Having received a substantial makeover in the 2008 model year, the Mercury Mariner's new design separates it more distinctly from its corporate sibling, the Ford Escape.
The vertical bar grille and prominent air intakes flanked by fog lights in the lower front valance give this small SUV a more aggressive stance than its previous generation. Our Premier trim Mariner came with 17-inch Satin-finished alloy wheels that matched the embossed "Mercury" name in the rear bumper.
The 2009 Mercury Mariner is available in four trims, I-4, V6, Premier and Hybrid. There are three engines available, a 153 horsepower 2.5-liter inline four, an electric/gas Hybrid and a 3.0 Liter dual overhead cam V6 that produces 200 horsepower. There is one transmission for the gas powered models; a six-speed automatic. The Hybrid comes with a Continuously Variable Transmission. The Mariner is available in front wheel drive or 4-wheel drive models.
All models except the 4 wheel drive V6 Premier that we drove come with front disc/rear drum brakes. Our test vehicle had disc brakes at all four corners. All Mariners come with ABS, Traction and Stability Control.
The EPA figures attained by the Front Wheel Drive 4-cylinder model are 20 miles per gallon City/26 Highway. The Hybrid delivers the best fuel economy at 34 City/30 Highway. While the conventionally powered V6 all wheel drive version is good for 17 and 22, respectively.
The interior accommodates 5 passengers comfortably and has 29.2 cubic feet of luggage space. A total of 62 cubic feet of cargo space can be accessed from the split opening rear lift gate by folding the 60/40 rear seats.
Our Premier trim level Mariner came with leather and satin-pewter appointed interior as well as a 330-watt, 6-disc CD Audiophile sound system and DVD-based navigation system.
MSRP for the Mariner line-up ranges from $21,925 for the base four wheel drive 4-cylinder version while the V6 powered Premier, shown here, starts at $26,790. The Hybrid tops the list at $30,500 for its four wheel drive model. All Mariners are covered by a 5-year, 60,000-mile power train warranty.
Those considering a small SUV with a clean look and a decidedly up-scale persona should take a good look at the 2009 Mercury Mariner.