2001 Mercury Grand Marquis Reviews and Ratings

Sedan 4D LS

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2001 Mercury Grand Marquis
Jim McCraw

The Grand Marquis is surely the most conservative car on the planet. We don't mean conservative politically, but in just about every other nuance of the word, from the engineering that went into the car to the lifestyle and attitude it projects. Grand Marquis is about living well, frugally.

Grand Marquis is one of the last surviving rear-wheel-drive, V8-powered full-size cars built on a separate frame. Its ostensible competitors, Buick LeSabre, Chrysler Concorde, Pontiac Bonneville, and Toyota Avalon, are all more modern in concept, with front-wheel drive, V6 engines, shorter wheelbases, and unitbody construction. Grand Marquis offers almost all the comfort and convenience of the Lincoln Town Car for a price less than that of a near luxury mid-size car.

2001 models get more horsepower over last year. Model Lineup
Grand Marquis comes in GS ($22,805) and LS ($24,705) trim levels. Both are powered by a 4.6-liter V8 coupled to a 4-speed automatic overdrive transmission.

LS adds luxury equipment, including a premium stereo, premium cloth upholstery, power lumbar support, an illuminated keyless entry system, chrome wheel covers, a light group, and pinstripes. GS and LS models are sold with a slightly higher level of standard equipment, and at slightly higher prices, in California and Hawaii than in the other 48 states.

Mercury has re-tuned the Grand Marquis engine for 2001. It now produces more peak horsepower, and delivers its peak torque at higher rpm. In standard, single-exhaust form, that translates to 220 horsepower at 4750 rpm, and 265 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. With dual exhausts, which are optional on GS and standard on LS, those numbers rise to 235 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque.

Option packages have been streamlined, which simplifies life for everyone. Our test car came with the $2,520 Ultimate Package, which adds anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic instrumentation, a premium sound system, and the Premium Package. The Premium Package is available separately for $1,120 and includes alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, electronic climate control, a power passenger seat, an auto-dimming mirror with compass, and power-adjustable pedals. The adjustable pedals are a new feature for 2001, and can also be ordered by themselves for $120. (They are standard on the LS in Hawaii and California.)

The anti-lock brake system is also available as a stand-alone option for $600. We highly recommend it as it allows the driver to maintain steering control during emergency braking maneuvers. You can also get ABS and traction control packaged together for $775. The traction control uses the anti-lock brake system to reduce wheel spin -- a big benefit when accelerating on slippery roads. Walkaround
Grand Marquis a big, roomy car. It boasts a curb weight over 3900 pounds, a 114-inch wheelbase and an overall length of 212 inches. Buyers concerned about safety will appreciate the heft, as bigger cars tend to be safer in collisions than smaller cars. The size of the Grand Marquis, as well as a new frame design that was part of the 1999 model year overhaul, helped it earn a five-star rating in government front and rear crash tests.

The Grand Marquis was restyled for 1999 with a new and more vertical grille, new complex-reflector headlamps and new tail lamps. Interior
Sit down in the Grand Marquis and you'll be treated to huge, thick seats as comfortable as an old pair of shoes. The Grand Marquis retains that big-car feel many of us grew up with. The interior is spacious, with plenty of room for long legs, broad shoulders and gangly arms, and it will comfortably seat six adults. The Grand Marquis provides more front and rear headroom than a Buick LeSabre.

Despite the car's size, there's enough fore-aft seat adjustment to accommodate the petite. This is true even without the adjustable pedals, and with them, small drivers should find an even greater range of comfort.

Like many bench seats, the units in the Grand Marquis are made for cruising cross-country, and won't hold you in place in sharp corners. One minor annoyance: The hump running down the center of the floor for the driveshaft reduces foot space for anyone sitting in the center. It is the single largest drawback in the Grand Marquis' rear-drive design.

Rear-seat roominess and comfort are at the top of the class. Trunk capacity is rated at nearly 21 cubic feet. Fit and finish inside the car are superb, and the choice of materials is excellent.

All controls and instruments are arrayed in a logical, intuitive, and spacious manner; nothing seems out of place. For 2001, the traction control switch has moved to a more logical location on the dashboard.

Also new for 2001 is Mercury's Personal Safety System, which senses the severity of a crash and deploys the air bag with the appropriate force. Driving Impressions
The Grand Marquis' 4.6-liter single overhead-cam V8 is one of the best engines Ford has ever built in terms of quality and durability. It is smooth and quiet, yet delivers strong acceleration with plenty of power for quick passing. It features a coil-on-plug ignition system that is simple and reliable. Thanks largely to its strong V8, Grand Marquis is rated to tow 2000 pounds.

