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2009 Mercury Mariner

Overview
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2009 Mercury Mariner Review

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Compared to the somewhat rugged look of the Ford Escape, the Mercury Mariner, – redesigned for 2008 with new sheetmetal and a fresh interior – offers a more upscale, urban take on the small SUV. Although the two vehicles are mechanically identical, the 2009 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 a new 2.5-liter 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 2009 Mercury Mariner would be worth a look.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking to seat more than five, the 2009 Mercury Mariner does not offer the option of a third-row seat.

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Mercury Mariner receives an all-new 2.5-liter four cylinder engine as well as improvements to the existing 3.0-liter V6. A new six-speed automatic transmission is now standard.

Driving the Mariner
Driving Impressions

Last year's redesign saw additional weight but no improvement in power for the 2008 Mariner. For 2009, an all new 2.5-liter four-cylinder base engine remedies this situation, offering a big...

... boost in both horsepower and torque. The standard six-speed automatic operates effortlessly and helps the Mariner see improvements in both performance and fuel economy. Handling is best described as respectable, but not as tight or confident as experienced in more car-like utility vehicles, such as the Honda CR-V or Nissan Rouge. The electric-assist power steering system delivers good steering response and eliminates the need for a belt-driven pump, which draws power from the engine.

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.

2009 Mercury Mariner Details
2009 Mercury Mariner photo Interior

Last year's redesign saw major improvements to the Mariner's interior and included new seats, door panels and a center console, as well as a floor-mounted shifter. Depending on the trim level, the seats are available in a monochromatic color scheme or two-toned with Alcantara suede inserts. The standard "top-of-dash" display, which shows radio, climate control readout and temperatures both inside and out, promotes safety and convenience by being positioned at eye level. The radio and climate controls are arranged in what Mercury calls the new "poke through" configuration; the buttons and knobs are raised rather than flush, replacing the "brick" design from the previous generation.

Exterior

The 2009 Mercury Mariner benefits from last year's major redesign that included bolder front and rear fascias, new head and taillamps and a signature waterfall grille that has bigger spacing between the bars. The new roof panel has recessed channels that reduce noise in the cabin as well as horizontal ribbing that strengthens the chassis.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

In base form, the 2009 Mercury Mariner comes standard with an all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, six-speed automatic transmission, 16-inch alloy wheels, speed-sensitive Electric Power Assist Steering system, Ford's AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control (RSC), anti-lock brakes (ABS) and Safety Canopy side-curtain airbags. Creature comforts include rear defroster, power mirrors, power windows, power door locks, cruise control, fog lamps, keyless keypad entry system, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, air conditioning, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, an auxiliary input jack, SIRIUS Satellite Radio capability and a single-CD/MP3 player with four speakers.

Optional Equipment

Options vary by trim and include an Audiophile sound system, DVD-based navigation with 10GB hard drive storage, the SYNC in-car communication and entertainment system (standard on Premier and Hybrid), a six-disc in-dash CD player, power moonroof, premium leather seating, Reverse Sensing System (Premier and Hybrid), 17-inch wheels, roof rack with crossbars, ambient lighting, heated side mirrors, six-way power driver's seat, a lockable wet storage compartment, heated front seats, rear seat entertainment system, integrated side steps, remote start and a full-size spare.

Under the Hood

An all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine employs variable valve timing to see an eleven percent increase in power and one mile per gallon improvement in fuel economy over last year's 2.3-liter engine. The larger 3.0-liter V6 is also improved, with a higher compression ratio that adds an additional 40 horsepower. The 3.0-liter provides better acceleration and the ability to tow up to 3,500 pounds, but its city fuel economy ratings only reach the high teens. Those looking for maximum fuel economy should opt for the hybrid powertrain, which uses the same all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor. Unlike its Ford twin, the Mariner does not offer a manual transmission.

2.5-liter in-line 4
171 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
171 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 (FWD), 19/25 (4WD)

3.0-liter V6
240 horsepower @ 6550 rpm
223 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 (FWD), 17/24 (4WD)

2.5-liter four-cylinder with electric motor
153 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
94 horsepower @ 5000 (electric motor)
136 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 34/31 (2WD), 29/27 (AWD)

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