Do you remember the Mercury Grand Marquis, the distinguished sibling of the iconic Ford Crown Vic? This midsize sedan was the final model Mercury produced in 2011 before dying.
But the Grand Marquis has resurfaced in a recent Forbes roundup of the best used cars under $5,000. What happened to the Grand Marquis? And why did Forbes include it on its list?
What happened to the Mercury Grand Marquis?
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The Grand Marquis ended when Mercury shut down. The Ford-owned brand ended in the last quarter of 2010 after a 70-year run.
Originally intended as a premium brand, Mercury couldn’t compete in sales or popularity with its Ford-branded siblings in its later years. Eventually, even loyal Mercury owners began defecting to Ford vehicles. In the years before it was discontinued, Mercury saw sales of various models remain stagnant or fall.
At the end of 2010, the Ford Motor Company decided to kill Mercury to focus on its primary brand and luxury offshoot, Lincoln.
Still, the Grand Marquis enjoyed a long run; after all, it had debuted in 1975. During that time, it saw numerous appearance changes and as many updates. For over three decades, it endured with its old-school charm.
The 1996-2011 Mercury Grand Marquis gets Forbes’ approval
Recently, Forbes put together a list of the best used cars you can get in 2021 for under $5,000. As the publication points out, you can’t get anything recent for that money. So, the roundup includes older vehicles that are reliable, fun to drive, and offer great value.
Forbes chose vehicles newer than the 1996 model year for the list. The staff used expert opinion, owner feedback, reliability ratings, and transaction price averages to compile the list of 20 vehicles, including the 1996 to 2011 Mercury Grand Marquis.
Closely related to the Ford Crown Victoria and Lincoln Town Car, the Grand Marquis is big, sturdy, and almost ritzy. It was popular with older drivers, so Forbes reasons that many of those cars were probably well-kept.
The Grand Marquis doesn’t get the best gas mileage, but its maintenance costs are low. It’s also known for its comfort and reliability. Sure, it’s not the car you want for tackling winter weather, with its big V8 engine and rear-wheel drive. But it handles well and offers a smooth ride.
The 2011 model
The last Mercury Grand Marquis had an old-car feel, and it wasn’t the most practically-sized sedan. But its large stature was good for some things. It was wide enough that three people could sit comfortably in both the front and the back rows. There’s plenty of room in the trunk for cargo too.
With its body-on-frame chassis, the Grand Marquis is a true throwback. Yet, as Edmunds points out, it’s dependable, durable, and, best of all, simple. There’s a reason why so many police departments favored its use as a squad car.
But it also comes with drawbacks. Because of its truck-like construction, it doesn’t absorb road imperfections all that well. Steering is slow, and handling is on the clumsy side. Its big V8 produces 224 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. That may not sound like much, but would you really want to go a lot faster with less-than-confident handling?
The last Grand Marquis was considered antiquated in 2011. By today’s standards, it might seem positively ancient. But for less than $5,000, it could be a great daily driver. It also helped set the standard for today’s big, comfy performance sedans.
Mercury Grand Marquis
What a comfortable, smooth ride. The car is so trustworthy. I could not have bought a better car for $1,200. It is a 2000 model. I bought it in 2014 and it had 95,000 miles on it. In over five years I might have had $4,000 in repairs to the rear end, front end and the plastic cover on the motor. That sure beats $4,000 a year!!
The Grand Marquis is one of the safest and most comfortable cars ever made. It makes even a 6 hour trip a pleasure. Plenty of room to stretch out without hitting the person next to you. So quiet you can hear yourself talking to yourself.
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The Mercury Grand Marquis is very reliable, mid size and attractive. Fairly good gas mileage. Very comfortable for long trips. Nice leather seats. Sound speakers of good quality. Looks like a more expensive car. Large seating space. Less things to go wrong since it is outdated. Comfortable for traveling or short trips. The large trunk helps me transport lots of groceries or gardening supplies. Since it is an older model, it lacks modern things like GPS and track player is out of date. And the gas mileage could be better.
The 1992 Ford Grand Marquis has so very, very many different luxuries and extra things that the card has that I would never have thought until after owning the car and running out of gas on the side of the road not knowing that I needed to reset the fuel reset in the trunk and the electric Dash did not help with the gas gauge. I also dislike the headlight switch. It has a very, very big trunk and a sub with spare tire. Also very, very roomy and very, very, very much space for none needed material with an electric dashboard and electric seats.
I have a 2004 Grand Marquis that I bought in June 2013. Soon after I bought it my engine was overheating due to a cracked manifold that had to be replaced, which cost $1500. It's now Jan 2017, and I'm having to deal with either a gasket leak or a cracked manifold again. My car started hesitating and running very sluggish so I went to AutoZone and the code came back saying that it was either spark plugs or coil causing check engine light to come on. So, started replacing spark plugs and noticed one of the ports had oil in it, so now I know something else is wrong and take it in for repair. Gasket leaking antifreeze, Ignition coil #1, and oil filter housing has to be replaced. Total cost $1687.27.
