I tested the Montego last week and would have to concur with Car and Driver and others that the car is grossly underpowered, possibly dangerous for urban driving. I also thought that the interior was bland and in some instances quite "plasticy."
Rumor has it they will come out with another power plant in 2007..it needs it or else the these cars will be viewed as solid but unspectacular, like the Taurus and Sable they are supposed to replace.
As disappointing as the Montego was, I thought the Mariner was quite impressive. Handling, interior, layout, looks--fine. The noise bothered me, however. But I think that vehicle can bring some folks into the showroom.
If you think the Montego is underpowered and dangerous, you should think the same with the Mariner. The montego is faster at all ends of the spectrum. Come on, get a life. Sure the car is not as fast as a Mustang, but has plenty of power do drive on any urban or suburban areas.
The new 500 and Montegos are very nice, roomy and has probably some of the best seats in the industry for comfortable driving. I would only recommend a paint sripe on the side to match the inteior and a little chrome or two tone paint to set the exterior off.
C&D didn't say the Montego or the 500 were grossly underpowered. Although the clearly prefer the 300 with the hemi, the Montego/500 will out accelerate the 300 with the optional 3.5L V-6. Also, the Montego you considered underpowered will beat the Mariner you praise from 0-60 and through the quarter-mile.