IntroductionThe Mercury Mountaineer is a traditional sport-utility vehicle. Essentially the Mercury version of the Ford Explorer, the Mountaineer is based on a truck chassis for improved towing and hauling capability. If you have a boat to tow and a family to haul, this is a good choice.We found the Mountaineer cabin pleasingly quiet on the road. The dash is trim and elegant and clearly communicates essential information. Though they never feel quick, V8-powered Mountaineers are about as fast as anything in the class.The Mountaineer offers a smooth ride, though it feels more like a truck than the latest crossover, or car-based, SUVs feel, with noticeable up and down motions on bumpy pavement. Mountaineer handles fairly well for a truck-based SUV, but is not as agile as many of the new generation of crossover SUVs. With either engine, fuel economy is also generally less than in most crossovers. It can tow a heavier load than a crossover can, however, and it offers better off-road capability. The available all-wheel drive system can be driven on dry pavement and includes low-range gearing.The Mountaineer 2WD and AWD come with cloth upholstery; air conditioning; six-way power driver seat'; leather-wrapped, tilt steering wheel with audio and climate controls; AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input jack; cruise control; power windows, heated outside mirrors and keyless remote central locking; trip computer; fog lights; Class II towing package; auto on/off headlights; roof rails; rear cargo management system; and P245/65R17 all-terrain tires on machined aluminum wheels. Later in the model year the base model also gets Ford's new capless fueling system.Options include a Third Row Seat Package ($1495) that includes a 50/50 split third-row bench seat, a 60/40 split second-row bench with reclining seatbacks and auxiliary climate controls for the rear passengers; second-row bucket seats ($795); a Comfort Package ($1395) that has leather upholstery, heated front seats, 10-way power driver's seat, six-way power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, and memory for the driver's seat; a Moon and Tune Elite Package ($895) with power moonroof with sunshade, Audiophile AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer and seven speakers, and Sirius satellite radio; power adjustable pedals ($195); roof rail crossbars ($115); fixed color-keyed running boards ($495); and a Class III towing package ($275); and rear obstacle detection ($295). Safety features fitted on all Mountaineers include dual-stage front airbags, torso-protecting front side airbags, and head-protecting side curtain airbags for the first and second rows. The curtain airbags have a sensor to activate in a rollover.