I'm not happy after learning about crappy Ford parts. Ford is also selling ton of intake manifold on eBay to car repair shops. This will be the last time I buy a Ford. I don't feel like it is fair. I'm already dealing with this after 3 years, and I don't even put that many miles on the car. I only use it in town only. I hope Ford will compensate for this and turn unsatisfied Ford owners to a happy resolution.
2005 Mercury Grand Marquis Intake Manifold part is faulty due to substandard plastic piece. Caused a crack and it leaked engine coolant and then caused engine to overheat. Coils and plugs needed replacing. Ford tends to use Plastic when they should not. The Ford company needs to recall the intake manifold because of this faulty part. Cost of replacement of coils and intake manifold over $1,300. Now car is bucking again and other coils may need replacing because of this slow leak.
2004 Mercury Grand Marquis...I had my intake manifold crack and antifreeze got into the spark plugs, my son (a mechanic) replaced it with a non plastic one...no problems now... The temperature controlled air conditioning panel went out, it now will only blow hot air, no A/C. The headlights only work for a while. This is a recall that is being fixed soon. There is also a recall on the fuel filter that I will check on soon. Lastly, the catalytic converter going went out as well. I have done some research and have determined that the major issues reported with my vehicle is exhaust, air conditioning, intake manifold, and headlight issue, so it sounds pretty par to the course. Just FYI.
I purchased a 2003 Mercury Grand Marquis last year. It had 101,000 miles on it at the time. I have had two major issues with the car since I've had it. First, no air would blow out of the dashboard vents, it would only blow out the defrost and floor vents. The dealership wanted $800 to repair the issue. I did some research and was able to rebuild the unit easily by replacing the o-rings in the solenoids. Apparently, Ford used really cheap o-rings when designing these units. I was able to order to o-rings from Amazon and the total cost was $11. The repair took less than 45 minutes to complete.
Next, at approximately 102,500 miles, my wife and I noticed that when coming to a stop, we would see steam coming out from under the hood. Also, when the heat was on, there was a strong smell of antifreeze. That turned out to be a cracked intake manifold. Apparently, Ford originally used cheap plastic when making these parts. The replacement of the part cost over $1000 but fortunately for me, I purchased an extended warranty with the car so I only paid a $250 deductible.
Both of these issues are common problems with the Ford Panther platform (Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Town Car). The car itself is quite an awesome machine despite these two faults. I currently have 104,000 miles on the car and plan on keeping it for at least another 104,000 miles. It's a shame that "American" car manufacturers take shortcuts and make otherwise great vehicles have problems like this. I have also had two GM cars with head gasket issues due to the company knowingly using less than quality materials to make these parts. Anyway, I hope this helps with anyone having these issues.
Same thing here. Should be a recall. This is **. Look on eBay. They are selling thousands of intake manifolds.
In the last month my Mercury had a failure of the air conditioning control panel. Two weeks later, the valve control module (made of plastic) failed. The two repairs cost me over $2000. My 2007 Grand Marquis has about 61,000 miles. Seems a bit soon to be having two major components of my a/c system fail.
Heavyweight for a Requiem
Behind the Wheel | Mercury Grand Marquis
SOME people whine about the Automats’ closing over lunch at the Russian Tea Room. Others buy cheap lumber at Home Depot but get misty-eyed about how there are no more locally owned hardware stores. Who really ever shopped at Woolworth’s? But plenty of us say we miss it.
And a lot of us will pretend to miss the Mercury Grand Marquis when, any day now, the last new one is sold off some dealer’s lot.
The Grand Marquis is the last of its kind, a relic of a past not that long past. It’s the final full-size, full-frame, nonluxury American sedan with V-8 power, rear drive and a solid rear axle that is available for retail sale to the general public.
It’s the kind of car dad bought because his buddy at the Kiwanis Club owned the dealership and he didn’t want something flashy like a Lincoln. A car you could wear a hat in.
General Motors produced its last full-size, rear-drive, body-on-frame cars in 1996; Chrysler’s last sedan in this size class was the ’81 Newport. Since 2008, Ford has restricted sales of the rugged, industrial-grade Crown Victoria (identical to the Grand Marquis except for the trim) to taxi and police fleets. And the Lincoln Town Car a close cousin and workhorse of the livery industry aspires to a grandeur that’s beyond any Mercury. By the end of the 2011 model year, the Crown Vic and Town Car will be gone too.
Wallowing anachronism that it is, the Grand Ma has its charms. It has two bench seats big enough for six wide bottoms and a vast trunk that may well be able to hold enough tenor tubas for six pairs of lips. It rides as if the tires aren’t just smothering out the road’s divots, but giving each of them a somber, dignified burial.
For just over $30,000 the Grand Marquis buyer gets a car that’s 212 inches long and 78.3 inches wide; that’s nearly two feet longer and more than six inches wider than a Toyota Camry. It’s even 5.5 inches longer than the big Mercedes-Benz S550 that starts around $92,000.
But it’s not easy to get a new 2010 or 2011 Grand Marquis. Mercury dealers have been offering the car only by special order, and production for retail customers ceased in October. The few new Grand Marquis sedans that are left are anomalies: canceled orders or excess stock.
