Mercury Mountaineer

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Mercury Mountaineer
2002-05 Mercury Mountaineer.jpg
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1996–2010
Model years 1997-2010
Assembly Louisville, Kentucky
St. Louis, Missouri
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size sport utility vehicle
Body style 5-door SUV
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive

The Mercury Mountaineer was a mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) that was sold by the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company from 1997 until 2010. Sharing many of its features with the Ford Explorer, the vehicles were virtually identical, in terms of hardware.[1] Externally, they were styled somewhat differently, and the Mountaineer was positioned with a more upscale interior, with the Mountaineer's MSRP coming in at $1,000–$6,000 more than the Explorer.[2] It was last redesigned for the 2006 model year with a new frame, looking very similar to its previous model.

Some controversy resulted after the media highlighted a number of rollovers involving Explorers and Mountaineers fitted with Firestone tires. The Mountaineer has been praised for its excellent handling and stability.[3] The Mountaineer was never sold in Canada.[citation needed] As part of the discontinuation of the Mercury brand, production of the Mountaineer ended in late 2010.[4]

First generation (1997–2001)[edit]

First generation
Production 1996–2001
Body and chassis
Related Ford Explorer
Ford Ranger
Mazda B-Series
Engine 4.0 L Cologne V6
5.0 L Windsor V8
Transmission 4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
Wheelbase 1997: 111.5 in (2,832 mm)
1998–2001: 111.6 in (2,835 mm)
Length 1997: 188.5 in (4,788 mm)
1998–99: 190.1 in (4,829 mm)
2000–01: 190.7 in (4,844 mm)
Width 70.2 in (1,783 mm)
Height 1997 2WD: 66.8 in (1,697 mm)
1997 4WD: 66.7 in (1,694 mm)
1998–2001 2WD: 70.5 in (1,791 mm)
1998–2001 4WD: 70.3 in (1,786 mm)
1998–2001 Mercury Mountaineer

Although the redesigned Explorer had already been out for two years, Mercury introduced an Explorer twin called the Mountaineer. The Mountaineer was only slightly different from the Explorer, offering the "premier" trim level. Although it did offer a few extra luxury features that the Explorer lacked, such as a standard 302 cu in (4.9 L) 215 hp (160 kW) Windsor V8. First year sales for the Mountaineer did not meet Mercury's expectations. For 1998, so customers could differentiate the Mountaineer from the Explorer, the front fascia was flipped upside down, and the headlights were made smaller, while it got a new rear hatch and unique wheels. The new overhead-cam 4.0 L 205 hp (153 kW) Cologne V6 with a 5-speed 5R55E automatic was now the standard powerplant. Mountaineer sales sped up because of this, though they still lagged behind the Explorer.

Firestone Tire rollover controversy[edit]

In 2000 the Firestone vs Ford Motor Company controversy arose after a large number of rollover accidents began to occur involving Explorers and Mountaineers. Ford blamed Firestone's faulty tires, which had tread separation problems, while Firestone blamed Ford, claiming that the Explorer and Mountaineer were inherently unsafe. The case was settled.

Car and Driver determined that a large amount of the rollovers were caused by poor techniques of drivers overreacting to the tire blow out.[5] Their test driver deemed the vehicle so inherently stable that he drove "no hands" during one of their 70 mph tread separation simulations.[5]:2

Second generation (2002–2005)[edit]

Second generation
2nd Mercury Mountaineer.jpg
Production 2001–2005
Body and chassis
Platform Ford U1 platform
Related Ford Explorer
Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Lincoln Aviator
Engine 4.0 L Cologne V6
4.6 L Modular V8
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase 2002–03: 113.7 in (2,888 mm)
2004–05: 113.8 in (2,891 mm)
Length 2002–03: 190.7 in (4,844 mm)
2004–05: 190.9 in (4,849 mm)
Width 2002–03: 72.1 in (1,831 mm)
2004–05: 72.3 in (1,836 mm)
Height 2002–03 2WD: 69.6 in (1,768 mm)
2002–03 AWD: 71.5 in (1,816 mm)
2004–05: 72.5 in (1,842 mm)

For 2002, Ford redesigned the Explorer and Mountaineer. This Mountaineer was new from the ground up, offering even more luxury features than the last generation. Its exterior appearance was very similar to the Mountaineer concept vehicle first unveiled at the 2000 Los Angeles Auto Show. This Mountaineer offered features like faux brushed metal trim, rear radio deck, rear ceiling air vents, and a rear-seat TV/DVD player.

