Large car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $11,000 – $15,700*


2008 Mercury Sable Front


2008 Mercury Sable Rear


2008 Mercury Sable Interior


2008 Mercury Sable Profile

Pros:
  • Available all-wheel drive
  • Passenger and cargo room
Cons:
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Control layout

Like the Taurus versus Five Hundred at Ford, Sable versus Montego at Mercury offers stronger performance with greater refinement. Sable provides good dynamic operation along with a spacious interior, jumbo trunk, and stellar crash-test ratings inherited from Montego. Taken together, you have a solid family sedan that deserves a spot on your shopping list.

Overview

The 2008 Sable returned as a more-powerful, restyled version of Mercury’s large Montego sedan. Mercury dropped the long-running midsize Sable (a cousin to Ford Taurus) after 2006. The 2008 model shared its basic design with the similarly updated Ford Taurus (formerly Five Hundred) and the forthcoming Lincoln MKS. Sables came in base and uplevel Premium models, with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. All used a new 263-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, replacing a 203-horsepower 3.0-liter V6. A six-speed automatic transmission was standard; Montego’s continuously variable transmission (CVT) was dropped.

Additional revisions involved front-end appearance, suspension tuning, and interior trim. Standard safety features included antilock brakes, traction control, front side airbags, and curtain side airbags with rollover deployment. An antiskid system was optional for the Premier edition. Standard on Premier and optional on the base model were leather upholstery and heated front seats. Premier-exclusive options included power-adjustable pedals. A sunroof, navigation system, and DVD entertainment were optional, too. Also available was Ford’s Sync voice-activated interface for cell phones and MP3 players. Sable competitors included the Chrysler 300, Hyundai Azera, and Toyota Avalon.

Yearly Updates

2009 Sable
Mercury made the antiskid system standard for 2009. Little changed otherwise, but production of the Mercury Sable ceased in spring of 2009. Ford’s Taurus was redesigned for 2010, but no Mercury Sable version was offered.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

All Sable sedans have the same powertrain: A 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 263 horsepower mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Sables may have either front-drive or all-wheel drive.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/213
Engine HP 263
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 249
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

18/28

20.3

Road Test

Acceleration is adequately brisk. The new 3.5-liter V6 gives stronger, more relaxed overall performance than Montego’s 3.0-liter, though Sable is hardly a neck-snapper. An AWD sedan accelerated to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. The automatic transmission works smoothly, but shifts too often on light throttle at medium speeds, and is reluctant to downshift for highway passing sprints. Some of our testers also have bemoaned the lack of a manual shift gate.

Fuel economy ranks as so-so. An AWD Sable averaged 20.3 mpg with slightly more highway than city driving. Sables use regular-grade fuel.

Ride quality is still comfortably firm, but less harsh over sharp bumps and potholes thanks to a retuned suspension and other changes. Sables are composed over most bumps, but prolonged stretches of rough pavement induced a bit of front-end shudder in one test model. Base Sables came with 17-inch tires, Premiers with 18s; but ride comfort is virtually identical.

Sables feel stable and well planted in fast, wide turns-especially with AWD-but this car’s hefty size and weight allow moderate body lean in tight corners. Available AWD is a safety plus for bad weather. The same is true for the initially optional (standard in 2009) antiskid system, which should have been standard from the start. Braking is good for the class, but unexceptional by absolute standards.

Refined for a mainstream family car, the Sable exhibits modest wind rush at highway speeds, but tire thrum is heard only over the coarsest pavement. The V6 emits a classy-sounding growl at full throttle but is fairly hushed otherwise.

Controls and instruments are little changed from the Montego, with clear, legible gauges and good basic dashboard design. Sable’s main problem is too many buttons on the audio and climate panels, which are mounted too low for easiest use. The optional navigation system suffers from a slightly undersized dashboard screen and programming that is not always self-evident; it controls most audio functions, but does not complicate them. Touch-screen control can actually have too many virtual buttons, making it too easy to “press” the wrong one while programming the radio or navigation functions. Some testers have said that stalks for the wipers and turn signals are still too far from the steering wheel.

Sable’s cabin makes good use of textured, soft-touch materials. They don’t look luxurious, but they are price-appropriate.

Higher front-row seating than in most cars aids comfort and ease of entry/exit. That layout also combines with a low dashtop and large windows for a take-charge driving feel and fine outward vision. Seats are comfortably supportive, providing plentiful headroom and legroom, but lanky drivers may wish for more rearward seat travel. Available power-adjustable pedals are a nice touch for shorter drivers.

Sable’s rear bench seat is nothing special for shape or padding, and it slightly squeezes three adults. Still, backseat occupants can expect generous headroom, near-limousine legroom (even for six-footers), and no-strain entry/exit.

Sable’s big, flat-floor trunk packs a lot of gear, helped by a boxy shape, large opening, and compact strut-type trunklid hinges. Two useful items have been standard: A 60/40 folding rear seat-though the passage narrows at the bottom-and a fold-flat front passenger seat that allows carrying 9-foot-long objects with the trunklid closed. Cabin storage is somewhat limited to a modest-size glovebox, center console, and dashtop bin.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2009 Sable (base)

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.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 8
80%
Room/Comfort Rear - 8
80%
Cargo Room - 5
50%

Other

Value - 8
80%

Total: 64

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
112.9 202.1 74.5 61.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
21.2 20.0 5.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 38.8 41.3 41.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Mercury Sable 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

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

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Transmission leak
Description: Transmission fluid may leak at from the power take-off unit on all-wheel-drive models. (2008-09)
Wheels
Description: Some early production vehicles make a squeaking, grunting, popping sound from the outside front wheel when cornering due to rubbing jounce bumpers on the struts. (2008)
Heated/Cooled seats
Description: The heated seat(s) may stop working due to a break in the heater mat wiring. (2008)
MP3 integration system
Description: On vehicles with the SYNC system, the USB port, the voice commands for the phone book work and the steering wheel switches may quit working requiring reflashing the accessories module. (2008-09)

Recall History

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

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.