A new Mariner compact SUV goes on sale in early 2007 as a 2008 model. This time, the Mariner has more Mercury specific design and other features, in contrast to the previous version, which was criticized for being little more than an upscale (and more expensive) version of Ford's Escape. The standard engine is a 2.3-liter four-cylinder offering 153 horsepower; the optional 3.0-liter V-6 comes in at 200 horsepower. Both engines come standard with a four-speed automatic transmission and either front- or optionally, all-wheel drive. Electric-assist, speed sensitive steering and a revised chassis with new suspension tuning are additional features of the '08 Mariner. The hybrid version comes with a 2.3-liter Atkinson cycle engine developing 133 horsepower teamed up with a permanent magnet AC electric motor and battery pack. The net result of the combo is 155 horsepower and 0-60 times on par with the regular V-6 Mariner—but with a boost of city-driving fuel economy of nearly 75 percent. The hybrid Mariner also gets a unique-to-this-model CVT. It can also operate on electric power only at speeds up to 30 mph, unlike "mild hybrids" that only shut down their gas engines when the vehicle is idling. All '08 Mariners get Ford's Safety Canopy head/curtain airbags system as well as front seat side-impact bags, anti-lock brakes and (hybrid version excepted) AdvanceTrac electronic stability control.
The Car Connection Consumer Review
in your area