Mercury Villager

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This article is about the minivan. For other Mercury and Edsel vehicles using the "Villager" submarque, see Other uses of the name below.
Mercury Villager
96-98 Mercury Villager -- 12-26-2009.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Also called Nissan Quest
Production 1993–2003
Assembly Avon Lake, Ohio
Body and chassis
Class Minivan
Layout FF layout
Platform Ford VX54 platform
Powertrain
Transmission 4-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 112.2 in (2,850 mm)
Chronology
Successor Mercury Monterey

The Mercury Villager is a minivan that was manufactured and sold by Ford for model years 1993–2003. A rebadged variant of the Nissan Quest, the Villager was a product of a joint venture between Ford and Nissan and was built at Ford's Ohio Assembly plant in Avon Lake, Ohio. It was Mercury's first of only two minivan models it ever featured (before the 2004-07 Mercury Monterey). In spite of Mercury's tradition to use compatible Ford platforms, the Villager was completely unrelated to the Ford Aerostar, the Ford Windstar, the Ford Freestar or the Mercury Monterey (2004–2007). The Villager carried the code name "VX54" within Ford.

The Villager's main innovation was in its seating configurations. At the time, minivans had bulky seats that folded over and usually could be removed. The GM minivans offered the first modular removable seats which were notably uncomfortable. The Villager had a folding removable middle seat (or two buckets). The rear seat folded and moved on tracks in the floor. It could be slid forward to the middle position making a 5 passenger vehicle with ample cargo space, or all the way to the back of the front seats to make a large cargo space. The seat was not removable however, and the system was not improved in the 1999 redesign (on which the model wouldn't be sold in Canada anymore), so newer fold into the floor seats and lightweight buckets quickly eclipsed the system.

First generation[edit]

First Generation
1993-95 Mercury Villager.jpg
Overview
Production 1993–1998
Assembly

Avon Lake, Ohio, The United States

Guangzhou, China
Body and chassis
Body style 3-door minivan
Related Nissan Quest
Powertrain
Engine 3.0 L 151 hp (113 kW) VG30E V6
Dimensions
Length 189.9 in (4,823 mm) (1993–95)
190.2 in (4,831 mm) (1995–98)
Width 73.7 in (1,872 mm) (1993–95)
73.8 in (1,875 mm) (1995–98)
Height 67.6 in (1,717 mm) (1993–95)
67.5 in (1,714 mm) (1995–98 GS Cargo)
65.9 in (1,674 mm) (1995–98 GS)
65.6 in (1,666 mm) (1995-98 Nautica & LS)
Curb weight 3,815 lb (1,730 kg)

In 1987, Ford and Nissan entered a joint agreement to develop an all-new vehicle to compete in the minivan segment scheduled for 1991. Ford's version of the vehicle, however, was to be a Mercury rather than a Ford due to the simultaneous development of the Ford Windstar. Development officially began later that year under the codename VX54, with the final designs being chosen in 1989. Prototypes went into initial testing in 1990 at Ford and Nissan test tracks, later real-world testing throughout 1991, with development concluding at the end of that year. The first-generation Villager was introduced in 1993 as a 1993 model. The first Villagers were available in three trim levels: GS, LS, and the luxury Nautica Special Edition. All Nautica models came with a two-toned blue and white, paint scheme, an elegant yellow pinstripe, second row captain's chairs, and blue and white, or grey leather upholstery. Lincoln-Mercury dealers gave Villager Nautica customers complimentary carrying bags, which were custom-designed by Nautica and were basically large yellow camping bags. The first Villagers had seating for seven passengers (including the driver). The 2-seater bench seat in the second row was removable (although it weighed almost 60 lbs), allowing the third row bench of 3 seats to slide up (either folded up for more room or down for passengers) behind the front for more rear cargo room. Up to 1998, Villagers had three passenger doors, meaning that on the left side of the second-row seat was a small audio and climate control deck for the second-row passenger to use. The first generation Villagers had Dolby sound systems which were divided into "Premium Sound" and "Super Sound" categories. Dolby Super Sound systems were only available on Villagers equipped with a CD player, which was usually equipped on higher-end models.

