But the Grand Marquis has resurfaced in a recent Forbes roundup of the best used cars under $5,000. What happened to the Grand Marquis? And why did Forbes include it on its list?
What happened to the Mercury Grand Marquis?
The Grand Marquis ended when Mercury shut down. The Ford-owned brand ended in the last quarter of 2010 after a 70-year run.
Originally intended as a premium brand, Mercury couldn’t compete in sales or popularity with its Ford-branded siblings in its later years. Eventually, even loyal Mercury owners began defecting to Ford vehicles. In the years before it was discontinued, Mercury saw sales of various models remain stagnant or fall.
At the end of 2010, the Ford Motor Company decided to kill Mercury to focus on its primary brand and luxury offshoot, Lincoln.
Still, the Grand Marquis enjoyed a long run; after all, it had debuted in 1975. During that time, it saw numerous appearance changes and as many updates. For over three decades, it endured with its old-school charm.
The 1996-2011 Mercury Grand Marquis gets Forbes’ approval
Recently, Forbes put together a list of the best used cars you can get in 2021 for under $5,000. As the publication points out, you can’t get anything recent for that money. So, the roundup includes older vehicles that are reliable, fun to drive, and offer great value.
Forbes chose vehicles newer than the 1996 model year for the list. The staff used expert opinion, owner feedback, reliability ratings, and transaction price averages to compile the list of 20 vehicles, including the 1996 to 2011 Mercury Grand Marquis.
Closely related to the Ford Crown Victoria and Lincoln Town Car, the Grand Marquis is big, sturdy, and almost ritzy. It was popular with older drivers, so Forbes reasons that many of those cars were probably well-kept.
The Grand Marquis doesn’t get the best gas mileage, but its maintenance costs are low. It’s also known for its comfort and reliability. Sure, it’s not the car you want for tackling winter weather, with its big V8 engine and rear-wheel drive. But it handles well and offers a smooth ride.
The 2011 model
The last Mercury Grand Marquis had an old-car feel, and it wasn’t the most practically-sized sedan. But its large stature was good for some things. It was wide enough that three people could sit comfortably in both the front and the back rows. There’s plenty of room in the trunk for cargo too.
With its body-on-frame chassis, the Grand Marquis is a true throwback. Yet, as Edmunds points out, it’s dependable, durable, and, best of all, simple. There’s a reason why so many police departments favored its use as a squad car.
But it also comes with drawbacks. Because of its truck-like construction, it doesn’t absorb road imperfections all that well. Steering is slow, and handling is on the clumsy side. Its big V8 produces 224 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. That may not sound like much, but would you really want to go a lot faster with less-than-confident handling?
The last Grand Marquis was considered antiquated in 2011. By today’s standards, it might seem positively ancient. But for less than $5,000, it could be a great daily driver. It also helped set the standard for today’s big, comfy performance sedans.