Overview & Reviews
You're excused if you don't recall the original full-size Mercury Marauder "fastbacks" of the 1960s. Not as hard-edged as their full-sized competition of the early '60s nor as lean or brutally quick as their pony-car and midsize "muscle car" rivals later in the decade, the sporty Marauder sedans and personal luxury coupes sold in relatively small numbers.
The Mercury Marauder offered big-block power, an upscale interior and a persona that projected elegant, refined performance. But by the time it was retired after the 1970 model year, the big Marauder was out of fashion and had simply run its course. Only after a mid-'90s resurrection of the big, bad full-size muscle car genre by the Chevrolet Impala SS did Mercury try its luck nearly a decade later by bringing out its roomy and powerful Marauder.
Based on the full-size body-on-frame Grand Marquis sedan, the Marauder debuted with an upgraded engine, bigger wheels and tires, a sport-tuned suspension, bucket seats, special interior trim and an exterior paint job in "any color you want as long as it's black."
Though there was considerable initial interest in the car, performance enthusiasts never quite fell in love. In particular, although the Marauder's performance was respectable -- it could hit 60 mph in the 7-second range -- it didn't have the tire-spinning grunt off the line that marked a true muscle car. After two years of slow sales, Mercury shelved the Marauder name once again.
Most Recent Mercury Marauder
The Grand Marquis-based Mercury Marauder was produced for 2003 and '04. Initially sold only in black (blue, silver and red became available later), the car had a definite undercover cop car look to it thanks to the blacked-out grille, dark-tinted headlights and taillights, large five-spoke chrome wheels and dual chrome exhaust tips. Inside, Mercury replaced the more traditional big-car column shifter with a sportier floor-mounted selector along with bucket seats and a center console.
Adding an old-school touch was a pair of Auto Meter gauges for oil pressure and volts, while new-school power-adjustable pedals allowed most anybody to get comfortable behind the wheel. Leather upholstery was standard fare, and was wrapped around big, soft power front buckets that reminded some folks of first-class airline seats. Although they featured pronounced side bolsters, we found the padding a bit too soft to provide serious lateral support when putting the Marauder through its paces.
The Mercury Marauder was motivated by a 4.6-liter DOHC V8 with 302 horsepower and 318 pound-feet of torque. The engine -- the same one used in the Ford Mustang Cobra before it received a supercharger -- was connected to a beefed-up four-speed automatic and a limited-slip rear differential. The Marauder's excessive weight precluded neck-snapping performance off the line, but once the four-cam V8 hit its stride, the big Merc really pulled with authority. Driven sedately, the automatic changed gears seamlessly, but with your foot in it upshifts occurred quickly, with a satisfying shove to your backside.
As with Ford's other 2003 full-size sedans, the Mercury Marauder benefited from a major update that year, including a new frame and redesigned front suspension. For the Marauder, Mercury also added a sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch wheels.
In our experience putting the Marauder through twists and turns, fast sweepers and steady freeway cruises, we were impressed with how well this 2-ton-plus car performed. Although it provided a soft, comfortable ride under normal conditions, the Marauder also handled spirited driving with ease. Body roll was minimal with a neutral attitude, and the steering was light yet direct, with its variable-assist feature offering more weight with increasing speed.
A lack of off-the-line snap was the car's major fault. Though we never were able to perform instrumented testing, other published reports at the time pegged the car's 0-60-mph time in the mid 7-second range. Put simply, there was just too much weight and not enough low-end torque.
Still, the Mercury Marauder's lack of success as a new model pretty much guarantees rarity as a used model. We can recommend it without reservation for a used car shopper in search of a traditional full-size sedan with lots of room and V8 power, topped off with a healthy dose of attitude and uniquely American style.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 165.00
Mercurys version of the 94-6 chevy impal - 2003 Mercury Marauder
By john chmielowiec - December 22 - 10:00 am
Mercury wanted something good to boast it sales. They knew only the oldies were buying this car. As of 2000 Mercury was going to discontiue productions of the Grand Marquis in 2003 until someone came out with this idea of the chevy version of the impala ss. Ford knew they could never compete with the Impala ss in the mid 90s. Look at the design of the engine compartment, they could never fix anything larger than a 4.6 in the engine compartment. Ford needs to design the whole car. They need to build a real hot rod. 350 motor in the chevy is the most reliable v-8 push rod engine in the world today. Remember ford does not build quality vehicles today.
WHOOP - 2003 Mercury Marauder
By Joe Momma - December 15 - 2:00 am
I like this car, i bought it for money, and it is fast, whoo!!I like this car, i bought it for money, and it is fast, whoo!!
Marauder fills a niche - 2003 Mercury Marauder
By ufd60 - December 15 - 2:00 am
What a great car! There are not any like this with the size and performance of this car. Turns heads everwhere I go. Everybody loves this car and so do I. Mine is getting better the more miles I put on it.
Love it - 2003 Mercury Marauder
By colemajl - November 14 - 10:00 am
I just got my new marauder. If you are a boomer who couldnt afford a muscle car in high school...now you can. The first night I got the Marauder, I was at a resturant and noted outside that an Impala SS owner had parked beside me and was walking slow circles around the beauty. That alone was worth half the purchase price.
Everyone needs one! - 2003 Mercury Marauder
By piglet - September 27 - 10:00 am
Traded in my very reliable Toyota 4Runner on this beast. It is so comfortable and the ride and power are excellent! Dont bad mouth this car unless you have not driven it.
marauder good idea - 2004 Mercury Marauder
By biscoitti - September 18 - 10:00 am
nothing wrong so far.have not bought a new ford product since 1974.this car is well built and solid.
A better idea! - 2003 Mercury Marauder
By Paul Kethman - August 3 - 2:00 am
Just turned over 10K mi. Low end power much improved after first 2K to 3K mi. Rear wheels break away nicely from standing start now - still not a big smoke show - but 0 to 60 time in line with factory claim. Handling at speed is unbelievable! Clover leaf corkscrews at 60+ mph (if you dont mind sitting on the door panel)! Highest speed to date is 115 mph - still has a lot of pedal to go to the floor and handles like its on rails! Interesting to hear about the fuel cut- off at 123 mph - that will have to go! Nothing wrong with stereo sound or controls unless youre already deaf and youre thumb is broken rendering the stearing wheel remote usless.
Great Car - 2004 Mercury Marauder
By ryannelson111 - May 24 - 2:00 am
Great fun to drive car. I traded in my 1997 Crown Vic with 210,000 miles on a 04 Marauder and couldnt be happier, plus Merc is offering 0% interest for 5 years. Great exhaust note but not too loud. The car is basically a new Crown Vic Sport with better engine, no woodgrain, much better suspension, and bling bling wheels. Most people have never heard of a Marauder which is a plus in my book. Plus it tows my 3000 lb trailer with no problem. Should be easy to repair and maintain since it is basically a Crown Vic. Only one brand and model of tires available to fit rear (which might be an expensive proposistion several years from now).
Excellent- The Best - 2003 Mercury Marauder
By Dave - May 17 - 11:56 am
This is a great car for room, comfort, subtle, and just like driving my many 50s & 60s muscle cars. (GTO,Corvettes,390 Mustang, 401 Ford, etc.) Just a great car for a mid-life attack.
Best Car - 2004 Mercury Marauder
By Greg E - April 29 - 10:40 am
Ive owned alot of cars over the years, and this is one of the best. I wish they were still made. You cant beat the combination of performance and comfort.