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Image credits: © Mercury.

2005 Mercury Mountaineer

# Standard AdvanceTrac® wîth Roll Stability ControlTM
# Newly available Designer Series includes Preferred SuedeTM interior trim, Moutaineer scuff plates and 17-inch chrome clad wheels
# Redesigned roof rack, wîth raised side rails
# Satin aluminum exhaust tip on Premier
# Reclining outboard seats on 40/20/40 split second row
# Available eight-way adjustable power driver's seat
# New exterior colors: Satellite Silver, Ivory Parchment Tri-Coat (on Premier only)

Overview
Mercury Mountaineer is a premium midsize SÚV that builds upon the best-selling Ford Explorer wîth more style, comfort and convenience.

For 2005, Mountaineer builds on its strong safety story by adding AdvanceTrac® wîth Roll Stability ControlTM as a standard feature.

2005 Mercury MountaineerFor three years in a row, Mountaineer has been rated a 'Best Pick in its Class' - the highest rating - by the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, based on offset frontal impact testing.

Mountaineer is available in Convenience, Luxury and Premier arrays and is built in St. Louis, Mo., and Louisville, Ky.

Design and Equipment
Mountaineer features geometric, machined surfaces and bold-edged curves. The use of satin-aluminum finishes creates a modern, technical thémé. The styling is forward-lòòking and expressive, in keeping wîth Mercury's brand identity.

Functionality also was an important factor when designing the Mountaineer. The innovative rear liftgate is designed to be easy to use. Body-colored door handles add a robust appearance, while offering greater ease of use and quality and a more comfortable feel.

Powertrain
The Mercury Mountaineer is powered by a choice of two engines: a 4.6-liter V-8 or a 4.0-liter V-6.

The 4.6-liter V-8 uses an aluminum block and heads and is an overhead-cam design. It delivers 239 horsepower at 4,750 rpm and 282 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm and can travel 100,000 miles before its first scheduled tune-up.

The 4.0-liter overhead-cam V-6 delivers 210 horsepower at 5,100 rpm and 254 pound-feet of torque at 3,700 rpm.

2005 Mercury MountaineerTowing capability comes built-in wîth a standard Class II receiver hitch. An optional towing package provides Class III/IV towing capability of up to 6,900 pounds when properly equipped.

All-wheel-drive is available.

Safety
New for 2005, Mountaineer offers AdvanceTrac wîth Roll Stability Control as a standard feature. This system uses electronic controls and active intervention to reduce the chances of an untripped rollover accident.

The Mountaineer has a robust, fully boxed frame that was designed wîth energy absorbing crush zones in the front rails. Steel bars inside the doors provide increased protection in side impacts. Head restraints in all seating positions help prevent neck injuries.

Four-wheel-disc anti-lock brakes and a tire pressure monitoring system are standard. The Mountaineer Premier is equipped wîth the Safety CanopyTM side-curtain air bag system, which is optional on Convenience and Luxury arrays.

2005 Mercury MountaineerMajor Equipment and Options
Convenience: Anti-lock brakes, 16-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps, remote keyless entry system wîth driver side keypad, split liftgate, power mirrors, roof rails, intermittent wipers, single CD AM/FM stereo, power locks, third-row seating, cloth sport bucket seats, power windows, tire-pressure monitoring system and message center wîth compass and outside-temperature display.

Luxury adds: 17-inch aluminum wheels, color-keyed running boards, dual-zone electronic climate control, §teering wheel-mounted audio and climate controls, auto-dimming rearview mirror, two-tone leather-trimmed sport bucket seats, heated front seats, power seating wîth driver side memory, optional Homelink universal garage door opener, dual-powered heated mirrors wîth security approach lamps and optional power-adjustable pedals wîth memory.

Premier adds: Color-keyed lower body, front and rear fascia, satin aluminum exhaust tip, satin aluminum roof rails, unique badging, reverse sensing system, Safety Canopy, in-dash six-disc CD changer and power moonroof.

Mountaineer options include Safety Canopy, Reverse Sensing System, auxiliary climate control, Audiophile sound system, rear seat entertainment system wîth overhead DVD player, second-row captain's chairs, a Class III/IV trailer package and dealer-installed SIRIÚS Satellite Radio.

Source - Mercury
Debuting in 1997, the Mountaineer was all about luxury compacted into a SUV body style. The mid-size vehicle was sold by the Mercury division of Ford from 1997 until 2010. Many of its features were shared with the Ford Explorer, and under the hood the SUVs were basically the same. The Mountaineer was not only priced higher, but also featured more upscale features than the rugged Explorer.

The Explorer had been out in production for over two years when the similar Mountaineer was introduced as its twin. The Mountaineer only had slight differences from the Explorer and was offered as the 'premier' trim level. The new SUV featured a standard 302 cu in 215 hp Windsor V8 engine.

Unfortunately the first year didn't yield the sales that Mercury was hoping for. Customers weren't able to tell the two models apart, so for 1998 the Mountaineer received a front fascia flipped upside down, smaller headlights and a new rear hatch and distinct wheels. The standard powerplant was the new overhead-cam 4.0 L 205 hp Cologne V6 with a 5-speed 5R55E automatic that enhanced performance. Though the sales still couldn't compete with the Explorer, the Mountaineer sales steadily rose because of these updates that included stability and handling. Unfortunately the increasing number of rollover incidents caused the Mountaineer to lose some of its credibility as a roadworthy warrior. Both the Explorer and the Mountaineer underwent a brand new redesign in 2002 in an attempt to address any consumer safety fears.

