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2006 Mercury Mariner Sport Utility Crossover

4dr Convenience

Starting at | Starting at 22 MPG City - 26 MPG Highway

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  • $21,380 original MSRP
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Printable Version

2006 Mercury Mariner Sport Utility Crossover

Printable Version

2006 Mercury Mariner Sport Utility Crossover

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2006 Mercury Mariner

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

The Mercury Mariner, based on the Ford Escape, debuted as a 2005 model and was hailed for its responsive handling, smooth road manners and available V6 engine. For 2006, the Mariner continues relatively unchanged except for a new exterior color, interior color, several equipment additions and, the big news, a Mariner Hybrid model for buyers interested in an SUV with better fuel economy and reduced emissions.

Mariner comes standard with front-wheel drive (2WD) and a four-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. It's easily and affordably upgraded with all-wheel drive (4WD) for stable traction in the snow and a powerful V6 for more responsive performance. The 2006 Mariner Hybrid, with the same gasoline/electric powertrain that was first offered in the 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid, comes only with all-wheel-drive and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

The 2006 Mercury Mariner continues unchanged on the outside, its slick and clean design accented by Mercury's avant-garde styling cues. Inside is a pleasant and calming cabin with room enough for the kind of stuff people who are moving up from the Milan sedan or retreating from the more truck-like Mountaineer need to haul around.

As part of a carefully scripted, and enormously expensive, re-birth and rejuvenation of the Mercury brand, the Mariner is intended to offer a step up in status over the Ford Escape.

Compact sport utility vehicles are popular because they're smaller and easier to park than midsize SUVs like the Ford Explorer. They're also lighter and have more fuel-efficient engines and, of course, they're less expensive. Yet they offer cargo space with fold-down back seats and a commanding view of the road that comes with a higher seating position.

The Mercury Mariner is a good example. It's a nice package. The size and basics are right. Fuel economy is respectable with the four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines and downright impressive with the Mariner Hybrid. Plus, it's affordable even when fully optioned.

Model Lineup

The Mercury Mariner is available with a choice of four-cylinder, V6, and gas/electric hybrid powertrains. All models come with a four-speed automatic transmission except for the Hybrid, which comes with the CVT. Three trim levels are available:

Convenience ($21,380) features comforts expected in prestige brand vehicles. Among them: air conditioning; power windows, mirrors and central locking; solar-tinted side glass; four-speaker stereo with CD-player; cruise control; and leather-wrapped, tilt steering wheel. Seats are upholstered in cloth and the front seats are manually adjustable. The Convenience model comes with the 153-horsepower four-cylinder engine. All-wheel drive is available ($23,130), which Mercury calls intelligent four-wheel drive. Options include privacy glass ($275), a full-size spare wheel ($105), side step bars ($350) and a rear cargo Convenience package ($150).

Luxury ($23,285) comes with the more powerful, 200-horsepower V6 and privacy glass, and it's available with all-wheel drive ($25,035). It comes standard with a six-way power driver's seat. The Moon and Tune package ($1,240) adds a power moonroof, roof rack with crossbars, and AM/FM audio system with satellite radio, a six-disc in-dash CD changer and four speakers. Options include leather-trimmed upholstery ($795) and a six-disc CD changer ($345), a Comfort package ($595) that offers automatic headlamps, electrochromic inside rearview mirror, overhead console, message center with compass, illuminated vanity mirrors and, new for 2006, a perimeter alarm. Other options: a Moonroof package ($895), a Class II Trailer Tow package ($395) with hitch and four-pin connector, and a roof rack with cross bars ($160).

Premier ($25,035) and Premier 4WD ($26,785) are the top of the line, adding a seven-speaker stereo with subwoofer; heated outside mirrors and driver's seat; power-adjustable front seats; a premium, suede-like upholstery; and polished wheels. Optional is a reverse-sensing system ($255) and Moonroof package ($895).

A Rear Cargo Convenience package with retractable cargo cover and cargo management gear is available for the above models.

