Forget just about everything you may know about the original Mercury Mountaineer that was introduced in 1996 as a mechanical companion to the highly successful Ford Explorer. Gone are the former generation’s live rear axle and optional 5.0 liter pushrod V8 replaced this year by a 4 wheel independent suspension and an available aluminum overhead cam V8 displacing 4.6 liters and producing 239 bhp. Indeed, the 2009 Mountaineer shares little more than a name with its predecessor. Even its standard 210 bhp 4.0 liter sohc V6 is improved with an equal length, composite intake manifold that contributes to the new model’s significant noise vibration and harshness (NVH) advantages. Many engineering hours were invested in aerodynamics, mechanical and acoustic means of reducing NVH throughout the vehicle, resulting in a cabin that is, on average, 6 to 8 decibels quieter than before. Some of the improvement comes from the new 5 speed automatic transmission that is standard equipment behind the V6 or V8. It features dynamically balanced internals and a new one piece case casting for reduced NVH, and has a 3.26:1 1st gear ratio of the Mountaineer’s previous transmission.
Sealed at the factory, the transmission has no dipstick as it uses a semi synthetic fluid said to be good for 150,000 miles. Power is transferred through a patented new driveshaft called Control Slip, that is lighter yet stiffer than conventional designs, and can contribute to impact absorption by telescoping, not buckling, in frontal collision. The standard axle ratio is 3.55:1, with a limited slip 3.73 optional as part of a Class III.IV towing packages that gives a towing capacity of up to 7300 lb.