Mercury lands squarely on the family car game board with the 2005 Montego, the first competitive sedan for the company to sell since the original Sable debuted nearly two decades ago. When the 2005 Mercury Montego goes on sale later this year, it joins its corporate twin, the 2005 Ford Five Hundred, in the battle for import sedan buyers.
Several compelling reasons exist to consider the new Mercury Montego over established models like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry when the time comes for a new family sedan.
The 2005 Mercury Montego is larger inside than its competitors, yet trim and tidy on the outside. Rear seat occupants will be especially happy, since the Montego boasts class-leading headroom and legroom. Plus, the Montego is blessed with high H-points, which refers to the pivot point of the human hip. A high H-point makes it easy to get into and out of a vehicle. The trunk measures 21 cubic feet of cargo space, enough to carry three more golf bags than passengers. To enhance utility, the rear seat is a split folding design, and the front passenger's seat also folds down to accommodate long items.
Loosely based upon the Volvo S80 luxury sedan, the 2005 Mercury Montego employs many Volvo design and engineering principles to keep occupants safe. The front architecture manages crash energy by deflecting it away from the passenger compartment, and the Montego's side structure is modeled after the Volvo Side Impact Protection System (SIPS).
Safety and CVT
Standard on the 2005 Mercury Montego AWD is a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Models without four driven wheels are equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. A Duratec 30 V6 engine, an updated and refined version of the Duratec 3.0-liter V6 from the Sable sedan, generates 200 horsepower and 200 lb.-ft. of torque. Though Mercury claims that the Montego will be capable of acceleration near the top of its class, we doubt it. This just isn't enough go-power for a sedan that can weigh almost two tons in top trim. Montego needs more muscle, Mercury.
Two trim levels
Mercury offers the 2005 Montego in Luxury and Premier trim levels. Both include two-tone interior décor with fake wood trim, a power driver's seat, a tilt steering wheel, heated power side mirrors, remote keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, premium sound with a CD player and power windows with driver's side one-touch up and down.
The Mercury Montego Premier adds leather upholstery with a mini-perforated finish; heated front seats; 18-inch alloy wheels wearing P225/55R18 Pirelli tires; a two-user memory function for seats, mirrors and pedals; an Audiophile sound system with in-dash CD changer; Homelink universal transmitter; and a power passenger's seat. A power moonroof is available on both Luxury and Premier models.
True enough, the 2005 Mercury Montego is a badge-engineered version of the Ford Five Hundred and selecting it over the car wearing the blue oval literally comes down to a matter of subjective taste. But the bottom line is that either serves as a benchmark in the family sedan class. If the Mercury Montego proves durable over time and passes crash testing with flying colors, it could be the most formidable competitor for the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry to emerge from a domestic automaker in a very long time.
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company