2008 Mercury Grand Marquis Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
July 22, 2008

An ancient but roomy design and performance that trails nearly every other new car means that most people will be better off looking elsewhere.

The automotive experts at TheCarConnection.com read several available reviews on the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis to put together this comprehensive review. TheCarConnection.com’s editors also added their firsthand experience with the Grand Marquis to help make this review especially useful to shoppers.

Mercury's largest sedan continues to provide traditional American-car values, with rear-wheel drive, a standard V-8 engine, and a spacious six-passenger interior with a roomy 20.6-cubic-foot trunk. The 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis is closely related to the Ford Crown Victoria, which for the 2008 model year is only available to fleet buyers.

The Grand Marquis hasn't seen a complete redesign since 1992. Its proportions have remained intact even longer, and the body-on-frame platform it's built on dates back nearly 30 years.

That said, its engine is more modern; the standard 224-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8 engine in the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis provides adequate, but not spirited, acceleration. It may also be ordered with E85/flex-fuel capability in some regions. A four-speed automatic is standard.

Review continues below

The Marquis is quiet and comfortable, with a relatively smooth ride and relaxed handling; the suspension's inadequacies are evident, though, when the pavement turns curvy and rough, and the ride gets queasy. The front seats--an unusual bench seat arrangement good for three across--do little to hold you in place; they're very softly cushioned but unsupportive, and the driving position is oddly reclined. The backseat is very roomy, with space for three adults to sprawl out, for a total of up to six. The trunk opens wide and is large enough to fit several large suitcases, along with odds and ends.

The standard engine's power can be goosed a bit if you order the optional Handling Package (LS models only), which adds dual exhausts and boosts the engine's output to 239 horsepower.

For 2008, the lineup has been simplified to two models: the base GS and the up-level LS. A Palm Beach package--your dead giveaway to the target audience--includes side airbags and other upgrades. The GS comes with air conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry, and a basic AM/FM/CD sound system. The LS adds leather upholstery, fog lamps, heated mirrors, adjustable pedals, automatic climate control, and alloy wheels.

Three new packages are offered for the 2008 model year as well; a GS Comfort Appearance Package adds leather, a power driver seat, and painted wheels, while the GS Confidence Package includes power mirrors and traction control. The LS Travel Package gets a CD player. Other options include a power moonroof, heated seats, and rear air suspension. Modern options such as a Bluetooth interface or a navigation system aren't at all offered.

Four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes are standard, but front side airbags are optional, and electronic stability control is not offered. With the optional side airbags, the Grand Marquis has done quite well in crash tests for such an old design, earning top five-star marks in frontal and side-impact tests, as well as "good" ratings from the IIHS in frontal impact and "marginal" in side and rear impacts.


2008 Mercury Grand Marquis


The 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis is truly an ancient vehicle, and this fact is readily apparent in the styling.

Slow and steady may win the race in some arenas, but certainly not when it comes to automotive styling. Both the interior and exterior of the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis look like they could easily have been penned decades ago.

The exterior styling of the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis earns marks from reviewers only for its consistency and the fact that it must be working if it's still selling cars. Otherwise, reviews read by TheCarConnection.com deride what Edmunds calls the "1970s-era" styling of the Mercury Grand Marquis. Car and Driver notes derisively that the Mercury Grand Marquis "hasn't been redesigned since [the] Clinton Administration." For 2008, Edmunds says that the Mercury Grand Marquis is "available in two trim levels -- GS and LS," though they're virtually impossible to tell apart from the exterior. The one series of positive comments comes from Kelley Blue Book, which writes that while the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis is "basically a clone of the now defunct Crown Victoria, the Grand Marquis has a flashier grille and tail lamp treatment that leans more toward the Lincoln family than Ford's." Motor Trend adds that "you won't find modern styling trends such as crisp lines, large wheels pushed out to the corners of the car, or high-tech lighting," but rather a "traditional, block, three-box form."

Inside, not much has changed either for the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis. Motor Trend says that "utility is the overarching theme of the Grand Marquis' interior design," which is a positive in that "the linear instrument panel has large digital displays, and while it looks dated, it's highly legible and gets the job done." ConsumerGuide offers that "the climate and audio systems are a bit far from the driver," but "upper-range models help with available steering-wheel controls."


