2009 Mercury Mountaineer is a midsize SUV, first cousin to the Ford Explorer. It competes domestically with the likes of Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Acadia, Dodge Journey, Saturn Outlook and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Challenger imports include Hyundai Veracruz, Nissan Murano, Toyota 4Runner, Pilot and Highlander, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, Kia Sorento and Mitsubishi Endeavor.
The last time there was any significant change in body style was in the 2006 model year. Only minor changes this year, but one nice touch is the new trailer sway control. While the Mountaineer doesn't particularly stand out, it is a sharp looking vehicle inside and out. It is considered underpowered, though, and the warranty is far from best in class.
The Mountaineer comes in two trims: Base and Premier. Either comes in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. With the right package, towing capacity can reach almost seven thousand pounds, closing in on double the class average. Cargo space is also nice, at better than 50 percent above class average.
The Mountaineer has two engines available. The Base model gets a 210 horsepower 4.0 liter V6. Premier can get the same engine or a 292 horsepower 4.6 liter V8. The six-cylinder engine is matched with a five-speed automatic transmission and the eight-cylinder is matched with a six-speed automatic, both with overdrive. Best fuel economy is with the rear-wheel drive eight-cylinder engine, which gets 15 miles per gallon in the city and 21 miles per gallon on the highway. Overall, fuel efficiency could be improved.
Mountaineer also does well on safety with five-star front and side impact ratings from NHTSA, slightly above class average. The three-star rollover rating is a rather low average for these vehicles. Mountaineer has child safety locks, tire pressure monitor, anti-theft system, antilock brakes with electronic brake assist, traction control, stability control and airbags everywhere - all standard. You can also get an electronic parking aid.
The Base model comes standard with automatic headlights, a full size spare tire, heated power exterior mirror, rear window defogger, leather covered tilt steering wheel, trip computer, power front seats, second row removable seats, power windows and door locks and tow hitch receiver. Available either as options or trim upgrades you can get a running board, adjustable foot pedals, six-CD changer with premium sound system, navigation system, DVD player, heated front seats with memory and power lumbar support, removable third row seat and sunroof.
Base price on the 2009 Mercury Mountaineer is an easy on the pocketbook $27,225, certainly among the best prices in class for what you get. With that in mind, Mountaineer's "problems" just don't seem large enough to keep it from getting a good look from anyone wanting a midsize SUV.