Midsize SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,600 – $4,000*

1998 Mercury Mountaineer

1998 Mercury Mountaineer

1997 Mercury Mountaineer

1997 Mercury Mountaineer interior

1997 Mercury Mountaineer

  • Acceleration
  • Antilock brakes
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Visibility
  • Fuel economy
  • Ride

We rate both the popular Explorer and its Mercury mate highly in the SUV league. Though engine choices aren’t identical, the two models provide similar performance and accommodations, with sound ergonomics in a roomy cabin.


Essentially, the Mountaineer was a near-duplicate of the latest Ford Explorer. However, Mountaineer was produced only as a 4-door wagon. Buyers got a choice of rear-wheel drive or permanently engaged all-wheel drive. Dual airbags and antilock brakes were standard. Sole engine was a 5.0-liter V8. A 4-speed automatic was the only transmission. The all-wheel-drive system was always engaged and required no input from the driver.

Yearly Updates

1998 Mountaineer
An overhead-cam V6 engine with 5-speed automatic transmission became standard this year, making the V8 (with 4-speed automatic and permanent 4WD) an option. The 4-wheel-drive system for the V6 was Ford’s Control Trac, which offered 2WD as well as three 4WD modes, one of which can be left engaged on dry pavement. Styling refinements included a fresh grille and newly standard 2-tone paint.
1999 Mountaineer
New options became available for the ’99 Mountaineer, including seat-mounted front airbags, a rear load-leveling suspension, and a backing-up warning system. The standard V6 engine gained 5 horsepower.
2000 Mountaineer
New luxury option groups became available, called Monterey and (for V8 models only) Premiere. Both included woodgrain interior trim and color-keyed bodyside moldings, running boards, and bumpers. Premiere added steering-wheel audio controls, a color-keyed grille, special spruce-green paint, and 16-inch tires on 5-spoke alloy wheels.
2001 Mountaineer
Rear child-seat tether anchors were the only addition for 2001.


longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

For its first season, the Mountaineer came only with a 210-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 engine and 4-speed automatic transmission. In 1998, Ford’s overhead-cam V6, making 205 horsepower, became standard. A 5-speed automatic transmission was used with the V6 engine. The V6 engine gained 5 horsepower for 1999.

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/245
Engine HP 205-210
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 240
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic


ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.0/302
Engine HP 210-215
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 288
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic



Road Test

Meager gas mileage is a major drawback. An early Mountaineer with the V8 averaged 16.1 mpg, and barely managed 18 mpg on the highway–roughly identical to the EPA estimates. Later models might not even do that well.

Virtues are the same as the Explorer’s, including a roomy and comfortable interior, good visibility to all directions, and strong acceleration from the V8 engine. Permanent all-wheel drive is handy and works as promised, giving the Mountaineer good traction when needed, without any guesswork or action by the driver.

Although the V6 engine of 1998-99 cannot match the V8’s muscle, its 5-speed automatic transmission does an admirable job of keeping the engine in its power band. Control Trac 4WD is more convenient than the systems offered by competitors.

A Mountaineer corners confidently, with less body lean than some rivals. At the same time, the ride can get more bouncy and trucklike than those competitors. Road and wind noise at highway speeds are not particularly intrusive. The interior is roomier than that of a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Chevrolet Blazer/GMC Jimmy. Space is ample for four adults, and three can sit in back for relatively short distances. Most switchgear is easy to reach, though climate controls are low on the dashboard. Deep side and rear windows and well-positioned outside mirrors give the driver a clear view of surrounding traffic.


Model Tested: 1998 Mercury Mountaineer

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 5
Fuel Economy - 4
Ride Quality - 4
Steering/Handling - 4
Quietness - 3


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 6
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
Cargo Room - 6


Value - 6

Total: 51


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
111.5 188.5 70.2 67.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
81.6 21.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.9 39.3 42.4 37.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Mountaineer 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 86
Injury 68
Theft 118

Trouble Spots

Dashboard lights
Description: The original oxygen sensor malfunctions causing the malfunction-indicator lamp to light. (1997-98)
Heater core
Description: Installing a restrictor in the heater inlet hose may repair heater cores leaks. (1997-2001)
Keyless entry
Description: Remote keyless entry quits due to Remote Anti-theft Personality (RAP) module damaged by static electricity requiring a redundant ground on the passenger seats. (1997)
Audio system
Description: Electrical noise caused by the electric fuel pump in the tank can cause a buzzing noise when the AM band of the radio is selected. (1997-98)
Suspension problems
Description: The sway bar links bend or break because the original bushings are too rigid. (1995-2001)
Timing belt
Description: The timing chain on 4.0-liter V6 may make noise in hard acceleration. A repair kit is available. (1999-2000)
Transmission leak
Description: Transmission fluid can leak from the transmission into the transfer case. The low transmission-fluid level causes shifting and engagement problems. (1997)
Transmission problems
Description: Transmission flare when shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear is due to shift solenoid malfunction. (1997-2001)

Recall History

Description: After operation at highway speeds, at below -20 degrees (F), engine may not return to idle.
Description: Gas-cylinder bracket may not properly support rear liftgate.
1997-98 w/SOHC 4.0-liter
Description: Fuel lines can be damaged and fire could result if vehicle is jump started and ground cable is attached to fuel-line bracket near battery.
1997-98 w/4.0-liter engine
Description: A gap between the plate and bore of throttle body was too narrow, causing the throttle pedal to stick.
Description: Speed-control cable on certain vehicles can interfere with pulley, preventing throttle from returning to idle when disengaging the speed control.
Description: Secondary hood latch on certain vehicles may corrode and stick in open position.
Description: Right-front brake-line connection could separate, causing leakage when brake pedal is applied.
1999-00 w/4.0-liter engine and AWD
Description: Generic electronic module could lock-up, so various functions (front wipers, interior lights, 4×4 system, etc.) could not be turned on or off.
1999-01 Mountaineer w/speed control system
Description: The speed control deactivation switch may, under certain conditions, leak internally and then overheat, smoke, or burn. This could result in an underhood fire. Dealers will install a fused wiring harness.
2000 w/side airbags
Description: Side airbag could deploy if ignition key is in “run” position and seatbelt webbing is forcibly extracted from locked retractor with jerking motion.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.