Mercury's version of the full-size, rear-drive sedan also sold as the Ford Crown Victoria carries on with minor changes for 2000. The Grand Marquis and Crown Victoria are the last traditional full-size, rear-drive family sedans with V-8 engines (outside of the luxury category). The Grand Marquis and Crown Vic are built on the same-drive platform as the Lincoln Town Car, which wears different styling and has larger dimensions.
According to Ford, both the Grand Marquis and Crown Victoria sold more than 100,000 units last year, but 95 percent of Mercury's sales were to retail customers as opposed to only about one-third of Ford's. The bulk of Crown Vic sales are to police departments and taxi companies.
The tale of the tape shows that the Grand Marquis and Crown Vic are the same with a 114.7-inch wheelbase and 212-inch overall length. The only styling differences are their unique grilles, taillamps and exterior trim.
With bench seats front and rear and a wide interior, the Grand Marquis has space for six people. Large doors facilitate getting in and out. Middle passengers, however, have to straddle a large driveshaft tunnel and don't have as much legroom as outboard occupants. The front seat is a split bench with a folding center armrest.
Though trunk volume is an impressive 20.6 cubic feet, much of the space is in a deep well that makes loading or unloading heavy items a strain.
Under the Hood
Two versions of Ford's 4.6-liter V-8 are available. The standard version generates 200 horsepower. An optional handling package includes a dual exhaust system that boosts horsepower to 215.
A four-speed automatic transmission and anti-lock brakes also are standard. Traction control is optional.