Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Mercury Sable Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Mercury Sable Overview

Body
Affordable Yet Handsome

Mercury cars slot somewhere in between the family sedans of the Ford line and the luxury cars at Lincoln; this means they must hold both impressive styling and exceptional value, no small feat in today's tough market. A prime example of the Mercury mission is the Sable sedan. Based on the same platform as the Ford Taurus, the Sable relies on subtle styling changes both inside and out to separate it from the mass-produced Taurus. We think you'll find that Mercury has accomplished this goal and managed to keep an aging design looking fresh and modern.

The Sable is a front-wheel drive car available in either sedan or wagon form. There are two trim levels for the Sable: the base GS and premium LS. Calling the GS trim a base model really does a disservice to all this car has to offer. What is standard on the Sable GS is often optional on other cars. Under the hood, you'll find a Ford oldie but goodie, the 3.0-liter V6 engine. With 155 horsepower, the 3.0-liter's performance is best described as capable but certainly not inspiring. Yet for people who feel no great rush to speed through traffic and race away from stoplights, the standard Sable engine is more than sufficient to get the job done.

The Sable GS is handsomely configured and includes full wheel covers, cloth seating, power windows and door locks, air conditioning, tilt wheel, cruise control, illuminated entry and an AM/FM stereo with cassette; all this at a price starting at just over $21K. The standard split-bench seat can fit three people in a pinch, though realistically it's most comfortable with two passengers sharing the wide center folding armrest. For just a bit more cash, Mercury offers a plus package that adds heated outside mirrors, an automatic day/night rear-view mirror and a CD player.

The other Sable trim is the posh LS that includes a new Platinum Package option for an even more exclusive look. With the LS, you not only get such lovely appointments as cloth bucket seats with floor mounted center console, premium audio, automatic air conditioning and alloy wheels, you also have the option of adding such options as perforated leather seating and a power glass moonroof. The LS uses the same 3.0-liter V6 engine, only it gets an extra set of valves (12 vs. 24) that help bump the horsepower up to 200. You'll find that the extra power of the LS is most appreciated when pulling away from a dead stop and also when merging into traffic or passing slower vehicles.

Not to be overlooked are the Sable wagons that mirror the content of the sedans but included the added benefit of a rear-facing third seat that can hold an additional two persons. The wagon is also a great way to transport lots of luggage, golf clubs or even a days worth of purchases from the weekend bazaar. Unlike a trunk, you'll find that its easy to slide heavy objects in and out of the wagon without straining your back; and you have the added bonus of being able to access your cargo from within the passenger cabin without having to stop and get out of the car. This point may seem trivial until you're stuck in pouring rain and need to get at the cooler full of snacks or dig for the CDs you packed in your luggage by mistake.

No matter which Sable you choose, you'll find a car that offers a solid, comfortable ride with stable handling and predictable road manners. The optional traction control is well worth the extra money, helping the Sable stay controlled when the road conditions outside become treacherous. Mercury has gone out of their way to increase the driver's comfort level by offering such conveniences as standard power-adjustable foot pedals that allow shorter drivers to maintain a safe distance from the steering-wheel-mounted airbag while still finding a comfortable driving position. Extra seals have been added to the windows to reduce wind and road noise and the entire interior has been given a makeover that employs brighter colors and warmer wood tones. The effect is clearly noticeable and the Sable's interior, especially the LS in leather, is down right beautiful.

The Sable also scores high on safety concerns, with standard seat-belt pretensioners and force limiters, two-stage deploying front airbags and optional side-impact airbags.

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