlier models. The minivan was similar with regard to the appearance and size of its predecessor, but its compromised utility and the lack of refinement led it to eventually lose out to its competitors.
The 1999-2002 Villager had a 3.3-liter V-6 engine that generated 170 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. Handling and ride quality were improved from its earlier versions, as were the interior ergonomics. The minivan was available in three versions: Base, Sport, and the luxurious Estate. It also had a second manually sliding door on the driver’s side. The car’s earlier Nautica variant was phased out during this period.
The Villager also offered good fuel economy rates. The EPA pegged it at 17/24 mpg city/highway. The 2000 version of the car met the low-emission vehicle standards and a four-speed automatic overdrive transmission powered the front wheels. Changes in steering, suspension, and the braking system added to the power of the vehicle and made it feel more like a car while driving.
While in production, the Mercury Villager had a few minor rearrangements and additions to the equipment list. The most notable update took place in 2001, when both the interiors and exteriors were spruced up. Mercury Villager Evolution
The first generation of the Mercury Villager was unveiled for the first time in 1993 and had a six-year run till 1998. The vehicle was capable of accommodating seven people, with a generous middle row bench being made available. Alternatively, one could also opt for the quad captain’s chair. The minivan was initially offered in the LS and GS trim variants, and the latter Mercury Nautica version became popular. Despite the body style, the 3.0-liter V-6 engine generated a mere 151 hp, which was inadequate compared to the power offered by the car’s rivals, thereby affecting the car’s sales. In fact, sales started dipping as the years went by and in a desperate attempt to bring the Mercury Villager up to par with its peers, a fresh exterior styling was appended to the vehicle. It was also equipped with an updated dashboard and passenger-side airbags. Other options made available in the updated model were an integrated child seat and automatic climate control. In 1997, passenger convenience and comfort were further enhanced with the rear climate and radio controls. Despite the frequent modifications and the comfortable interior, the Mercury Villager continued to lose out to other worthy alternatives.
Sharing the same engine and underpinnings with its platform-mate Nissan, the Mercury Villager differed mostly in the interior and exterior styling details. These included Mercury’s trademark light-bar grille as seen in the various early models. The minivan was available in three variants. Though the best-selling Nautica Special Edition helped Mercury achieve some brand recognition for the vehicle, it was never a worthy competitor to its rivals.