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.
Engine choices include a 153-horsepower 2.3L four-cylinder, which comes in the Mariner I4 in both front- and all-wheel drive (FWD, AWD). Next is the 200-horsepower 3.0L V6 found in the Mariner V6 and Mariner Premier, both of which can be had in either FWD or AWD. Finally, a 2.3L Atkinson-cycle I4 with electric motor hybrid drive is available in AWD and--new this year--a less expensive FWD version. All Mariner I4, V6, and Premier models utilize a four-speed automatic transmission, while the Hybrid employs an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (eCVT).
The Mariners are nicely appointed with such features as an MP3 input jack, a roomy center console, ice-blue lighting, power windows and locks, 60/40 split rear seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise control, multiple power points, power mirrors, fog lamps, remote keyless entry, and more. The utility's tune-up interval is an impressive 100,000 miles. A choice of in-dash six-disc CD changers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, six-way power driver seat, and automatic headlights are optional on Mariner I4 and V6 models.
Standard on Premier models is leather seating front and rear with Alcantara inserts, a six-disc in-dash CD stereo with satellite radio compatibility, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, illuminated vanity mirrors, a power driver seat, 16-inch machined aluminum wheels, automatic headlamps, and a reverse sensing system. Optional equipment includes amenities like heated mirrors and heated front seats.
Several options are shared across the gas-engine models, including a lockable wet storage locker, overhead console, cargo storage system, full-sized spare tire, and integrated running boards. Across the entire Mariner line, buyers can get DVD-based navigation, Sirius satellite radio, and a roof rack.
Mariners can come equipped with one or more special equipment packages, including a $395 Class II Tow Package on V6 and Premier Mariners and a Premium Hybrid Package, which adds heated front seats, reverse sensing, roof rack with satin inserts, navigation, leather seats and heated mirrors.
Standard safety equipment on all Mariners includes four-wheel anti-lock brakes, tire pressure monitoring, front, side curtain, and front seat-side air bags, and a SecuriLock passive anti-theft system.