- The Washington Times - Friday, December 31, 1999

MODEL: Mercury Grand Marquis LS
VEHICLE TYPE: Four-door sedan
PRICE-AS-TESTED: $28,970
MILEAGE: 17 city, 24 highway

The 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis is a keeper. This sedan, introduced more than 20 years ago, hasn't changed much through the years, nor should it.
In an age when cars are being built on firmer suspensions with compact interiors, it felt good to drive the Grand Marquis. It has plenty of interior roominess and a trunk capable of hauling a kitchen sink.
I haven't seen a trunk this large in a long time. Instead of the spare tire being stored under the floor, which is the customary location, the Grand Marquis' spare is up on a shelf in an area that is somewhat useless because it is hard to reach. The shelf is a good place to put the spare; besides, changing flats is a rare event these days anyhow. The low-liftover, carpeted storage space is a deep well that is easily accessible and able to accommodate large items.
Another improvement in the trunk this year is an emergency trunk release that has a glow-in-the-dark release handle. A child or adult trapped in the trunk can open the trunk from the inside.
This full-size sedan should appeal to traditional big-car buyers. Yet it is a car with multiple purposes; it is suitable for the country club set or hauling youngsters to the Little League games. If equipped with the optional leather seat covers, it is easy to wipe the soil from muddy feet. The LS model has a base price of $24,315. It accommodates six passengers by simply raising the armrest, which converts the front seat into a bench seat.
When the Marquis was first introduced, it had the conventional hard-edge body style, typical of cars of the later '70s. Through the years, it has undergone gradual change and improvements with such features as nitrogen gas-pressured shocks and load-leveling suspension. In 1983, Marquis got the appendage of the word Grand, and the big 5-liter engine was added. A few years later, 16-inch tires with steel wheels replaced the 15-inch tires.
In 1992, the car had a major overhaul. A 4.6-liter V-8 was adopted, speed-sensitive variable-assist steering became standard equipment and anti-lock brakes were added. But the big change was smooth aerodynamic body style. Six years later, there were more style changes in the front and rear, all-season tires became standard, and the rear suspension was tuned with what Mercury called Precision Trac, which enables the car to do what the name implies.
The Grand Marquis is an ideal vehicle for a long journey where many miles of highway driving are encountered. It's the type of car that allows passengers to feel refreshed when they get to their destination. Considering the size of this car, highway mileage isn't too hard to take either: 24 mpg.
The downside is maneuvering in city traffic and getting into a tight parking space at a shopping center. The reason: it's a big car, has a longer wheelbase and requires more room to make a curb-to-curb turn. But these are the sacrifices one makes for limousinelike ride comfort.
Where there is no sacrifice is in the interior. My tester came with the optional Ultimate Package that included premium electronic AM/FM stereo cassette plus Radio Data System. RDS is great for long-distance travel as it allows selections of preferred types of stations.
The Ultimate Package also included anti-lock brakes with all-speed traction assist. Surprisingly, these are options and not standard equipment. Nevertheless, as the flagship of the Mercury fleet, the 2000 Grand Marquis is loaded with all the traditional appeal of a full-size car.

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