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2008 Mercury Mariner Sport Utility Crossover

FWD 4dr V6

Starting at | Starting at 18 MPG City - 24 MPG Highway

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  • $22,555 original MSRP
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2008 Mercury Mariner Sport Utility Crossover

Benefits of Driving a 2008 Mercury Mariner Sport Utility Crossover

Mercury's 2008 Mariner delivers about-town practicality in an attractive package. There is no shortage of small SUVs, and the redesign really does distinguish the Mariner from round and bubbly offerings from Honda and Toyota, while avoiding the sharp boxiness of a Jeep Liberty. The Mariner is priced right, and its multiple engine and drivetrain options--including FWD and AWD hybrid drive--make it a solid bet for around-town practicality in almost any condition.

What's new for 2008?

For 2008, the Mercury Mariner has been redesigned outside and in. Exterior sheet metal carries bolder lines with a more distinctive grille and headlight treatment, as well as stronger wheel well arches. Inside, the passenger cabin is more pleasing visually, as well as more user-friendly and thoughtfully laid out. Nothing of the Mariner's underpinnings has been changed, though trim names have. Gone are the Convenience and Luxury monikers of last year, replaced by names directly reflective of the engines underneath--I4 and V6, respectively. Only the Premier name remains. The Mariner Hybrid adds a less expensive front-wheel-drive model to its popular all-wheel-drive model. Prices across the model range have changed little, though the top-line Premier models are now more than $1,000 cheaper than the cars they replace.

Model Strengths

  • Wide-ranging powertrain options, including a gas-sipping Hybrid
  • well-appointed across the range
  • comfortable ride quality.

Model Review

The 2008 Mariner shares its engines and chassis with the Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute, though its distinctive looks--especially at the front--are all Mercury. Buyers have several models from which to choose when browsing the Mariner lineup, and each has something different to offer.

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2008 Mercury Mariner Sport Utility Crossover

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Review: 2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid

Source: MSN Autos

Mercury's fuel-sipping gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle, the Mariner sport-utility vehicle, doesn't get the publicity that other hybrids do.

And it's apropos, considering that in recent years, officials at Mercury's parent company, Ford Motor Co., didn't seem clear about Mercury's role as a car brand or, for that matter, what kind of future Mercury had.

Now, at least, the oft-forgotten brand is getting more company attention again, as evidenced by the 2008 Mariner Hybrid that's refreshed inside and out, has more safety features and is offered in a new, lower-priced version that starts nearly $2,000 less than the 2007 Mariner Hybrid.

Specifically, starting manufacturer's suggested retail price for the new model-a 2008 Mariner Hybrid with front-wheel drive-is about $26,000. This compares with the nearly $28,000 starting price for a 2007 Mariner Hybrid that was offered only with four-wheel drive.

Top SUV fuel economy rating
The new, two-wheel-drive Mariner Hybrid joins its Ford brand sibling-the 2008 Ford Escape-in garnering top SUV fuel mileage ratings from the federal government for the model year.

With front-wheel drive, the 2008 Mariner Hybrid is rated at 34 miles per gallon in city driving and 30 mpg on the highway, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

These ratings use the government's more stringent mileage calculations that go into effect for 2008 and are better than many small cars, including a 2008 Nissan Sentra with gasoline-powered four cylinder.

And it means that a careful Mariner Hybrid driver can travel close to 500 miles on a single, 15-gallon tank of gas.

The reason: The five-passenger Mariner Hybrid is propelled by a 133-horsepower four-cylinder engine and supplements its power with assist from an on-board, 70-kilowatt electric motor that can deliver instant torque and boost total horsepower to 155.

The hybrid system was developed internally by Ford Motor engineers but is so similar to the one that Toyota pioneered in its Prius that Ford has paid Toyota patent royalties.

What about Toyota, you ask? Toyota's hybrid SUVs, including the Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX 400h, have higher-powered V6s mated to electric motors and thus have lower fuel economy ratings than the Mariner Hybrid.

And, the Highlander and Lexus SUVs have considerably higher starting prices than that of the Mariner.

But be aware that owing to Ford officials' premium positioning of Mercury and its products, Mercury's only hybrid vehicle still is priced above the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid on which it's based. The starting retail price for a 2008 Escape Hybrid with two-wheel drive is less than $25,500.

