bottom line
  • Dressed-up interior
  • Available power-folding third-row seat
  • Optional Sirius Travel Link
  • Coarse V-6 engine
  • Ride isn't as comfortable as some competitors
  • Very dated exterior styling

The Ford Explorer will be replaced for 2011 by an all-new model, so the Mercury Mountaineer's days might be numbered. Get one this year if you prefer the old-style layout. has driven the 2010 Mercury Mountaineer—including those powered by V-6 and V-8 engines—and brings you advice on whether to pick this model over other SUVs. And to help provide a well-rounded presentation on the Mountaineer, has looked at a range of other firsthand reports to compile a conclusive review.

The 2010 Mercury Mountaineer, to put it bluntly, is a 2010 Ford Explorer, rebadged and presented with slightly different trim and details. The Explorer isn't a bad place to start, but it's worth noting that this is a more traditional, truck-based SUV design, outclassed by many of the more modern and carlike passenger-oriented models. However, with three rows of seating, V-6 or V-8 power, and available all-wheel drive, the Mountaineer is a reasonably appealing vehicle altogether.

All of Mercury's current products are lightly dressed-up Ford models, with different front and rear details, slightly different sheetmetal in some cases, and a lighter, more lavish interior look. The 2010 Mercury Mountaineer is no exception; Mercury's waterfall grille and softer front end help make the Mountaineer appear just a little more carlike.

Two different powertrain choices are offered in the 2010 Mercury Mountaineer. The 4.0-liter V-6 brings adequate performance, but it's a little too coarse and rough. The available 4.6-liter V-8 provides better performance with a smoother character and real-world fuel economy that's almost as good. The V-6 comes with a five-speed automatic, and the V-8 is equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission.  Both are available in rear- or all-wheel-drive versions. Overall, the Mountaineer feels like a truck, but it's smooth, stable, and responsive for something that weighs 5,000 pounds.

The 2010 Mountaineer can be configured to be either a five- or seven-passenger vehicle, and when equipped, the third row can be power operated. The Mountaineer is quite roomy inside, with a good driving position. Second-row occupants will also find plenty of space, though adults will have trouble entering or exiting the third row, let alone fitting in it. Ride quality is quite good, though—credit the Mountaineers SUV's independent rear suspension. The cabin feels nicely appointed, with a high-quality sensation, though up close the materials themselves could be better.

For a vehicle that is geared toward family use, safety is extremely important, and here the Mountaineer comes through on most counts. The Mountaineer offers canopy side curtain airbags and electronic stability controls to help improve passive and active safety. Crash tests aren't class-leading, but they're good, with top five-star results from the federal government in frontal and side impacts and "good" and "acceptable" ratings from the IIHS in frontal offset and side impact tests, respectively.

The 2010 Mercury Mountaineer is available in base trim or as the up-level Premier edition. The Mountaineer takes advantage of the Ford parts bin and is available with Ford-exclusive technology like Sirius Travel Link and SYNC, which uses a touchscreen and Bluetooth to control the vehicle's entertainment and communication systems. The Mountaineer also adds a capless fuel filler system, 20-inch wheels, and new option bundles like a Navigation package and the Moon and Tune Elite package. Other options include heated leather seats, a moonroof, power-adjustable brake/accelerator pedals, and power running boards.

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