The second generation of the Mountaineer arrived on the scene for 2002 along with a revamped Explorer. The Mountaineer received even more luxury features and was redesigned from the ground up. The luxury options included features like a rear-seat TV/DVD player, faux-brushed metal trim and rear radio deck. An unfortunate flaw in the second-generation design was rear hatch cracks near the Ford and Mercury logos. Other than this imperfection, the new design of the Mountaineer would be preview of what was to come on future Mercury models with more luxurious looks and features. The waterfall grill and barred taillights would become part of Mercury's new signature look eventually appearing on all future models.

The second-generation model featured all-new independent suspension that was modeled after the same concept as many luxury sedans. The SUV was still a fun ride though and featured more ground clearance along with skilled off road handling. Side curtain airbags that would deploy in the event of a rollover and additional air bags were part of the new safety features for 2002. The SUV was now 1.9 inches wider, which gave more leg and shoulder room for both the driver and passengers. Providing more room was an optional third row, fold-flat seat and bigger cabin. The Mountaineer's sales were a drastic improvement over the first generation models. Mountaineer owners have enjoyed their vehicles and are reported to have one of the highest owner loyalty ratings of an SUV.



The third generation Mountaineer was introduced in 2006 as a redesign on a new generation of Ford's U2 platform. The outside of the model didn't change much which the biggest changes being found in the new all-white tail lamps, chrome side view mirrors, bigger wheels and enlarged Mercury logos on the tailgate and grille. The Lincoln Aviator was now discontinued and Ford wanted to fill the empty spot between that and the Explorer, so the Mountaineer was offered in a more upscale sportier version. The inside of the Mountaineer now super high-class with a DVD-based navigation system with voice control. This was the first time that this feature was available on a Mountaineer. The interior was upgraded with more insulation to make the ride much quieter and the frame was revised along with the shocks to provide a smoother ride. Added to the standard equipment package in 2006 was enhanced handling thanks to the AdvanceTrac Stability control and Roll Stability control. Producing an astonishing 292 horsepower was a new t4.6, V7 powerhouse engine that increased gas mileage. New this year was an optional power operated third row seat and a navigation system.

For those looking for a little more than just a small compact SUV, the 2007 Mountaineer was a perfect midway point with the capability to haul like the big guys without the hefty fuel price. Six different trims were available this year that included all wheel drive versions. Various upgrades included a heated windshield, larger entertainment system screen, and an audio input jack.

Changes for 2008 included side curtain airbags and the 'M-O-U-N-T-A-I-N-E-E-R' badging removed from the front doors. The following year the trailer sway control became standard. The handy navigation system received traffic flow monitoring and gas prices updates from nearby gas stations. Ford's MyKey was added as standard in 2010 across all trim levels.

For 2010 the Mountaineer was even better than before with a bevy of extra space for carrying groceries, luggage and even extra passengers. The inside comfortably seats up to seven passengers. Two trim levels were available this year: the Base and the Premier. Both trim are available in either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive configurations. Drivers had the option of two separate powertrain configurations: a 4.0L 210hp V6 combined with a 5-speed automatic transmission or a 4.6L 292hp V8 mated to an optional 6-speed auto transmission.

The 2010 Premiere trim level included 18-inch chrome wheels, leather upholstery, satellite radio, dual-zoned automatic climate control, third-row seating and the SYNC Communications System. Constantly monitoring the odds of the SUV overturning was Ford's AdvanceTrac stability control system with electronic rollover protection. The system would determine the probability 100 times per second. Other safety enhancements this year included anti-lock brakes, electronic traction control and side and curtain airbags and more.

New standard equipment included adjustable foot pedals, a power moonroof, position-memorizing heated front seats, separate climate control for the rear and a new audio system. The popular Ford Reverse Sensing System was new for this year and provided an audible signal whenever an object was within close proximity when reversing at low speeds. The audible signals beeps faster and faster the closer that you get to the object.

This would be the last generation of the Mercury Mountaineer as production ceased on October 1, 2010. As Ford was trying to do away with the Mercury marque the Mountaineer was caught in the crosshairs. No 2011 Mountaineers were production in 2011 like the rest of the Mercury lineup.

Following a large number of rollover accidents involving Mountaineers and Explorers the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSA) contacted Ford and Firestone regarding tire failure on models fitted with Firestone tires. It was found that various models of 15-inch Firestone tires had high failure rates, especially tires made at Firestone's Decatur, Illinois plant. The rollovers were caused by drivers overreacting to the tire blowout according to Car and Driver. The Ford Motor Company refuses to equip any car they sell with Firestones, even to this day.

Sales in 1996 totaled at 26,700 Mountaineer models sold, and nearly doubled in 1997 at 45,363 models. A total of 47,595 models were produced in 1998, and 49,281 in 1999. For 2000 the sales held strong at 46,547 before dipping slightly the following year at 45,574. They rose a bit in 2002 to 48,144 models produced and once again in 2003 to 49,692. In 2004 they dropped to 43,916 models and continued to drop steadily from there with only 32,491 models produced in 2005, and 29,567 in 2006. 2007 was not any better as sales continued to drop to 23,850 before plummeting to 10,596 in 2008, 5,169 in 2009 and finally 5,791 in 2010.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_Mountaineer
http://www.carseek.com/reviews/mercury/mountaineer/
http://www.carseek.com/reviews/mercury/2010-mountaineer/

By Jessica Donaldson
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