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SAFETY | 7 out of 10
Five stars, front impact; five stars, side impact
Good," frontal offset impact; "good," side impact; Top Safety Pick
Safety features include ABS, traction control
Many reviews read by TheCarConnection.com mention that the 2009 Mercury Mariner rides on an underlying design that’s at least nine years old, but it manages to perform well in crash tests.
Both the IIHS and NHTSA award the Mercury Mariner their highest possible marks in every impact category. In NHTSA tests, the 2009 Mercury Mariner earns a five-star rating in both frontal impact tests, as well as both of the side impact tests. The IIHS also gives the Mercury Mariner its highest possible rating, "good," in both the frontal offset and side impact tests. Furthermore, the IIHS names the 2009 Mercury Mariner a Top Safety Pick, citing the Mercury Mariner's "good performance in front, side, and rear tests and standard electronic stability control."
In addition to an electronic stability control system, the Mercury Mariner comes with all the safety features expected on SUVs. ConsumerGuide reports that "available safety features include ABS, traction control, antiskid system, curtain side airbags and front side airbags." Edmunds also notes that "a rollover sensor" for the curtain airbags is standard, but on the downside, they point out that the Mercury Mariner's "rear brakes were downgraded to inferior drums in 2009, and the '09 Mariner continues to bear this badge of shame." TheCarConnection.com’s editors remark that drum brakes bring added weight and inferior high-speed braking ability, but they cost less.
One other thing to point out is that the Mercury Mariner is one of just a few small sport-utility vehicles to be rated three stars for rollover from NHTSA, pointing to its higher chance to roll over than lower or wider vehicles.
Some SUVs are notorious for their poor visibility, but the compact Mercury Mariner doesn't suffer from this common SUV criticism. In fact, ConsumerGuide proclaims that the Mercury Mariner offers "fine all-around visibility," thanks to its commanding driving position and large windows.
The 2009 Mercury Mariner has a few safety drawbacks: drum brakes in the rear, and a lower-than-typical rollover rating.