Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Mercury Grand Marquis Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Mercury Grand Marquis Overview

Body
Last of the Rear-Wheel-Drive Family Sedans

There was a time in this country when large V8-powered rear-wheel drive sedans were the standard choice of Americans from California to Maine. Over time the gas crisis, coupled with an influx of high quality Japanese cars, spelled the death of the big American sedan. Like the Dinosaurs, the two-ton family haulers evolved into different species; the station wagon has become the full-sized SUV and the two-door sedans became smaller personal luxury coupes. One by one, names like the Chrysler New Yorker, Buick Electra and Olds 98 all fell by the wayside. But one name has remained, surviving against all odds with a strong and loyal customer base—the car is the Mercury Grand Marquis.

For 2003, the Grand Marquis gets a facelift that includes a larger front grille and headlamp treatment and revised trunk lid and taillight treatment. There are now four trim levels in the Grand Marquis line including the performance oriented LSE that includes a center-console-mounted shift lever and leather bucket seats. The other trims are the GS, LS Premium and LS Ultimate. Standard equipment on the base GS includes ABS, traction control, dual power heated side mirrors, remote decklid release, cruise control, power driver's seat, power door locks and power windows. LS models add leather seating, 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, steering-wheel-mounted redundant audio controls and upgraded audio.

The Grand Marquis is still a big car, though its suspension, engine and interior have benefited from newer technology, it can still seat 6 persons in comfort, haul boatloads of luggage in its cavernous trunk and accelerate faster than most SUVs and V6 sedans. Though it still employs a traditional solid rear axle setup, the Grand Marquis' ride and handling are surprisingly agile, thanks in large part to the thick anti-sway bars and beefed-up coil springs. On LSE models, a load-leveling air-suspension replaces the coil springs. Up front, a new independent front suspension and reworked steering components deliver much better road feel and the steering wheel now has a greatly improved on-center feel.

A 4.6-liter V8 engine (which produces 220 horses) powers all Grand Marquis models. This engine has excellent pulling power in the form of a strong low-end torque that makes it a prime candidate for those who need their car to tow a trailer or boat. The LSE model receives a dual exhaust system that increases horsepower to 235. The Grand Marquis' electronically-controlled four-speed automatic delivers smooth, quick shifts and its overdrive gear allows the full-sized Grand Marquis to earn an EPA highway estimate of 25 miles per gallon—far better than most similarly powered SUVs.

The Grand Marquis is easy to drive, with tall upright seating and a low dash. There is good visibility in all but the rear corners where thick C-pillars can block out cars or pedestrians hidden behind them. All models, except the GS, feature power adjustable gas and brake pedals which allow shorter drivers to operate the car without having to move the seat too close to the steering-wheel-mounted airbag. The Grand Marquis' safety resume is an impressive one, with a 5-star government crash-test rating, dual-stage front airbags and front seat belt force limiters and pretensioners that act to restrain occupants before the airbags deploy, thus lessening the chance of injury from being too close to the bag.

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