Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rental Car Review: 2007 Mercury Grand Marquis – Rollin’ Like a Senior

Jaimi and I recently returned from a fabulous Thanksgiving trip to sunny south Florida. We stayed with her parents – they have a beautiful house in a mature, active adult, no walkers or oxygen tanks allowed, 55+ community.

This community is on the more active and lively end of the scale when it comes to Florida’s retirement communities, but as soon as we left the friendly confines of Tivoli Lakes, we found ourselves surrounded by the sunshine state’s Golden Oldies. And surrounded on the road by other massive, slow-moving land boats, just like the Grand Marquis.

In other words, my choice of the full-size Grand Marquis was absolutely brilliant. We operated in perfect stealth mode all week long. Other drivers were shocked to see the beige Merc pass them on the left or the right – traveling at or above the speed limit in most cases.

Super-hot Grand Marquis sparkles in the sunlight. It's trunk can swallow an NBA basketball team, with room left over for their mistresses.

It’s fairly typical to see these things cruising around at 20 miles per hour BELOW the speed limit, with nothing but some curly purplish hair, and a big pair of Amber Vision sunglasses peeking above the steering wheel.

The Grand Marquis also raises little or no suspicion from law enforcement, and seats 8 comfortably.

As for handling dynamics, interior comfort, build quality, and exterior styling, the Grand Marquis kinda sucks. It’s really no wonder that Ford is in massive trouble right now. That being said, I defy you to name one foreign automobile manufacturer who cranks out so many vehicles that appeal to old people.

The Mercury Grand Marquis/Ford Crown Victoria/Lincoln Town Car trifecta - the senior driver’s dream team of vehicles.

And after driving one for a week, I think I know why these cars are so popular with a more mature audience. The large doors and wide bench seats make for easy entry and egress. The extra-large steel frame and mile-long hood lend a high degree of safety - in the event of low-speed parking lot collisions, or driving through the garage door when you thought the car was in reverse but it was actually in drive.

The Mercury Grand Marquis is basically a gigantic suit of armor.

On top of all that, the fuel economy isn’t too bad. I expected the Merc’s beefy V8 to get somewhere around 15-16 mpg highway mileage, especially considering the fact that I like to kick the shit out of my rental cars and hammer the throttle every chance I get.

Mercury claims that the Grand Marquis gets 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway. My experience leaned closer to the highway mileage rating. Not bad for a big, sloppy, Nimitz-class cruiser like this.

At highway speeds (or any speed, for that matter) the Grand Marquis handles just like a mountain cat - a mountain cat that's been sedated and placed on a big gurney, which in turn was placed on top of a grand piano, and then on top of 4 skateboards. In other words, the steering and suspension is rather flaccid.

In conclusion, the Mercury Grand Marquis is a real crowd-pleaser in south Florida. Older folks love the blimp-like driving dynamics, and tank-like safety. Younger folks enjoy driving it because it's funny.

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