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2008 Mercury Mariner

Mercury Introduced 2008 Mariner in Miami
Mercury surprised those at the 2006 South Florida International Auto Show in Miami with a reveal of their 2008 Mariner. Both the Mercury Mariner and the Ford Escape on which it is based are being updated for the 2008 model year, with sales scheduled for early in 2007. Reviewing the first pictures and information reveals a sharper and more distinctive look, but the carryover powertrain lineup is not going to help Mercury win over any buyers. Along with the show reveal, Mercury launched a site where consumers can sign up to get more information on the new Mariner.


Mariner gets all new sheetmetal and a significant update to the interior. The new SUV stays about the same size and keeps its traditional shape, losing the lower body cladding to help with a more grown-up look. The new face, with a larger and more substantial waterfall grille, helps the Mariner look taller, stronger, and more purposeful than the outgoing version. Detail touches include a Mercury badge integrated into the housing of new headlights, which now wear chrome eyebrows. Though keeping the more traditional SUV proportions, Mariner is still a front-drive-based, unit-body transverse-engine “car-based” SUV.

Just the Beginning for This Interior Look
According to Mercury, this is the direction of Mercury’s future interiors. There are HVAC vents with horizontal slats and a steering wheel similar to the Milan. The center stack offers audio and HVAC controls with large, easy-to-grab round controls designed to look like they are poking through the console, and the new setup includes an MP3 player/iPod jack. There are new seats (including optional two-tone seats with alcantara suede inserts), door trim panels, center console, and floor-mounted shifter. The change from green backlighting to Ice Blue will contribute to the sophisticated look Mercury is going for. Storage space should be improved, with changes including a center console big enough for a laptop and three levels of storage; the bottom level even has a hidden compartment that goes to the floor for hiding valuables.


Hybrid Provides Only Interesting Powertrain Option
As mentioned, powertrains carry over unchanged, though tweaks to the hybrid software make for smoother and more transparent operation. Availability of the hybrid expands to front-drive Mariners as well as AWD models. Engines include a 153HP 2.3L DOHC 16v I4 and a 200HP 3.0L DOHC 24v V6, neither particularly competitive. There are more powerful I4 and V6 options in many small SUVs, including the 265HP 3.5L V6 in Ford’s own Edge and Lincoln MKX. Mercury’s only bragging rights in the powertrain department go to having a hybrid option where most do not.

The Least Visible Changes May Make the Biggest Impact
The overall NVH and ride and handling improvements should make the biggest impact on the basic goodness of the new Mariner. After all, improving the driving experience is at the heart of improving owner satisfaction. Several interior and exterior changes are intended to improve NVH, including ditches in the roof to reduce wind noise and specially designed larger sideview mirrors, and chassis and suspension updates improve ride and handling. Among chassis updates are a move to electric power steering and a retuned suspension. The optional AWD system carries over, but the electronic aids add rollover protection. Side curtain airbags are new and are designed to slide between the glass and occupants as they inflate, to help protect passengers who may be “improperly” resting their heads against a window.


  • fred| July 30, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    The 2008 Mercury Mariner is the best small size SUV that I have seen.

  • michael hansen| April 4, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    thank you for the mariner its a joy to drive i have folded down the back seats and use it for work … im a
    lic contractor who has used a truck for 25 yrs
    this mariner wow .thank you

  • hank brickman| January 26, 2007 at 10:43 am

    Question: Are there any rebates on the 2008
    Mercury Mariner?
    Hi Hank:
    Mercury is running aggressive leasing programs on the 2008 Mariner right now. This implies that they are subventing (i.e. discounting) their leases. Sounds like a very good deal for an efficiently sized SUV that you can dress up very nicely. I particularly like the two-tone leather interior.

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