It looks smaller in stature than some of the others on the market, which gives it an advantage at the mall parking lot. Passengers can choose from 13 different seating-and-cargo combinations. That powertrain easily enabled the 3,800-lb. Granted, cargo capacity is important. Our Nautica was equipped with very comfortable power front seats, with six adjustments for the driver, four for the passenger. Interior Features The Villager Nautica's standard equipment includes power rack-and-pinion steering, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, power door locks, childproof sliding-door lock, tilt steering wheel, flip-out side rear windows, rear defogger, tinted windows and courtesy dome lamps.
Behind the front captain's chairs are two more captain's chairs. Most minivan buyers are parents, so the operation of the sliding door and rear tailgate is an important concern. Having been also sold as the Nissan Quest as part of the Nissan-Ford venture in the 90's, the Villager was first shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, 1992. Now in its sixth year without a major redesign, the Villager has been a successful product. They are produced at Ford's Avon Lake, Ohio, assembly plant using Ford-supplied components, but they were designed by Nissan and are powered by a Nissan engine and drivetrain. The seats can be arranged in a variety of configurations to haul cargo.
Mercury's Villager is a byproduct of that knowledge. But these days, auto makers know better than to deliver a minivan with an old-fashioned, truck-like ride. The Villager affords 126 cubic feet of cargo space after the second-row seats are removed and the rear-bench seat is folded upward. The rack-and-pinion power steering offers precise control and the engineers have done a good job tuning the MacPherson strut front suspension and leaf-spring rear suspension with twin-tube gas charged shock absorbers. Another space-enhancing option would be to tilt the rear-bench seat cushion upward and slide the seat forward by as much as 50 inches.
Passengers can move comfortably from the front seat back to the rear, although the fold-down armrests on the second-row captain's chairs limit the center-aisle pass-through space to about eight inches. Visibility is good, though there is a bit of a blind spot to the driver's right rear. The system provides readouts in both the English and metric systems. Villager's chrome grille was added last year, replacing the light bar that swept across its front. But these days, auto makers know better than to deliver a minivan with an old-fashioned, truck-like ride. They know minivan buyers want commodious space accompanied with the smooth ride and performance of a sedan.
Driver's seat headroom was sufficient for me, measuring just under 6 feet. All doors can be operated with one hand, a blessing when carrying groceries and other parcels, while managing children. New colors were added this year, along with an optional Gold Sport appearance package that features gold accents on the wheels, grille and lift gate ornament. And in the case of the removable second-row captain's chairs, it can be done with just one hand. Although it hardly offered more than other vans at the time, the Villager's primary selling point was its smart seat configurations with rows which could be folded and pushed against one another or fitted in floor-buckets fro increased cargo space.
Even better are the sturdy, integrated cupholders on the backs of each of the fold-down rear seats. With a simple push of a button you can ascertain fuel economy—both average and instant—and the number of miles left before the fuel tank is empty. Mercury's Villager is a byproduct of that knowledge. Villager is quite comfortable as well, with enough seats for seven passengers and a bit of room left over for cargo between the rear seat and the tailgate. The Villager is powered by a 3.
Like many vans of this size, it is somewhat sensitive to excessive crosswinds, but it mostly tracks very straight and true on the highway. The rear gate can also be unlocked manually with the key. Villager's designers have provided a range of seating configurations. It's hitched to a four-speed, electronically controlled automatic overdrive transmission. . Driving Impressions While its cargo capacity is somewhat modest compared to the big Chryslers, the Villager compensates with its velvety ride and serene comfort. Front MacPherson strut and rear beam axle suspension is quite ordinary in design, but they provide handling that is very impressive for a minivan.
Our test car was also equipped with an optional power sunroof and a flip-open rear window. It seemed as quiet as a sedan even at speeds greater than 70 mph. It offers a decent payload at 1200 pounds, but adding heavy cargo forces the suspension to bottom-out on larger bumps. Also, the front of the vehicle is so steeply raked that the driver cannot see the front fenders, which requires some getting used to for parallel parking. Luxury touches in the Nautica model include separate stereo and ventilation controls for rear-seat passengers, a real feature when carrying children.
It handles like a sedan and provides plenty of power for driving through heavy traffic. Villager to scoot in and out of freeway traffic. That's a lot less than the 162. Minimal pitching and diving, along with excellent grip in corners doesn't adhere to the minivan preconception, while precise steering from its power rack-and-pinion system seems to sweeten the whole picture. Since the introduction of the 1993 model, the Villager has offered a smooth, quiet ride with the responsiveness of a sedan.