By KBB.com Editors
Compared to the somewhat rugged look of the Ford Escape, the Mercury Mariner, which was redesigned for 2008 with new sheetmetal and a fresh interior, offers more of an upscale, urban appeal. Although the two vehicles are mechanically identical, the 2008 Mariner's exterior clearly sets it apart from the Escape in both looks and image. Among its strong points is the powertrain line-up, with an economical four-cylinder, an optional V6 and an available Hybrid version. The Mariner is a worthy alternative to the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Saturn VUE, and could be well worth the price for those looking for a compact SUV with unique styling and an available hybrid powertrain.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're in the market for a small SUV and would like the option of a V6 engine or hybrid powertrain, and with more refined styling than the Ford Escape, the 2008 Mercury Mariner would be worth a look.You May Not Like This Car If...
The 2008 Mercury Mariner is somewhat lacking in interior space, especially when considering a third-row option as is available with the Toyota RAV4. Cargo space is also limited, even with the seats folded, making hauling large objects an issue. Also, those looking for a Mercury vehicle with the new SYNC hands-free communication and entertainment system will not find it in the Mariner.What's New for 2008
The 2008 Mercury Mariner receives an all-new look including new front and rear fascias, headlamps, taillamps and Mercury's signature waterfall grille. On the inside, the Mariner has new seats, center console, door trim panels and Ice Blue lighting for the instrument panel.Driving It Driving Impressions
On our test drive the V6 engine in the 2008 Mercury Mariner provided decent torque for getting on the freeway and the electric power steering had good feedback. Cabin noise was minimal and the "top-of-dash" display proved to be easy to read, giving all the important information, including the interior climate and radio station settings, without the driver having to look all over the dashboard while going down the road. The ride was comfortable, which can be attributed in part to the premium leather seats with Alcantara suede inserts, and the optional navigation system was easy to use and follow.Favorite Features
Reverse Sensing System
Although the Mariner is small and easy to maneuver in tight parking situations, this feature is still very helpful for peace of mind.
AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control
Other vehicles in its class offer a stability system, but the Mariner's AdvanceTrac uses a secondary roll-rate sensor, along with automatically and selectively applying the brakes and reducing engine power, to help reduce the chances of a roll-over.