Mariner Hybrid ($29,225) comes loaded with an AM/FM six-disc in-dash CD player with four speakers, all-wheel drive, electric power-assisted steering, power four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and Quick Brake Assist, power windows, locks, mirrors and accessory delay, keyless entry, driver side keyless entry keypad, auto dimming rearview mirror, specific 16-inch aluminum wheels, front fog lamps, roof rack, privacy glass, power six-way driver's seat, air conditioning, leather-wrapped steering wheel with speed control, and a passive anti-theft system.

The Hybrid's Premium package ($3,795) adds a navigation system with integrated radio and hybrid features, heated leather seating surfaces, heated exterior side mirrors, Reverse Sensing System, cargo shade, and a Safety package featuring Safety Canopy side air curtains with a rollover sensor and front-seat side-impact air bags. Options include a power moonroof ($585), the Safety package ($595), the Audiophile sound system with a six-disc in-dash CD player and seven speakers ($595), and the Hybrid Energy/Audiophile/Navigation system ($1,995).

Safety features that come standard on gasoline-powered Mariners include dual two-stage frontal airbags; antilock brakes (ABS) with Brake Assist; and Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH). Side curtain airbags for head protection and front seat-mounted side-impact airbags for torso protection are optional ($595).

Walkaround

The Mercury Mariner is a compact four-door, five-passenger, sport utility vehicle. If you've seen the Mercury Mountaineer, you've seen the Mariner, albeit an unSanforized one after a trip or two through a hot-water car wash. Granted, the Mariner's headlights are more rectangular, and the fog lamp nacelles are more parallelogram than up-tipped eyebrow, but otherwise, and other than size, there's little visually to distinguish between the larger and smaller Mercury SUVs.

The trademark satin-finish aluminum vertical-bar grille sits on a matching bumper inset, turn indicator lights are housed where the headlamp lenses wrap around the fenders and the central recess in the hood imbues the front fenders with a subtle shoulder look.

Borrowing from European custom, small turn-indicator repeater lights are positioned in the front quarter panels just aft of and slightly above the front wheel wells. Understated cladding preserves and protects the lower door panels and ties together the minimalist front and rear fender flares, nicely finishing the mid-door, horizontal character line optically connecting the front and rear bumpers. The tall glasshouse is properly proportioned to balance the body side panels. The angled C-pillar behind the rear side door accentuates the people-orientation of the Mariner while acknowledging it can haul cargo, too.

From the rear, the Mariner is, well, a sport utility vehicle. There's not much that can be done to stylize a liftgate, taillamps and bumper, other than with trim bits and pieces, and the Mariner's designers did their best with what they had. Tasteful, satin-finish, grille-like accents brace the taillamps. The side character line continues across the liftgate, swelling in the center to form a surround for the license plate recess. Yet another satin-finish inset separates the step-top of the rear bumper and the body-color lower fascia. Bright chrome exhaust tips finish the package.

The Mariner Hybrid is distinguished by a small vent in the driver's side C-pillar, which channels cooling air to the battery pack, Hybrid badging on the liftgate, front doors and acoustic engine cover, and unique 16-inch five-spoke wheels.

Interior Features

To a large extent, what holds for the Mercury Mariner's exterior holds for its interior. If you like the Mountaineer's appointments and look, you'll like the Mariner's, as the designers have hewn closely to theme the larger Mountaineer established.

Seemingly central to the Mariner's essence is satin-finish aluminum, which abounds inside as well as out. From the instrument bezels to the center stack's vertical braces to the shift lever cap to the center console to the logo in the steering wheel hub to the flat surfaces on the door armrests, satin-finish trims and highlights. About the only interior metal surfaces that aren't satin-finish are the chrome inside door handles and accent ringing the shift lever in the center console. The theme is successful and the overall look is one of polish and refinement, helped by wood-grain trim on the center stack and console.

The Hybrid's interior feels a bit more upscale due to its leather trim and two-tone seating and door trim. The instrument panel is slightly different and includes a battery indicator dial, informing the driver which way the current in the electric system is flowing: to the battery during regenerative braking or from the battery to the electric motor when it's operating in assistance of the gasoline engine. The optional Hybrid Energy Audio and Navigation System uses a four-inch color screen to display the energy flow, the state of the electric motor system and the battery pack. It's a valuable tool by providing positive feedback to the driver in search of the best fuel mileage.