The transmission delivers smooth, precise, quick shifts. Like many transmissions on the market today, it requires no maintenance for the life of the car.

Grand Marquis offers a smooth, quiet ride. It is stable at high speeds and in crosswinds. Better yet, with the suspension alterations made in 1999, this is the best-handling big Mercury we've ever driven. Mercury engineers refined the Grand Marquis in 1999 to produce a car that rides and handles better than its predecessor. The rear trailing arms were redesigned and relocated to provide better control of vertical wheel motions. A three-piece Watt's link was added; it provides more precise lateral location than would be possible with the single-piece Panhard rod or track bar usually used in live-axle setups.

The car does float over undulating pavement, though not at uncomfortable levels. The steering is a bit light at higher speeds, but the power assist makes it easy to maneuver the big car in crowded parking lots.

Braking performance is surprisingly good for such a large car. The brakes were enlarged and upgraded for 1999 as well, with larger, thicker rotors and dual-piston calipers on the front discs. Those changes improved braking performance and reduced the chance of brake fade when descending steep mountain grades. Steel 16-inch wheels are standard, while aluminum alloy wheels are optional. Standard tires are P225/60R-16 all-season Michelins.

We found our Grand Marquis to be a pleasure to drive on a winding road. An optional Handling Package ($855) includes a completely retuned suspension with rear air springs and a larger rear stabilizer bar, plus a quicker 3.55:1 axle ratio, special 16-inch alloy wheels and Goodyear high-performance tires. On GS models, the Handling Package also includes the dual-exhaust engine. The Handling Package sharpens cornering response and improves acceleration. At the same time, it doesn't degrade the ride quality. Summary
Mercury's Grand Marquis is a wonderful sedan for covering a lot of territory on wide-open North American highways. With its body-on-frame construction, smooth V8, and rear-wheel drive, this car separates you and your companions from noise and intrusions caused by the road surface, but it doesn't totally disengage you from the driving experience. The steering and suspension work well to deliver competent ride quality and handling.

If you want a big, plush rear-wheel-drive sedan, but you don't want to spend $40,000 or more for a high-end luxury car, then the Mercury Grand Marquis may be the car for you.

Model as tested
Grand Marquis LS ($24,705)
Basic Warranty
3 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in
St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada
Destination charge
Gas guzzler tax
Base Price
Price as tested
Options as tested
Ultimate Package ($2,520) includes ABS, traction control, cast aluminum wheels, automatic climate control, power passenger seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, auto-dim mirror with compass, electronic instrumentation, premium AM/FM/cassette stereo, power adjustable pedals; CD changer ($350); leather seats ($795); rear air suspension ($270)

Model Line Overview
Model lineup
GS ($22,805); LS ($24,705)
Safety equipment (standard)
dual airbags with personal safety system, seat-belt pre-tensioners
Safety equipment (optional)
4.6-liter sohc 16-valve V8
4-speed automatic

Specifications as Tested
Power steering, power brakes, power mirrors, tinted glass, power locks, anti-theft system, tilt steering column, power windows, remote keyless entry, rear window defrost

Engine & Transmission
4.6-liter sohc 16-valve V8
Drivetrain type
front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
220 @ 4750
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm)

Brakes, front/rear
disc/disc with ABS
Suspension, front
Suspension, rear
live axle

Seating capacity
Head/hip/leg room, middle
Head/hip/leg room, front
Head/hip/leg room, rear

Fuel capacity
Trunk volume
Turning circle
Towing capacity
Track, front/rear
Ground clearance
Curb weight

J.D. Power Rating
Overall Quality Not Available
Overall Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Powertrain Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Body & Interior Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Features & Accessories Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Overall Quality - Design
Not Available
Powertrain Quality - Design
Not Available
Body & Interior Quality - Design
Not Available
Features & Accessories Quality - Design
Not Available

Overall Dependability Not Available
Powertrain Dependability
Not Available
Body & Interior Dependability
Not Available
Feature & Accessory Dependability
Not Available

J.D. Power Rating Legend
Among the Best
5 / 5
Better than Most
4 / 5
About Average
3 / 5
The Rest
2 / 5

* The J.D. Power Ratings are calculated based on the range between the car manufacturer or car model with the highest score and the car manufacturer or car model with the lowest score. J.D. Power generates a rating of a five, four, three, or two. If there is insufficient data to calculate a rating, a dash (—) is used in its place.

J.D. Power Ratings may not include all information used to determine J.D. Power awards, visit the Car Ratings page to learn more about awards and ratings.

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