Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book
KBB.com 2004 Mercury Sable Overview
Subtle Elegance in a Traditional Family Sedan
The Sable is one of Mercury's most enduring and recognizable cars. Although it shares the spotlight with its sister car, the Ford Taurus, the Sable has managed to maintain its own identity and clientele. Where the Taurus seems to say "family with kids" the Sable whispers "business professional.with kids." However you view it, the Sable's subtle styling differences clearly give this car a slightly upscale feel.
Mercury has trimmed the lineup this year to just two models: the GS and LS Premium. Both trims feature a wagon model that mirror the content of their sedan counterpart but include the added benefit of a rear-facing third seat. The wagons offer a great way to transport luggage, golf clubs or work-related packages. Unlike the narrow trunk opening found on the sedans, you'll find that it's easy to slide large and heavy objects in and out of the wagon with relative ease. The wagon also affords you 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.
Beneath the GS' hood is an old Ford favorite: the 12-valve 3.0-liter V6. Once considered potent for its time, this engine is beginning to show its age. It's not particularly quick, especially when burdened by the extra weight of passengers and cargo. Once under way, the GS can cruise along just fine, only showing its age again when asked to pass slower moving traffic. A better choice is the 24-valve Vulcan V6 that is optional on the GS and standard on the LS Premium. Though it displaces the same 3.0-liters, the additional valves allow the engine to breathe freely, providing much better throttle response as well as the extra "oomph" you expect to feel when you floor the accelerator.
Both engines are teamed to the same four-speed automatic transmission. The Sable's automatic does a good job of getting power to the wheels, though its electronic brain can sometimes be a bit slow when it comes to executing quick kickdowns.
On the road, you'll find the Sable's ride to be smooth and vibration-free. The suspension is tuned tautly enough to remove wallowing yet still permits the Sable to soak up road imperfections and potholes with little more than a muffled thud. You'll find the variable-assisted power steering to be light, and perhaps a bit over-assisted for sporting drives, but certainly good enough to help you negotiate turns with some sense of what to expect. The Sable is equipped with standard anti-lock brakes and offers the option of electronic traction-control, a feature worth its weight in gold for those who frequently have to drive over snow and ice.
The GS is billed as the six-passenger Sable, owing to its split-bench front seat. Though technically you may be able to fit six people inside the Sable, you wouldn't want to keep them there for any length of time. If you've the need to constantly chauffer six people, the wagon is definitely the better way to go.
Inside, you'll find the GS to be nicely appointed, with a handsome dash layout that clearly shows all controls for heating, audio and accessories. The texture and feel of the plastic is vastly better than in previous years, a nod to the extensive attention the Mercury division has been lavishing on the interiors of all their cars. Due to the additional sound insulation and improved window seals, the 2004 Sable may also be the quietest yet.
LS Premium models see the column-mounted shift lever moved to the center console, where it acts as a divider separating the leather-covered bucket seats. If you really want to deck out your Sable, you can order the new wood package that adorns the steering wheel and shift knob in wood trim. The LS Premium also features one of the more unique features found only on Ford vehicles: the door mounted keypad. This clever device allows you to punch-in a combination that unlocks your doors, a nice feature to have when you can't reach your keys or need to leave them locked in the car (such as when surfing or hiking).
Standard equipment on the GS includes manual air conditioning, power windows, power locks, keyless entry, rear defrost, dual power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with cassette, split-folding rear seat, cruise control, tilt steering wheel and full wheel covers. The LS Premium upgrades the interior with leather seating, automatic air conditioning, auto headlamps, illuminated driver's door keypad entry device, fog lights, power-adjustable foot pedals, six-way power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and six-spoke aluminum alloy wheels. Options include side-impact airbags, a power passenger seat, power moonroof, Mach 1 stereo system with in-dash six-disc CD changer and a garage door opener.