Mercurys minivan has been a victim of lackluster sales recently; as a result, the Villager will cease production in the summer of 2002. The Nissan Quest, which is related to the Villager, will also disappear. Villager sales dipped by more than 27 percent during the 2001 calendar year, to just 22,046 units, according to Automotive News.
For its final stint in the Mercury lineup, the Villager minivan gets a set of vinyl cargo mats and one new color choice, but no other significant changes. Mercury lists six distinct models for 2002: Value, Popular, Sport, Sport Plus, Estate and Estate Premium.
Both the Villager and Quest were redesigned for 1999, and the Villager earned a mild restyling for 2001. The two models differ mainly in their front-end appearance. Both have been produced at the same plant in Ohio as a joint venture between Nissan and Ford. Nissan has supplied the engine and most of the engineering development.
Nissan exhibited a Quest concept minivan at Detroits North American International Auto Show in January 2002, which signals the intention to issue a new version of its Quest no sooner than 2003. Mercury will not issue a redesigned Villager but is expected to launch a replacement likely in 2003.
The Villager rides a 112.2-inch wheelbase, has an overall length of 194.9 inches and is 70.1 inches high. Dual-sliding side doors are installed, but power operation is not available. A roof rack is standard on the Sport and Estate models. The Villager may have 15- or 16-inch tires, depending on the model.
Seating for seven occupants is standard. Base models have a two-person bench seat in the second row, while the Sport and Estate editions have twin bucket seats. All versions have a three-passenger bench seat in the third row, which slides back and forth in the floor to three positions.
Leather upholstery is standard in the Estate edition. With the middle seats removed and the rear bench pushed all the way forward, the Villager can hold 127.6 cubic feet of cargo.
A three-position parcel shelf is installed in the Sport and Estate models, which can keep grocery bags and other items from rolling around. An available rear-seat video entertainment system includes a roof-mounted, 6.4-inch screen and video game capability.
Under the Hood
The Villager and Quest use the same 170-horsepower, 3.3-liter V-6 engine, which teams with a four-speed-automatic transmission.
Antilock brakes are standard, but side-impact airbags are not available. LATCH anchorage points for child-safety seats are installed. The Villager and Quest earned a top five-star rating in government crash testing for both the driver and front passenger.