Ford Motor Co. freshens the styling oon some of its best-sellers in the 1998 model year - including the Ford Taurus and the Ford Explorer - and gives the Crown Victoria a new look.
Ford Division and lincoln-Mercury have not announced their 1998 model-year lineups. But a 1998 Ford Fleet Product Catalog obtained by Automotive News details model line changes, exterior and interior revisions and standard and optional features on 1998 models.
Following are 1998 Ford Motor Co. highlights:
Taurus: Taurus receives a new front fascia, a grille (a horizontal bar with the Ford oval in the middle) and restyled rear taillights for 1998.
A new SE model is offered above the G and GL sedans and below the LX and SHO models. Teh SE has a deck lid spoiler, chrome wheel covers and five-passenger seating with floor shift and SE badging.
The Taurus wagon remains available in two trim levels: GL and LX.
The 60/40 split rear searback is standard only on GL and LX models.
Crown Victoria: Ford's big rear-wheel-drive sedan has a new look. Gone is the Crown Victoria's sloping roofline, replaced with the formal top worn by the Mercury Grand Marquis. Additionally, the Crown Victoria's sheet metal and the new rear styling treatment are shared with the big 1998 Mercury.
The Crown Victoria features improved steering and handling, 16-inch wheels and larger brakes with dual-piston front brake calipers. Base, LX and Police Interceptor models will be available.
Contour: The 1998 model is on sale.
Mustang: Equipment changes.
Explorer: The sport-utility is restyled in the front and rear, and has a new liftgate with more glass area. Ford adds heated mirrors with puddle lamps, a standard-full-sized spare tire, passive anti-theft system and new speed control. Limited models have two-spoke steering wheel with remote audio, climate and speed control.
Ranger: Ford's compact pickup wears a new front end. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, replaces the base 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine mounted in 1997.
The wheelbase has been increased on both short- and long- wheelbase models. Regular Cab buyers get an additional three inches of legroom.
Up front, the 1998 Ranger gains rack-and-pinion steering and long-short arm suspension for improved ride and handling.
Windstar: The 1998 model is on sale.
Expedition: New model for 1997; no changes.
F-150: New model for 1997' no changes.
Club Wagon: No changes.
Sable: The front end is revised a bit: A grille is added and the fascia is lightly restyled. The rear also is freshened.
The flip/fold front-seat console that creates six-passenger seating is optional on all models in 1998. It had been standard in 1997. Ford had stressed the innovation of the convertible console when the models were redesign in 1996.
Mountaineer: The vehicle, basically a rebadged Explorer, gets a minor front and rear re-do. Mercury adds a new console, new wheels, a new appearance package and optional puddle lamps on the exterior mirrors. Mercury says it also has improved air conditioning performance when the vehicle is at idle or in city traffic.
Grand Marquis: The sedan's engineering changes mirror those of the Crown Victoria. Front and rear styling have been freshened. Grand Marquis retains two models: GS and LS.
Villager: A Gold Sport Package is added. The exterior of the Nautica trim is restyled.
Mystique: The 1998 model is on sale.