2008 Mercury Grand Marquis


The 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis certainly offers a comfortable ride, but don't expect much else out of its handling.

The 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis is about as far from a performance sedan as sedans get, but at least its engine offers decent performance and the overall ride is comfortable.

For 2008, Edmunds writes that "only one engine and transmission are offered on the Grand Marquis: a 4.6-liter V8 coupled to a four-speed automatic that sends 224 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels." The V-8 engine scores fairly well in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, though ConsumerGuide feels that it offers "lazy merging and passing response in a broad 40-60-mph range." They do, however, applaud the engine on the Mercury Grand Marquis for being "generally smooth and strong around town." Kelley Blue Book reviewers agree, praising the "velvet-smooth V8" for providing "excellent pulling power in the form of strong low-end torque, making it terrific for easy, effortless driving."

The four-speed automatic in the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis doesn't hold up quite so well with reviewers. ConsumerGuide testers say that "the transmission's tardy downshifts" are responsible for much of the poor mid-speed performance of the engine. In most driving, however, Kelley Blue Book claims that the "four-speed automatic transmission delivers smooth, quick shifts." One point Motor Trend brings up that is worth mentioning is that "several of the Grand Marquis's peers have five-speed automatics available."

Fuel economy in the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis is pretty much average for the class. ConsumerGuide testers "averaged 17 mpg" and rated the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis a 4 out of 10 for fuel economy, versus a class average of 4.2. The EPA estimates for the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis are 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, but Kelley Blue Book says that "many owners actually report beating the EPA highway number on interstate-type highway cruising, as once the Grand Marquis gets up to speed and into overdrive it's working very easily."

Although the Mercury Grand Marquis might get up to speed with relative ease, its handling is downright awful. Edmunds says "due to the vehicle's size, pillow-like suspension and low-effort steering, it has all the road feel of a two-mast schooner." ConsumerGuide agrees, citing the Mercury Grand Marquis for "marked body lean and mediocre tire grip in fast cornering." Ride quality, however, benefits greatly from the soft suspension, and Motor Trend says that "cushiness" is "where the Grand Marquis excels; bumps don't jolt the cabin, they merely exacerbate the floating undulations." They also add that "braking performance is acceptable but hardly great, and the pedal feels as mushy as the rest of the controls."


2008 Mercury Grand Marquis

Comfort & Quality

The 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis has old-fashioned virtue: a comfortable, spacious interior and plenty of trunk room.

Though its performance and styling are aged, the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis stands out with its comfortable, spacious interior and huge trunk.

According to Cars.com, the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis "can hold up to six occupants," and it does so in supreme comfort. ConsumerGuide writes that the front offers "traditional big-car feel, with adult-size room and easy access, but the middle rider must straddle the bulky driveline hump." Motor Trend adds that "the Grand Marquis's fans love both its bench seats" and the "ease of entering and exiting" the cabin. For those who find themselves on the rear bench seat, ConsumerGuide says to expect a "spacious" passenger area where "the bench is wide enough for three adults," but the seats may prove to be "too soft for best long-distance comfort." For short drives, however, the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis boasts one of the most comfortable rides around.

Another redeeming feature on the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis is its practical, spacious interior that offers generous storage space. Kelley Blue Book reviewers note that "the Grand Marquis' trunk is huge by most standards," but unfortunately "the lack of a rear-seat pass-through means cargo cannot exceed the compartment's 20.6 cubic-foot capacity." However, Edmunds finds that those 20.6 cubic feet are "capable of swallowing copious amounts of luggage or several sets of golf clubs." The trunk's usability is further improved by adding the "available drop-in trunk organizer" that ConsumerGuide says "helps with smaller cargo."

While the cargo space and comfort might be impressive on the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis, materials quality is not. ConsumerGuide feels that the "numerous hard-plastic surfaces give the cabin a budget-grade feel," and "the available leather upholstery doesn't do much to improve the overall ambiance." Motor Trend agrees, but adds "the standard materials are meant to endure rather than cosset." Fortunately, build quality is good, and the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis features "robust simplicity and cheap maintenance costs," according to Edmunds.