The front bucket seats are nicely contoured and bolstered, but we found ourselves squirming around in search of a more comfortable zone after only a short stay.

Cruise control buttons are smoothly integrated into the sides of the steering wheel hub. Power window buttons, however, are of the old-school type, i.e., non-child/curious pet-proof. The stereo, too, shouts standard Ford gear; as functional and easy-to-use as its controls are, they don't quite make premium grade in terms of their appearance. The air conditioning is manual and there's no upgrade to automatic climate control available, not even on the Premier. People who don't take advantage of automatic climate controls anyway won't miss this.

The rear seat, even though a split-to-fold 60/40 unit, is essentially a two-piece bench, as in, not the most accommodating for long drives. On the plus side, all five seating positions have three-point belts and adjustable head restraints.

The rear seat folds almost flat, making for commodious cargo space. Tie-down hooks are provided to secure odd-shaped or mobile objects. The rear quarter panel has open storage bins for smaller items. Front seatbacks host map pockets, as do both front doors. The overhead console (which the optional moonroof displaces) has two swing-down bins. The center console has two cupholders and a shallow bin forward of the shift lever.

Where the Mariner loses points is where its target buyers are most likely to notice: insulation from outside annoyances. For the most part, we found it at best only marginally quieter than the Escape, with road noise and tire hiss clearly audible, and noticeable, if barely, wind whistle from the side windows and mirrors. On the redeeming side, fit and finish in the cabin was up to par, with no buzzes, squeaks or rattles.

Driving Impressions

The Mercury Mariner is a sport utility vehicle, not a car, so you should not expect anything like a boulevard cruiser ride. And you won't get one. But you will get one of the better rides in the Mariner's class of compact SUVs. Drawn as it is on the foundation of the number-one selling Ford Escape, which has been around in current configuration long enough to have been thoroughly debugged in the basic elements, the Mariner accounts for itself better than most in the class.

In the power department, the V6 delivers as expected, pulling readily and cleanly through the heart of the power band, if not with an abundance of gusto; this is a consequence, no doubt, of less-than-impressive torque. Also, and as most engines in this class do, it labors at the extreme top end, but few if any Mariner drivers are likely to explore that territory.

We haven't driven the Convenience model with the four-cylinder engine, but our experience in the identically powered Ford Escape showed that it delivers adequate power. Naturally, we preferred the V6 for its stronger response.

The four-speed automatic transmission works well with either engine, admirably holding the appropriate gear for extended periods when stressed by terrain or load.

Nor have we had a chance at the Mariner Hybrid, but we expect it to perform briskly due to its 155 horsepower when both the electric traction motor and gasoline engine operate together under full acceleration. Our experience in the virtually identical Ford Escape Hybrid was extremely positive, so we're inclined to recommend the Mariner Hybrid highly. What we found with the Escape Hybrid is that the driver does not need to know anything or do anything differently than he or she would in a regular gas model. It's smooth and powerful and pleasant. The Mariner Hybrid rates an EPA-estimated 33 mpg City and 29 mpg Highway. Note that the city mileage is higher than the highway mileage, the opposite of gasoline-powered vehicles and a benefit of the hybrid's regenerative braking. Compare those figures to the four-cylinder all-wheel-drive Mariner's EPA estimate of 21/24 City/Highway, and the potential savings become more clear. The all-wheel-drive six-cylinder Mariner's EPA mileage estimate is an even more compelling argument for the Hybrid, as it manages just 19/23 mpg on the EPA test cycles. Our experience is that hybrids don't achieve the fuel economy of the EPA tests but that skilled drivers are rewarded with impressive levels of efficiency.

The Hybrid's CVT transmission, which delivers power smoothly without needing to shift gears either up or down, should be a delight for commuting and stop-and-go urban traffic. CVTs take a little getting used to as under acceleration they seamlessly adjust the ratio to keep the engine operating in the optimum power band, which sometimes has the feeling of a slipping clutch or snowmobile engine. Drivers who are able to embrace this are rewarded with smooth, efficient operation.

