and Stronger: 2008 Mercury Sable Review
by Bob Plunkett
sleek Sable sedan, stretching long and
drawn with taut lines across its bowed-roof
profile, zips along pothole-splotched
Jefferson Road as it treks through Michigan
farmlands just west of Detroit.
on an elongated platform from Ford via
Volvo of Sweden, and employing independent
suspension elements tuned to produce sporty
maneuvers on big tires, the 2008 Mercury
Sable glides smoothly over the turbulent
pavement. Of course, we're pushing this
vehicle to the limit of all physical laws
just to sample its promised agility similar
to that of a European touring car. We
find a lot of that firepower at our disposal,
thanks the beefy, new V6 engine, which
ties to a six-speed electronic automatic
transaxle with standard front-wheel-drive
(FWD) or optional all-wheel-drive (AWD)
the spacious boundaries of a deluxe, five-seat
passenger compartment, only muted sounds
from the road, engine or wind penetrate.
securely in the firm, leather-clad bucket
seats with contoured bolsters supporting
hips and spine, a driver faces a clean
and simply designed instrument panel with
black-faced analog gauges highlighting
its vivid green lettering and blue needles.
A leather-wrapped steering wheel stands
directly ahead, and on the right, the
leather-capped stalk of the automatic
transmission's shifter lever thrusts up
from the flat deck of a console.
the driver is a broad bench with enough
room for three adults to stretch their
legs. The seat has two positions molded
to fit like buckets and the seatback splits
60/40 in sections. With seatbacks folded
down, the backseat converts into a cargo
stylish Sable presents a bold face, high-arching
silhouette with a tall beltline and taut
character lines honed from the blunted
prow to a stubby tail. Up front, the model's
face features vertical grille bars in
satin chrome tucked between huge corner
headlights containing projector-beam lamps.
On the tail, there are equally large light-emitting
diode (LED) lamps. Insignia in satin chrome
on flanks and tail reveal the familiar
nameplate of a popular Mercury model from
the past Sable.
name of Sable traces to 1986. It was replaced
in 2005 by the Montego, a sedan measuring
much larger than the Sable and bringing
traits of a precise European touring car.
The new 2008 Sable captures its badge
on a new and improved version of the Montego.
Mercury claims it worked more than 500
changes into the new model. Perhaps the
most important improvement concerns the
powertrain there's now a larger
V6 pumping even more horsepower.
fuel-efficient, dual-cam 3.5-liter V6
produces 263 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and
torque of 249 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm. By comparison,
Ford's Duratec 3.0-liter aluminum V6 in
the 2005 Montego delivered 203 horsepower
at 5,750 rpm plus torque of 207 lb-ft
at 4,550 rpm. The horsepower bump represents
about 30 percent more muscle. However,
since the new V6 operates more efficiently,
fuel economy numbers improve by a couple
of miles per gallon.
estimates for the new engine amount to
17 mpg for the city and 24 mpg for the
highway in the Sable FWD, and 18/28 mpg
for the Sable AWD.
optional AWD device on the Sable is an
electronically controlled system developed
by Haldex, a Swedish pioneer in AWD mechanisms.
It's always engaged and automatically
splits the engine's torque between front
and rear wheels to keep the tires sticking
securely to pavement in wet or dry conditions.
The AWD hardware maintains forward momentum
and keeps the vehicle operating in a safe
the new Mercury Sable a premium, mid-size
sedan, which has the cabin of a big car.
It gives seating for up to five, plus
luxury gear and an enormous trunk with
a capacity greater than most large sedans.
Sable has a long wheelbase of 112.9 inches.
The body when measured from tip to tail
stretches for 202.1 inches, and it's 74.5
inches wide with a bowed roof rising to
61.5 inches tall. The trunk has 21.2-cubic-feet
of space, and the vehicle's doors run
deep, making cabin entry easy. The seats
are elevated so passengers sit about four
inches higher than in most other sedans
of comparable size. Mercury labels the
design as 'Command Seating,' and compares
the upright seat position to that of a
crossover utility vehicle (CUV).
the beltline is high, so too is the wrap
of windows around the cabin, giving the
driver good sight lines with virtually
no blind spots. Additionally, the triangular
glass in rear roof pillars diminish corner
Issues of personal safety in the Sable
are addressed with strong structural elements,
energy-absorbing crush zones front and
rear and a variety of active and passive
safety systems aboard. Both trim versions
contain smart dual-stage, frontal air
bags for front riders, along with seat-mounted
side air bags up front and Ford's Safety
Canopy curtain-style side air bags.
promoting active safety includes a fast
rack and pinion steering mechanism, four-wheel
disc brakes tied to an anti-lock brake
system (ABS) and traction control system
(TCS) and the option of Ford's AdvanceTrac
electronic anti-skid device.
trims comes in as a well-equipped base
model and the luxurious Premier. The base
issue Sable stocks air conditioning, a
key fob, a fold-flat front passenger seat
with power controls and an audio kit with
AM-FM, a CD player and an audio input
jack for MP3 players. Additionally, 17-inch
aluminum wheels are added to the vehicle.
The Sable Premier supplies supple two-tone
leather seats highlighed by contrast stitching
and a perforated pattern. For trim, choose
a technical appearance package with Cyber
Carbon, high-gloss material resembling
carbon fiber, or wood grain accents
available in Guitar Maple and San Macassar.
optional gear includes dual-zone climate
controls, a backseat DVD video kit, voice-activated
navigation system, Sirius satellite radio
service and Mercury Sync, a voice-activated
communications and entertainment tool.
Mercury Sable Sedan
DOHC 3.5-L V6
Power rack and pinion
2 (front), 2 (side), 4 (side curtain)
mileage est. city/hwy:
mpg for FWD, 18/28 mpg for AWD
FWD $ 23,540, Sable AWD
$ 25,390, Premier FWD $ 26,975,
Premier AWD $ 28,795