The Mercury Mariner is the mechanical twin of Ford’s Escape and the Mazda Tribute. These small SUV’s make the most of the compromises made during their design. They afford the high seating position that many people crave. They offer a commanding view of the road ahead and can be filled with children or groceries, even in the winter months, when in climate weather would slow down most cars. The mariner has its share of modern amenities and technological features, although it’s overall design is starting to show its age compared with class leaders such as those from Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai.
The Mariner is offered with either a 171 HP four cylinder or a 240 HP 3.0 liter V-6. Both of which are mated to a six speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive comes as an option for both engines.
The standard feature list on the mariners is fairly extensive. They come with air conditioning, all power controls, keyless entry, and tinted window glass. Options include a sunroof, navigation, heated front seats, and automated self-parking feature, and an upgraded audio system.
Engines: 2.5L I-4, 3.0L V-6, 2.5L I-4 w/electric motor
Transmissions: 6-speed automatic, continuously variable transmission (CVT)
Models: I4 4×2, I4 4×4, V6 4×2, V6 4×4, Hybrid 4×2, Hybrid 4×4
Several features have been added to the Mercury Mariner for 2010. These include integrated spotted mirrors, an available rear-view camera system, Active Park Assist self-parallel-parking system, and the MyKey system that can restrict some vehicle functions when desired. Also new is the Sync with Traffic, Directions and Information system that adds GPS functionality as well as Bluetooth connectivity.
The Mariner looks substantially less butch than the Escape thanks to the signature Mercury grille, clear taillights, front and rear fascias. The latter is accented by a Mercury-badged chrome strip under the tailgate.
At 35.6 inches, the Mariner is a bit lacking in rear-seat legroom but offers up a maximum of 67.2 cubic-feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down.
The Mariner’s 2.5-liter I-4 packs 171 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque, which is more than enough for this compact SUV in most situations. Those planning on doing a lot of heavy hauling or towing should opt for the 240 horsepower V-6, which can also tow up to 3500 lbs. Meanwhile, the Mariner Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient SUVs available.
The Mercury Mariner comes standard with six airbags including side curtain airbags for both rows of seats plus stability and traction control. Integrated spotter mirrors help the driver see traffic in blind spots.
I4 4×2: 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway
I4 4×4: 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway
V6 4×2: 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway
V6 4×4: 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway
Hybrid 4×2: 34 mpg city/31 mpg highway
Hybrid 4×4: 30 mpg city/27 mpg highway
- Good fuel economy
- Hybrid option
- Rear-seat legroom
A softer-looking compact SUV
- Honda CR-V
- Subaru Forester