The Mountaineer is a plusher, upscale version of the Ford Explorer. It seats seven with the optional third row. Optional adjustable pedals allow shorter drivers to find a comfortable driving position. The standard engine is an adequate-performing but coarse-sounding 4.0-liter V6; a more powerful 4.6-liter V8 is also available. The ride is firm and controlled. Handling is sound if unexceptional.
Alerts
There is 1 recall on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
NA
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
NA
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
NA
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
NA
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
NA
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
NA
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
NA
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
NA
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
NA
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
NA
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.
NA

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
NA
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
NA
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard. Side air bags available 1999-2001, standard from 2006. Head protection air bags available from 2002, standard from 2007. ESC available in 2004, standard from 2005.
Model Summary
The Mountaineer is a plusher, upscale version of the Ford Explorer. It seats seven with the optional third row. Optional adjustable pedals allow shorter drivers to find a comfortable driving position. The standard engine is an adequate-performing but coarse-sounding 4.0-liter V6; a more powerful 4.6-liter V8 is also available. The ride is firm and controlled. Handling is sound if unexceptional. The interior is versatile, with various folding seat arrangements. Unlike the Ford Explorer, the Mountaineer uses a permanent AWD system without a low range.
Seating
2 front, 3 rear, 2 third
Drive Wheels
AWD , Rear
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 4-liter V6 (210 hp)
  • 4.6-liter V8 (239 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2004 Mercury Mountaineer owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Ball joints

"Remove and replace both upper ball joints"

Anonymous, TN (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.0-L V6)

"failed 3 times, had to be replaced"

Anonymous, SC (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)
Power steering leaks

"Had to replace brake line & master cylinder"

Anonymous, CT (2004 Mercury Mountaineer)

"Replaced right front axle seal and upper control arm"

Anonymous, OH (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)
Wheel bearings

"had to replace the right front axle seal and upper control arm"

Anonymous, OH (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)
Tie rods

"Took the car in for routine oil change and service and was informed that tie rods were worn and needed to be replaced"

E H., MI (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)

"Tie rods had to be replaced. An expensive fix"

Anonymous, MI (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Heated or cooled seat controls

"Driver side on-off switch intermittent for heated seat"

Anonymous, OR (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.0-L V6)

"Cracks in boots plastic between rear window and lower part of hatch. The plastic just cracks"

Anonymous, NJ (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.0-L V6)

"trim panel on rear tailgate cracked in half"

Anonymous, SC (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)

"I replaced Tail gate under Warranty Next time my dime lasted a year or so now again replaced my dime It is cracked again will not replace any more @ $350.00 ea Ford faulty problem"

John P., FL (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)

"The center of the tail gate, below the window has a 5 inch crack. Every Moutaineer from this vintage has the same"

Karen K., GA (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)
Seat controls - movement

"Automatic seat movement when existing and entering does not work properly and makes changes on its own"

Anonymous, MA (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.0-L V6)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

"Antilock brake system will illuminate during ANY spirited acceleration and on normal acceleration when slowing downhill towards a changing traffic light and beginning acceleration again"

Anonymous, VA (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)

"The abs light was coming on and the repair was to replace a sensor attached to the driver's seat belt"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)
Calipers

"Seems to be poorer design than most others for areas where salt is used on the roads and vehicle not used everyday. They fail to release after braking resulting in brake pad wear and poor gas mileage"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)

"Replaced rotors and brake pads per normal wear and tear"

Anonymous, VA (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)
Parking brake

"Never really use it so it freezes up but needs to be in workable condition to pass NY State safety inspection. Seems to be related to salt use on roads in winter time"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"Found A great Mechanic fixed it first time now after many tries runs like a dream"

John P., FL (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)

"Drivers seat won't heat. Passenger seat heats all the time. Won't turn off"

Anonymous, CO (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)
Blower (fan) motor

"As was explained to me, the exchange door which allows the transfer of air into the vehicle was stuck causing an awful racket inside the vehicle"

Mary S., MD (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)
Heater system

"I've replaced the heat/ac blend door motor twice and it is broken again (constant clicking sound when you try to switch from heat to cold air). The dealer wants at least $700.00 each time this part has to be repaired"

Wendell H., GA (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveshaft or axle

"The front drive shaft on my AWD went out and two dealer and a private mechanic have been unable to fix it. I finally just removed the front wheel drive axle and it runs fine as a rear wheel drive vehicle"

Wendell H., GA (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)
Differential

"Factory limited slip differential (tow package option) started to whine, was rebuilt under extended warrantee. est 45kMi"

Sam F., MA (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)

"pinion bearing went bad in front wheel differential"

Anonymous, OH (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Gear selector or linkage

"Difficult to feel or see which gear car is in"

Anonymous, MD (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)

"Within the last year, the vehicle occasionally "clunks" into gear (forward or reverse) when shifting out of park. There's no noticeable rough shifting when the vehicle is up-shifting or down-shifting while in motion"

Dave O., KS (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.0-L V6)
Transmission leaks

"Main seal let go dumping all fluid quickly. Was repaired under extended warrantee"

Sam F., MA (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Rust

"Car has rust on pass. Side rear quater"

Anonymous, CT (2004 Mercury Mountaineer)

"Had various areas of the rear quarter panels that had rust to the point they had to be repaired"

Anonymous, MA (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.0-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Cruise control

"About three years ago the cruise control began working only intermittently. Once engaged, the cruise works properly until disengaged and then often won't re-engage until quite some time later. We have not had the problem repair or even diagnosed"

Dave O., KS (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.0-L V6)

"works intermittently; some times does not engage"

Bill M., PA (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None Unsure)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

CD player

"CD player plays CD except can't eject the CD that is stuck in player"

Anonymous, OR (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.0-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Oil leaks

"valve cover gaskets and lower oil pan gasket"

Anonymous, FL (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.0-L V6)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Upper front ball joint seals have cracked which might permit water or other contaminants to enter and damage the ball joints"

Anonymous, CO (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.5-L V8)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

"like the car"

Gary K., NE (2004 Mercury Mountaineer None 4.0-L V6)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

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