DETROIT - Mercury is replacing the Mountaineer's standard V-8 engine with a 4.0-liter V-6 in 1998.
The company said it is bowing to customer and dealer demand in making the 5.0-liter V-8 optional in the sport-utility.
'On customer surveys we found people were interested in the V-6 engine because of fuel economy,' said Max Kapadia, chief program engineer for the Explorer, Ranger and Mountaineer. 'The fuel efficiency is 21/2 to 3 mpg better with the six-cylinder engine. Dealers and customers wanted it.'
The V-6 engine also permits Mercury to offer the Mountaineer at a lower base price, Kapadia said. The single-overhead-cam 4.0-liter V-6, which is teamed with a five-speed automatic transmission, also is used in the Ford Explorer.
The Mountaineer's sohc V-6 generates an estimated 205 hp at 5,000 rpm. The V-8 produces 215 hp at 4,200 rpm. The Mountaineer and the Explorer also share the 5.0-liter V-8.
The Control Trac four-wheel-drive system used in the Ford Explorer is optional with the Mountaineer's V-6 engine. The V-8 Mountaineer continues to be offered with a four-speed automatic transmission in two-wheel or full-time all-wheel drive.
The Mountaineer, which is basically a rebadged Explorer, sports a new front grille and headlamps in 1998. The rear liftgate, taillamps and rear bumper are restyled. It also is equipped with a new antilock brake system that Mercury says provides shorter stopping distances.