One of the added benefits of the solid construction on the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis is that the vehicle does an admirable job of keeping ambient noise to a minimum. ConsumerGuide praises the "good isolation from road and mechanical noise," and adds, "wind-rush is well-muted too." Car and Driver testers also note that the Mercury Grand Marquis is "quiet at all speeds."


2008 Mercury Grand Marquis


If you're considering a 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis, do yourself and your passengers a favor and opt for the side airbags.

The 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis boasts tremendous size and solid engineering that combine to provide strong crash protection. In addition, the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis also offers a few noteworthy safety features, but nothing like the modern amenities found on more recent vehicles.

The 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis has been subjected to countless crash tests over its 30-year-plus history, but its most recent may be among the best. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests, the government agency finds that the Mercury Grand Marquis holds up well enough to earn a perfect five-star rating for front and side impact protection, along with five stars for rollover protection. Motor Trend writes that the Mercury "Grand Marquis has long been equated with safety, and it's the only car to win, nine years running, the government's five-star rating for driver and front-passenger frontal crash tests."

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has also tested the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis, though its opinion differs somewhat from the NHTSA ranking. While the IIHS awards the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis its highest rating of "good" for frontal offset impacts, it gives only a "marginal" rating, its second lowest, for side impact protection when the car is equipped with side airbags. Furthermore, when the Mercury Grand Marquis isn't outfitted with those airbags, the IIHS rating drops to "poor," the worst possible.

For those who think that the aforementioned side airbags might make a good addition, Cars.com writes that they are available as a stand-alone option, and "the Palm Beach package" adds them as well. In terms of standard safety features, Edmunds says "antilock disc brakes are standard on every 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis, while traction control is optional on the GS and standard on the LS." Motor Trend feels that "the safety equipment profile is about average for cars of its class, though you'll find a few more airbags available on some of the competition." Fortunately, one feature you'll find on every Mercury Grand Marquis is decent driver visibility, which comes in handy in parking lots, as Kelley Blue Book says that "the long hood and rear deck will put even the best parallel parking experts to the test."


2008 Mercury Grand Marquis


Electronic navigation? Bluetooth wireless? They were nonexistent when the Grand Marquis debuted, and they're not available on the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis.

It's understandable that integrating modern high-tech features with what is essentially a three-decades-old vehicle might be difficult, but with the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis, it's still disappointing to see that many of today's cool automotive features are not available.

The standard features on both the Mercury Grand Marquis GS and LS are nothing special. Kelley Blue Book says that the Mercury Grand Marquis GS offers power accessories "AM/FM stereo with CD, eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar support, cruise control," and "keyless entry with driver's-door keypad." On the LS, the standard features grow to include "leather, eight-way power passenger's seat with lumbar support, traction control, automatic air conditioning," and "rear-seat reading lights," according to Kelley Blue Book.

The available options on the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis bring a bit more excitement, but not much. Edmunds says "on the options list for the LS, you'll find stand-alone items like a sunroof, heated front seats and an upgraded audio system with a CD changer." Cars.com adds that the 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis is available with a "Palm Beach package" that "adds various unique interior trim accents and badging, as well as power heated mirrors and side-impact airbags." Finally, ConsumerGuide writes that the Mercury Grand Marquis LS can be equipped with an optional "wood/leather-wrapped steering wheel" that "includes radio controls."

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April 18, 2017
2008 Mercury Grand Marquis 4-Door Sedan LS

Good Commuter and very Comfortable!

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I bought "Blue" in September of 2012 with 17,848 original miles on her. I now have 188,476. Great Car and Very Comfortable! I commute 70 miles each way to work 5 days a week. Average MPG is 22. Not bad with... + More »
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July 11, 2015
2008 Mercury Grand Marquis 4-Door Sedan LS

Great for long trips.

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Love this car. Great looks and perfect size. Large trunk plenty of power. The ride is wonderful. Why did they stop making it.
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$3,550 - $11,998
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Styling 4.0
Performance 5.0
Comfort & Quality 8.0
Safety 7.0
Features 4.0
Fuel Economy N/A
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