The 2008 Mercury Sable, brand-engineered from the Ford Taurus, is a big sedan with a decent interior but poor driving characteristics. It almost seems designed as a fleet car.

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As is typical with brand-engineered cars, the main difference between the Sable and the Taurus is the grille.

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The 3.5-liter V-6 in the Sable provides adequate power to the front wheels. But we were disappointed with the fuel economy. On the plus side, it scores an excellent emissions rating.

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The design of the Sable is unremarkable. The car is surprisingly long, which translates to plenty of room in the front and rear seats.

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This Sable has the Premier trim, giving it some nice interior features. The car is also available with all-wheel-drive.

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Editor Wayne Cunningham found the trunk very sizable.

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The fit and finish is nice inside the car, with leather seats standard at the Premier trim level.

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The Sable has plenty of understeer. You don't want to drive this car fast in the turns.

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We like the design of the gauges on the instrument cluster.

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The Sable uses a six speed automatic, but its downshifts weren't particularly fast.

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We like the navigation system in the Sable, but the map graphics are ugly.

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The navigation system gives multiple choices for routes to the destination.

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Although the POI database doesn't include every retail establishment, it covers most of the bases.

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With the touchscreen, entering destinations is easy.

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The USB port for the Sync system is mounted in the center console. You can plug an iPod or any MP3 player that supports Microsoft's PlaysForSure technology into it.

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With a music device plugged into the USB port, you can ask the system to play specific artists, albums, genres, or tracks when the "Listening" icon appears at the top of the screen.

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With the navigation system and Sync present, you get to see all of the music on your MP3 player on the car's LCD.

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Drilling down to the artist list, you get a keypad on the right side that lets you quickly navigate in alphabetical order.

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We also had Sirius satellite radio as an option on our Sable, but rarely used it, as we had plenty of music on our MP3 player.

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Support for MP3 CDs is good in the six disc changer, but it almost seems superfluous when you can have an MP3 player connected.

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We were surprised at the car-shaking bass available from the Sable's sound system. The car has six woofers, one in each door and two on the rear deck.

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Along with MP3 player integration, Sync also offers excellent Bluetooth cell phone connectivity.

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Sync downloads your phone book, making it available on screen or through the voice command system.

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