A 1994 Mercury Villager Nautica was tested going from 0-60 miles per hour in 11.7 seconds.[1] The 1993-98 Villager had a turning radius of 38.7 feet. While all Villagers from 1993 to 1998 featured the same VG30E-type 3.0 liter 151-horsepower V6 used in the Nissan Quest from the same model years, Ford had actually required that Nissan make some design changes to the VG30E used in the first Quest prototypes before they would agree to use it in the Villager. Changes included the addition of an oil level sensor and relocating the oil filter assembly for better access. Villager's chassis was sophisticated compared to minivans from the early 1990s; its modern all-coil suspension gave it more carlike ride and handling than its competitors.[2] This modified VG30E engine with a 4-speed automatic transmission from the Nissan Maxima. In the 1994 model year, the steering wheel was altered by moving the steering wheel-mounted control deck buttons to the outside of the steering wheel core. The Villager received a minor freshening in the 1995 model year that included a new front fascia without the front light bar, redesigned taillights, and a freshened control deck in the interior. Villager's first safety features included a driver's air bag, anti-lock brakes, and front-and rear bumpers which could withstand impacts up to 5 miles per hour without any damage. The front automatic seatbelts on first-generation Villagers were mounted on ceiling-tracks, on which the seatbelts would automatically slide over the occupant's torso upon ignition start-up. This feature was later phased out from the 1999 model year, but it was one of the many unique innovations of the first-generation Villager.

The 1993-1998 Villager engine seems to have a serious flaw in the crankshaft, as they break at the front stub. Nissan increased the diameter from 25 to 27 mm around 1995.

Second generation[edit]

Second Generation
2nd-Mercury-Villager.jpg
Overview
Production 1998–2003
Designer Moray Callum (1996)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door minivan
Powertrain
Engine 3.3L 180 hp (134 kW) VG33E V6 SOHC
Dimensions
Length 194.7 in (1999–2000)
194.9 in (2001–02)
Width 74.9 in (1,902 mm)
Height 70.1 in (1,781 mm)
Curb weight 3,944 lb (1,789 kg)
1999–2000 Mercury Villager

The Villager was redesigned alongside the Quest for 1999, and facelifted for 2001, but sales remained slow. Designer Moray Callum was responsible for the Villager's distinctive exterior cues such as the waterfall-style grille. The second-generation Villager was available in three trim levels: Base, Sport, and the luxury Estate. From 1999 to 2002, Villagers used the same 3.3 liter V6 with 170 horsepower and 200 ft-lbs of torque used in the 1999-2002 Nissan Quest. Villager Estate models were the first Mercury automobiles to offer a rear-seat entertainment system option for $1,295, which was an Autovision 6.4-inch LCD flip-down screen connected to a VCR located under the control deck by the driver's seat.[3] In 2001, the Villager received a minor freshening which included the introduction of a new grille and instrument gauges. The 2001-2002 Villagers had a MSRP price range from $22,510 to $27,210. 2002 was the last model year, concluding the Ford and Nissan joint venture. The last Mercury Villager rolled off the assembly line on June 27, 2002. The 1999-2003 Villager shared the same generation Nissan Quest's distributor, which was notorious for its defects.[4] The 1999-2002 Quest and Villager used optical distributors whose cam sensors were especially prone to failure.[5] Ford and Nissan went separate ways after the Villager-Quest project, with Nissan pursuing the development of the 2004 Nissan Quest while Mercury anticipated a version of the Ford Freestar called the Monterey.

Other uses of the name[edit]

"Villager" first appeared at Ford as the name of the Edsel station wagon, the Edsel Villager, in 1958. The Villager name resurfaced at Mercury on a woodgrained Comet station wagon from 1962 to 1967, and subsequently on similarly trimmed wagons in other Mercury series, including the Montego (1970–1976), Bobcat (1975–1980), Cougar (1977 and 1982), Zephyr (1978–1981) and Lynx (1981–1984). On Mercuries, the Villager name almost always denotes a top trim, wood grained wagon. Villager was the equal of the Ford designation "Squire". The Mercury equivalent of the more well known Country Squire full-size station wagon was the Colony Park.

Sales[edit]

Calendar Year American sales
1999[6] 45,315
2000 30,443
2001[7] 22,046
2002[8] 16,442

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zeroto60times.com. "Mercury 0-60 times". 
  2. ^ [1] HowStuffWorks: How Mercury Cars Work - The Mercury Villager and Mercury Capri
  3. ^ AOL Autos. "2002 Mercury Villager Review". 
  4. ^ [2] Car Problem Reports: Nissan Quest - No Star, Engine Stalls
  5. ^ [3] Youtube: Nissan Distributor Cam Sensor Fault - by Real Fixes Real Fast (English) March 18, 2012
  6. ^ "Ford Motor Company Sets New Full Year U.S. Sales Record". Theautochannel.com. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  7. ^ "Ford Motor Company's December U.S. Sales Climb 8.2 Percent". Ford Motor Company. 
  8. ^ "Ford's F-Series Truck Caps 22nd Year in a Row as America's Best-Selling Vehicle With a December Sales Record". Theautochannel.com. 2004-11-17. Retrieved 2009-04-28.