The 4WD system available for most models operates seamlessly, smoothly rerouting power without hesitation through its computer-controlled clutch to the rear wheels almost before the front wheels begin to lose grip. It will comfortably and confidently master snow-filled parking lots at the ski lodge and muddy driveways at the weekend cabin. However, the Mariner is not designed to navigate truly rugged terrain off road.

The Mariner tracks well and rides comfortably at highway speeds for a vehicle of its size and stature. Steering is certain, with good on-center feel. The suspension is tuned to conquer all but the truly egregious pavement pockmarks. There's little body lean in curves.

The brakes on our V6 model were responsive and the pedal feel was solid. We managed to avoid situations requiring the intervention of the ABS, but again, from experience with the Escape, should the occasion arise, you'll experience a well-modulated stop telegraphed

Summary

The 2006 Mercury Mariner is a good choice among compact SUVs. It's a good road car and the back seats fold flat for hauling stuff. The V6 model delivers the better performance than the standard four-cylinder. Whether the extra cost for the Hybrid can be offset by the increased fuel savings is a matter for the mathematicians and your own driving habits, but there is the comforting thought that fewer harmful emissions are coming from the tailpipe than from a full gasoline-powered SUV.

NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Tom Lankard filed this report from San Jose, California; Greg Brown contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$21,380
Model lineup:
Mercury Mariner Convenience FWD ($21,380); Convenience 4WD ($23,130); Luxury FWD ($23,285); Luxury 4WD ($25,035); Premier FWD ($25,035); Premier 4WD ($26,785); Mariner Hybrid ($29,225)
Engines:
2.3-liter dohc 16-valve inline-4; 3.0-liter dohc 24-valve V6; 2.3-liter dohc 16-valve Atkinson cycle inline-4 coupled to a permanent magnet AC synchronous motor
Transmissions:
4-speed automatic; CVT
Safety equipment (Standard):
dual two-stage frontal airbags; antilock brakes (ABS) with Brake Assist; LATCH
Safety equipment (Optional):
seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags; reverse sensing system
Basic warranty:
3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in:
Avon Lake, Ohio
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Mercury Mariner Premier 4WD ($26,785)
Standard equipment:
air conditioning; power windows, mirrors, central locking and front seats; cruise control; AM/FM six-speaker stereo with 6-disc CD changer and subwoofer; leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel; leather heated seats with Preferred Suede inserts; heated outside mirrors; automatic headlamps; electrochromic inside mirror; message center with compass display; keyless entry with driver-side keypad
Options as tested:
seat-mounted side-impact airbags and curtain airbags ($595); reverse sensing system ($255); side step bars ($350); power moonroof with roof rack and cross bars ($895); rear cargo convenience package ($150); Class II trailer tow package ($395)
Destination charge:
615
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$29,425
Layout:
all-wheel drive
Engine:
3.0-liter double overhead cam 24-valve V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
200 @ 6000
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
193 @ 4850
Transmission:
4-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
19/23 mpg.
Wheelbase:
103.1 in.
Length/width/height:
174.3/70.1/67.9 in.
Track, f/r:
61/60.4 in.
Turning circle:
35.4 ft.
Seating capacity:
5
Head/hip/leg room, f:
40.4/53.4/41.6 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:
39.2/49.1/35.6 in.
Cargo volume:
66.3 cu. ft.
Payload:
N/A
Towing capacity:
N/A
Suspension F:
independent, MacPherson strut, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension R:
independent, multi-link, coil springs
Ground clearance:
8.4 in.
Curb weight:
3520 lbs.
Tires:
P235/70R16
Brakes, f/r:
disc/disc with ABS and Brake Assist in.
Fuel capacity:
16.5 gal.

Printable Version

2006 Mercury Mariner Sport Utility Crossover

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Opt
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Fog Lamps Std
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2006 Mercury Mariner Sport Utility Crossover

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance 3 Years/36,000 Miles

Mercury Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Manufacturer's 7 years / 100,000 miles Powertrain Limited Warranty from original in-service date. 12-month/12,000-mile comprehensive limited warranty. See dealer for details. Rental Car Reimbursement $30/day.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 2009-2011 model years & less than 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 172
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2006 Mercury Mariner Sport Utility Crossover

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