So we’ve been a little hard on Ford about rebadging vehicles, but the Mercury Villager was a whole different type of travesty. This particular Ford was actually based on a Nissan, so much so that the resemblance is uncanny. Ford opted to sell the Villager as a rebadged Nissan Quest, instead of utilizing the platform that the company was introducing as the Windstar. Why Ford decided to sell two completely different minivans is a mystery to this day, because the Quest was a much smaller van than the Windstar. Maybe it was to give Mercury a bit of difference from the Ford lineup, but even that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. In contrast to the Chrysler minivans that were on the market, the Villager was undersized.
Nissan went with a compact approach to the Quest, and the Villager was a carbon copy. There were some nice features to the van but nothing that warranted any real competition to Chrysler. As time went on, Mercury would advertise the Villager less and less, and you seldom see these things still on the road. The Villager was a great concept because Mercury was positioned as the premium brand at the time. But as history will show us the market for luxury minivans is minimal at best, and the Villager just never caught on. Mercury had a lot of memorable cars over the past couple of decades but the Villager is probably one of the most confusing Fords to hit the market.