Dear Car Talk:
OK, I'm an old geezer. A relic. An antique. And whatever else describes "mature individuals." I still love my Mercury Grand Marquis. But, just like me, they don't make them anymore. I love being able to take everything I own when I go on vacation, including the kitchen sink. I like the rear-wheel drive, big V-8, comfortable ride, getting 26-28 mpg highway, the feel of being safe and protected by lots of steel, and being able to have every accessory available, and still pay less than $40,000 for the ride.
I realize they failed to change the body style for several decades, so the entire line went dormant. But what is available now that will replace my Mercury when I get ready to give up the one I have now? Great column! I get you guys every week in the paper, and look forward to your comments and advice.
Dormant? It went "dinosaurial."
Unfortunately, the Gran Marquis became badly outdated in many ways, and Ford Motor Company didn't see enough future sales to justify the investment in a redesign. Many of your fellow geezers, not to mention all of New York City's taxi drivers, join you in your grief, Charles.
There's nothing exactly like it out there now. But I'll make a few suggestions, and you can shop around and see what you like.
First, since the Grand Marquis bit the dust, I've noticed that a lot of taxi drivers have switched to Toyota Camry Hybrids. It's got the opposite of a large V-8: It has a four-cylinder engine, a battery pack and a supplemental electric motor. But it's got good power (200 hp), it's a full-size car, it's comfortable and safe, and it's got room for a kitchen sink or two. And by the way, it gets about 40 miles to the gallon, in town and on the highway.
If that's not quite big enough, you could step up to the Toyota Avalon, which is a little plusher and a little bigger. It's also available with a 40-mpg hybrid drivetrain.
Another option would be a Chrysler 300. That's a rear-wheel-drive, American (actually, part German) sedan that you can still get with a big V-8 (you can get it with all-wheel drive, too, if you want to). It's got that lightweight steering feel that you love in your Grand Marquis, and it's fairly roomy.
The biggest downside is that the visibility is pretty bad. It has tall sides and narrow windows, and, after driving your Grand Marquis, you might feel like you're trying to see out of a bathtub in the 300. But try it and see.
Finally, you might try one of Ford Motor Company's full-size replacements for the Gran Marquis. Perhaps something like the Lincoln MKS, which is based on the Ford Fusion but will positively pamper your geezer butt, Charles.
Let us know what you decide, and how you like it.