Sales sped up drastically with the introduction of this generation, and it was a look ahead at the entire revamp of the Mercury line, to offer more luxurious looks and features. Some design cues found on this Mountaineer, like the waterfall grille and barred taillights, would go on to form Mercury's new signature look, which would appear on all its models.

The "Premier" trim level featured design upgrades such as, TV/DVD player, rear ceiling air vents, chrome exhaust tip and roof rack, and body color bumpers.

There is a major cosmetic flaw with the second generation Explorer and Mountaineer; the rear hatch cracks by the Ford and Mercury logos.

Third generation (2006–2010)[edit]

Third generation
2010 Mercury Mountaineer Premier -- 07-10-2010.jpg
Production 2005–2010
Body and chassis
Platform Ford U2 platform
Related Ford Explorer
Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Engine 4.0 L Cologne V6
4.6 L Modular V-8
Transmission 5-speed 5R55E automatic
6-speed 6R automatic
Wheelbase 113.7 in (2,888 mm)
Length 2006–07: 193.4 in (4,912 mm)
2008–2010: 193.5 in (4,915 mm)
Width 2006–07: 73.5 in (1,867 mm)
2008–2010: 73.7 in (1,872 mm)
Height 72.8 in (1,849 mm)

For 2006, the Mountaineer was redesigned on a new generation of Ford's U2 platform. The exterior remained largely the same; this generation is distinguished primarily by its all-white taillamps, larger wheels, chrome sideview mirrors, and larger Mercury logos on the grille and tailgate. To bridge the gap between the Ford Explorer fourth generation and the now discontinued Lincoln Aviator, the Mountaineer now offered an upscale interior with a DVD-based navigation system with voice control, a feature not found on previous Mountaineers.

In 2008, side curtain airbags were added, while the "M-O-U-N-T-A-I-N-E-E-R" badging was officially dropped from the front doors. In 2009, trailer sway control became standard, and the navigation system got traffic flow monitoring and gas prices updates from nearby stations.[6] In 2010, Ford's MyKey was added as a standard feature on all trim levels.

This was the final generation of the Mountaineer. Production ended on October 1, 2010, as it was discontinued as part of the Ford Motor Company's plan to shelve the Mercury brand.[7]

Firestone tire controversy[edit]

In May 2000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contacted Ford and Firestone about the high incidence of tire failure on first generation Mercury Mountaineers, first and second generation Ford Explorers, and Mazda Navajo 3-doors fitted with Firestone tires. Ford investigated and found that several models of 15-inch (381 mm) Firestone tires (ATX, ATX II, and Wilderness AT) had very high failure rates, especially those made at Firestone's Decatur, Illinois plant. To this day the Ford Motor Company refuses to equip any vehicle they sell with Firestones. Individuals can still opt to purchase tires aftermarket though.


  • Class Exclusive Roll Stability Control (RSC) System.
  • Consumers Digest Best Buy for 2006 and 2007.


Calendar Year American sales
1996 26,700[8]
1997 45,363[9]
1998 47,595
1999[10] 49,281
2000 46,547
2001[11] 45,574
2002[12] 48,144
2003 49,692
2004[13] 43,916
2005 32,491
2006[14] 29,567
2007 23,850
2008[15] 10,596
2009[16] 5,169
2010[17] 5,791


  1. ^ Edmunds, 2006 Mountaineer review
  2. ^ Forbes, 2000 Mountaineer review
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Mercury production to cease in late September?" from Autoblog (July 12, 2010)
  5. ^ a b Csere, Csaba (January 2001). "Why are Ford Explorers Crashing?". Car and Driver. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Ford Motor Company Sets New Full Year U.S. Sales Record". Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  11. ^ "Ford Motor Company's December U.S. Sales Climb 8.2 Percent" (PDF). Ford Motor Company. 
  12. ^ "Ford's F-Series Truck Caps 22nd Year in a Row as America's Best-Selling Vehicle With a December Sales Record". 2004-11-17. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  13. ^ "Ford Achieves First Car Sales Increase Since 1999". 2004-11-17. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  14. ^ "Ford Motor Company 2007 sales". January 3, 2008. 
  15. ^ "F-Series drives ford to higher market share for third consecutive month" (PDF). Ford Motor Company. January 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  16. ^ "FORD CAPS 2009 WITH 33 PERCENT SALES INCREASE, FIRST FULL-YEAR MARKET SHARE GAIN SINCE 1995 | Ford Motor Company Newsroom". 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  17. ^

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