TheCarConnection.com studied reviews of the 2008 Mercury Mountaineer’s performance drove the new SUV, and found its performance to be predictably smooth, if not exciting. While it still drives like a truck, it's stable and pretty responsive for something that weighs 5,000 pounds.
The Mountaineer shares its engines with the Explorer. Automotive.com notes that "two [Mercury Mountaineer 2008] powertrains are available: a 210-horsepower V6 and five-speed automatic transmission and a 292-hp V8 with six-speed automatic," adding that the latter is the better choice "if you have a boat to tow and a family to haul." Car and Driver says "the V-8 is tons of fun in the Mustang GT, where it feels like there's an offensive lineman on meth under the hood, but in the [Mercury] Mountaineer, it's pretty snooze-worthy," although this reviewer "you'll definitely be able to put it to work, with a 6960-pound tow rating in all-wheel-drive V-8." About the smaller engine, Edmunds comments that the Mercury Mountaineer "210-horsepower V6 looks more underpowered with every passing year."
There are some complaints about the Mercury Mountaineer 2008 transmission; Edmunds reports that "a bit slow to downshift." Car and Driver elaborates: "downshifts all happen at their own pace; there's no sense in asking any of them to hurry, because the Mountaineer will just ignore you." ConsumerGuide adds "the transmission shift lever blocks easy access to some climate controls." Rear-wheel drive is the Mountaineer’s standard configuration; four-wheel drive is an option.
Gas mileage is middle of the road for the class and lower than the new generation of car-based utility vehicles. Automotive.com reports "with either engine, fuel economy is also generally less than in most crossovers...the V6 gets an EPA-estimated 14/20 mpg with 2WD, 13/19 mpg with 4WD." ConsumerGuide "an AWD V8 Mountaineer averaged 15.1 mpg."
For a truck-derived sport-ute, the Mountaineer has pleasant road manners. Automotive.com tells us that "the Mountaineer offers a smooth ride, though it feels more like a truck than the latest crossover, or car-based, SUVs feel, with noticeable up and down motions on bumpy pavement." ConsumerGuide, however, says this Mercury Mountaineer 2008 model is "among the best of traditional truck-type SUVs...compliant, and devoid of sloppy motions." Kelley Blue Book says the 2008 Mercury Mountaineer's "independent rear suspension provides it with great stability while cornering and the variable-rate power steering returns excellent feedback to the driver." According to Edmunds, "brakes, though adequate when it comes to stopping, have a spongy pedal feel."