The Mariner Hybrid also is some $5,000 more than a base, gasoline-only, 2008 Mariner with front-wheel drive and a 153-horsepower four-cylinder engine.

Not a new model
The five-passenger Mariner Hybrid compact SUV dates to calendar 2005, when it debuted as a 2006 model. But consumer awareness and sales were low.

The new model promises to do better, though buyers won't find anything-not even the word "hybrid"-anywhere on the 2008 Mariner Hybrid sheet metal.

Instead, a subtle green leaf entwined with the image of a road is part of the Mariner badge that's on every rear liftgate and front door.

Otherwise, the Mariner Hybrid looks like other 2008 Mariners, with new, larger-than-ever, silver-colored grille, big Mercury logos and taillights that look almost customized because of their white and chrome design. (You will find the word "hybrid" under the hood on the engine cover.)

Inside, about the only thing that alerts a driver that this is a hybrid is the charge/assist gauge in the instrument panel that can indicate when the onboard nickel-metal hydride battery pack is being engaged.

The Mariner Hybrid also has a continuously variable transmission that a driver operates like an automatic.

Mostly drives like a regular vehicle
Like many other gas-electric hybrids, the Mariner starts a bit strangely. In the tester, for example, I heard a click from behind the back seats, where the onboard battery pack was. And a diagram of an SUV with green arrows underneath illuminates in the instrument panel to alert the driver that the Mariner Hybrid is on.

But once I started driving, the Mariner Hybrid tester with two-wheel drive felt-and sounded-more like a regular vehicle.

For example, there was some wind noise at highway speeds and some body roll in curves and turns.

Unfortunately, I also heard a good amount of suspension noise from the area of the 16-inch wheels, where unsprung weight-basically, unmanaged mass at the wheels-was a regular, intruding sensation for driver and passengers.

On the other hand, I appreciated that I didn't experience any hesitation or stutter when the Mariner Hybrid's electric power would add in with the gas engine power, such as when I was accelerating. This kind of seamless mixing and matching of power has been problematic in some, earlier hybrids.

I just wished that I didn't hear a high-pitch whine inside the Mariner Hybrid now and then. It was annoying when it wasn't covered up by the radio, and it seemed to have something to do with the operation of the electric motor. So I never could drive in automotive "silence."

Four cylinder is weak on its own
Mercury officials say the hybrid can travel up to 25 miles an hour on electric power alone.

But the electric power also supplements acceleration at just about any speed and helps give this weighty Mariner adequate get up and go.

Too bad that the 2.3-liter four cylinder can be very buzzy during hard acceleration, and the buzziness carried through to a vibration in the test Mariner's steering wheel.

Still, I managed 26 mpg in combined city/highway driving, and this was without modifying my somewhat aggressive driving habits to conserve fuel.

Odds and ends
Like other Mariners, the hybrid gives driver and passengers a pleasing, bit higher ride above the pavement than does a car. I could see through many sedans in front of me, for example.

Yet, getting inside was easy. At 5 feet 4, I merely turned and set myself onto the front seats. Rear seats, however, sat a bit higher up and I needed to scooch in a bit.

Disappointingly, rear-door windows open barely halfway, and some trim pieces on the test Mariner Hybrid weren't consistently aligned.

Still, legroom, front and rear, can be apportioned for comfortable riding for most adults. Note that the Mariner Hybrid does not offer third-row seats.

New for 2008, Mercury added standard side-mounted, front-seat airbags to the safety features.

The 2008 Mariner Hybrid first earned only three out of five stars in driver protection in government frontal crash testing. A later test showed improvement to four out of five stars.

The front-passenger rating each time remained at five out of five stars and was the same, top rating that the Mariner Hybrid earned for side-crash protection.

A final note: The Mariner Hybrid has a third sibling-the 2008 Mazda Tribute Hybrid. But in 2008, this vehicle is only going to be sold in California.

Printable Version

2008 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
Traction/Stability Control Std
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Std
Rear Head side Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Fog Lamps Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2008 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 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance 5 Years/60,000 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

2008 Mercury Mariner Sport Utility Crossover

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