EDITORS NOTEBOOK: 2008 Mercury Mariner Premier 4WD V 6

Read Rusty Blackwell’s comments on driving the 2008 Mercury Mariner Premier 4WD V-6.

This vehicle makes it clear that Mercurys are pretty much Fords with nicer interior and more stylish taillights. But seriously, I do like what they’ve done with the cool light-colored fabric inlays in the seats. On this ten-degree morning, though, my problem with the seats (and probably no different from the Ford Escape’s buckets) is that the seat heaters have one stage, and it’s superhot … just as hot as many other cars’ hottest settings.

I was unimpressed by the heavy-feeling Mariner’s lack of quickness off the line, but the 3.0-liter V-6 seems to get a second wind between 4000 and 5000 rpm. (Peak torque is at a lofty 4850 rpm.) The four-speed automatic is unsure at times, but at least you can select a specific gear, unlike some Ford products that give you a choice between "D" and "L" only. Body roll is prevalent, but the ride and handling is actually pretty decent for this right-size (for most people) SUV.

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19 City / 24 Hwy

Cargo (Std/Max):

NA / 66.2 cu. ft.