For the last two model years there was only one trim level, the LS, with a short list of options: chrome wheels, heated seats, adjustable pedals, a radio with a retro tape-cassette player, a leather-and-wood steering wheel and a “smoker’s package” (a lighter and an ashtray that fills up one of the cup holders). If you checked all the boxes the $30,685 base price would swell just to $32,295.
No, there wasn’t a “de Sade package.” (A worn-out joke? Yes for old times’ sake.)
If you want a sunroof, bring a can opener. Bluetooth? MP3? GPS? Those are technologies from a whole other century than the one for which the Grand Marquis was designed.
Since Ford isn’t keeping any Grand Marquis in its fleet of test cars, I rented one from Hertz at the Los Angeles airport. Rental prices vary insanely, sometimes within the space of a few hours or over the term of a single loan. My rate ran just $38 a day after a midloan renegotiation dropped the price down from more than $100 a day. Go figure.
With its bolt-upright cabin and long par-5 decklid, the Grand Marquis’s basic styling looked old even when it was new way back in 1992. And much of the car’s engineering dates back to the 1970s, not to mention a basic chassis design from 1965. Much of the car feels old. Opening the doors reveals power locks that operate with crude suddenness and black plastic handles that feel cheap to the touch. The doors shut with a hollow, metallic thud, but seal tightly. After two decades of production, Ford knows how to assemble the Grand Marquis, but sophistication isn’t part of the deal.
Inside, the front and rear bench seats are covered in leather so plasticized that you don’t recognize it as leather. The front bench is split with foldable armrests at the center, but it lacks any discernibly supportive shape. You don’t so much sit in this seat as slide in atop it and hope the seat belts keep you from skidding around. It’s impossible to find a comfortable conventional seating position.
The back seat, on the other hand, is so squishy-soft that you almost feel you’re drowning in it. The space for legs is ample, but the Grand Marquis doesn’t have the sort of rear stretch-out room you expect from a car so vast.
From his or her perch, the driver faces a simple instrument panel with a conventional circular speedometer and tachometer. In addition, there’s a supplementary digital speedometer that’s amazingly accurate Ford’s cop car heritage shining through. This is one of the few cars around that mounts the shifter for its automatic transmission on the steering column, and it actually works well. And the space it frees up between the front seats is significant.
There are seat-mounted side air bags for driver and front passenger, as well as the expected front bags. But curtain bags over the doors, to protect heads in a side impact, are not available.
The shifter is hooked up to a transmission with only 4 forward gears. (Most automatics now have 5, 6 or more.) And in turn, the transmission is bolted behind a 4.6-liter 2-valve single-overhead-cam engine that makes a pokey 224 horsepower. The engine’s initial response is strong, but it quickly runs out of breath and by 5,500 r.p.m. it’s exhausted. The transmission sort of slides at that point into the next gear and heaves a sigh of relief.
There’s a particular gear whine peculiar to Ford’s full-size cars that anyone who rides regularly in Crown Victoria taxis can recognize. But that whine doesn’t come after a couple hundred thousand miles of use; it was right there in the Grand Marquis rental car, which showed fewer than 1,000 miles on the odometer when I picked it up. That persistent groan from the rear end indicates just how little effort Ford has put into refining this car over the years.
In a recent test of a 2010 Grand Marquis, InsideLine.com clocked it accelerating from a standstill to 60 m.p.h. in a leisurely 9.3 seconds; it also plowed through a quarter-mile run in 16.8 seconds while reaching 83.9 mph. That’s the sort of struggling performance expected of a barebones economy car, not a big sedan that carries a modest E.P.A. fuel economy rating: 16 m.p.g. in the city and 24 m.p.g. on the highway.
That said, somewhere along its developmental journey the Grand Marquis picked up power rack-and-pinion steering that is shockingly sweet, with good on-center feel, precise calibration and good feedback. Of course the feedback from the front P225/60R17 Michelin all-season radials often indicates they are struggling to get some grip, but the driver cannot say he wasn’t informed of their desperation.
When pushed hard with the traction control switched off, the initial understeer will give way to a tail-wagging oversteer. But if you’re pushing a car that hard, it’s not likely to be this car.
With its antediluvian body-on-frame construction, sponge-cake suspension tuning and thick sound deadening, the Grand Marquis will float over an Interstate like a blimp. This is a car unconcerned with carving corners or blitzing across the autobahn. It’s built for people who have lived long enough to have already had all the drama they want in their lives. And there’s nothing this car does that other Ford products, like the Taurus, don’t do better.
A few more of the big Mercurys are being made in St. Thomas, Ontario, for fleet customers. After that, the Grand Marquis will be just another thing that’s not here anymore.
Nostalgia is, ultimately, a hard nut to crack. After all, the new Yankee Stadium is better than the old one in almost every way, and Shea Stadium was a pit before it was torn down. But Babe Ruth will never swing a bat in the new park and the Beatles will never rock Citi Field. And your dear departed grandfather will never drive a new Taurus.
INSIDE TRACK: You may miss it, but you didn’t really want it.
Marquis reviews grand
.2010 MERCURY GRAND MARQUIS LS LIMITED EDITION
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