Impression: 2009 Mercury Grand Marquis


In Colorado over the weekend my Dad and I rented a car- since the rental car lot was out of subcompacts, they gave us an automatic “upgrade” to a “premium” level vehicle- a nearly brand new Grand Marquis. While providing useful transportation all weekend, the Marquis (pronunciation informally decided to be “mar-kees”) was also much more interesting than a subcompact could have been. Heck- the Crown Vic is practically american car legend! The car has a significant cachet. It’s a classic, iconic car.

That all said, it’s also a piece of trash. I will procede to numerically compare it to my benchmark of internal combustion automotive perfection- the 1994 Toyota Camry Station Wagon LE V6 (AKA Pimp Wagon)

Area of interest Camry Marquis Marquis W.R.T.* Camry
Cylinders 6 8 33% More
Displacement 3.0L 4.6L 53% More
Horsepower 188 224 19% More
Camshafts 4 2 50% Fewer
Curb Weight 3263 lbs 4117 lbs 26% More
EPA Mileage 18 18 Same
KBB Value $2,860 $28,606 900% More

Starting to get the picture? The Marquis sounds like a cop car and rides very comfortably on the road- but I was expecting a whole lot more grunt when you really mash the throttle and get the revs up. Even burying it deep in the carpet, the Camry is much more responsive and pulls harder. The ‘quees’s steering is very light and brakes are firm, suspension is akin to a chinese bean cake- squishy.


I was impressed by the Marquis’ lack of interior space, particularly legroom–

Area of interest Camry Marquis Marquis W.R.T Camry
Front Legroom 43.5 in 41.6 in 4.4% Less
Rear Legroom 34.7 in 38 in 9.4% More
Exterior Width 69.7 in 84.5 in 21% Greater
Total interior and cargo space 140.8 cu. ft. 128.1 cu. ft 9% Less

So, the Marquis, despite being a much larger car has less front legroom and less usable space. It’s also insanely wide. As you can tell, I have a high opinion of the Camry- but let’s see how the Marquis shines with the really important stuff-

Area of interest Camry Marquis Marquis W.R.T. Camry
Cadavers Stashable 1 small one 5+ big ones 400% More
Number of rear wipers 2 0 ∞% Fewer
Likelyhood of being

mistaken for cop

Very unlikely Quite likely 5 Doughnuts More
Stereo Bangin’ Lacking Are you kidding?
Likelyhood of being ignored Very high Less Depends
Americanness Somewhat Absolute Pure Red White and Blue

So, the Grand Marquis is a car to respect and enjoy- in its own way it’s really wonderful. It is a classic, iconic, instantly recognizable vehicle backed with decades of American bench-seat cruiser history. It’s also a design that seems absolutely stuck in the ’90s. The dashboard is huge and impedes footroom enormously. The front middle seat is cramped and the cupholders and lighter are effectively inaccessible when it is occupied. The built in trip computer falls short of expectations, doesn’t realize it’s potential. There are many more modern cars that are much more functional and innovative than the Vic/Marquis available at the price point. Not to mention that you could have a whole fleet of Camry Wagons.

Regardless, no cars have the cachet and iconic status of the big Ford. I respect the car, but I would not want to own one. I am grateful that I got the unexpected chance to get to know the Marquis over the weekend, the experience wouldn’t have been the same with a Focus or dinky Kia, one of the bland throwaway subcompacts so popular with rentals. The Mercury may be technologically behind, but it’s not a throwaway piece of crap- I feel grateful to have participated in the American legend that is the Crown Vic.

*(W.R.T. = With Respect To – have you ever been in a college math class??)

Posted on March 25, 2009 at 9:20 pm by Henry · Permalink
In: Cars, Reviews

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