We have information you must know before you buy the Villager.
We want to send it to you, along with other pricing insights.
We will not spam you, and will never sell your email. You may unsubscribe at any time.
Mercury has completely redesigned and re-engineered its Villager for 1999. It's five inches longer than last year's Villager, giving rear passengers and cargo more space. A second sliding door readies the Villager for the new millenium. Bins and cubbyholes have been added to make everyday life easier and a unique sliding seat transforms it into a mini-limousine. More power and a quieter engine increase its driving appeal.
Still, the Villager offers a leaner, more athletic stance than the other minivans on the market. It's smaller than the Dodge Grand Caravan or Ford Windstar, with dimensions closer to a Dodge Caravan.
In short, the 1999 Villager has all the trappings of the big guys, but offers nimble handling and smart styling. Some may miss the extra room offered by a long-wheelbase Ford or Dodge, but others will prefer the Villager's quick reflexes and versatility.
Minivans aren't supposed to be fun to drive and the Villager doesn't cut corners like a sports car, but it does handle well enough to generate some enthusiasm in the curves. The steering is sharp and accurate; the steering system is refined for 1999 for more linear response.
The Villager tracks very well on the highway -- much better than most minivans. Stiff crosswinds barely move it from its intended track, and rough road surfaces pass under the tires without jarring the steering wheel a great deal.
The suspension does a good job of taming the natural roll and lean of a tall-bodied wagon. The ride seems just a touch stiff over concrete joints and tar strips, but composed over most other highway and street surfaces. The front struts were revised for 1999 to improve rebound control, while delivering a softer ride. At the rear, new single-leaf tapered springs replace two-leaf units for a smoother ride.
The brakes can handle repeated stops from highway speeds, but the brake pedal has more travel than a passenger-car driver might want. A new anti-lock brake system is designed for improved durability.
A new 3.3-liter V6 replaces last year's powerplant, raising output to 170 horsepower from 151. That's a significant upgrade, yet this engine is taxed when it has to propel 3800 pounds of vehicle, a family and a full load of vacation gear up a steep grade. On a solo run up the East Coast, laden only with Christmas gifts, the Villager was able to overtake other vehicles in a reasonable stretch, but more horsepower would have made passing more comfortable on two-lane roads.
The Villager is a leaner alternative to the longer-wheelbase minivans and that makes it an appealing choice. It's more compact than the mass-market minivans, so it's easier to park, yet it offers all the flexibility of bigger minivans and nearly as much room.
Villager offers clean styling, a commanding view of the road, and a clever interior design with optional captain's chairs. All of this makes it a great alternative to the Dodge Caravan. Though prices roll up quickly when you add all the goodies, the Villager's driving characteristics and flexibility make it a good value.