A compact SUV in both gas-powered and hybrid forms, the Mariner is related to the Ford Escape but gets Mercury styling cues. The Mariner is intended to be an affordable model, attractive to young buyers. As it has only been on the market for a couple of years, changes for 2007 are minimal.
Designers sought a kinship to the Mercury family with the Mariner Hybrid. In the stacked-element front layout, a waterfall grille is matched with clear, rectangular projector headlights and integral fog lamps. A U-shaped air intake helps define the front end. Color-keyed bodyside panels promise chip and ding protection, and European-style turn-signal repeater lamps are mounted on the fenders. For 2007, new color offerings are Tungsten Grey Clearcoat Metallic and Light Sage Clearcoat Metallic.
Only a few styling touches differentiate the Hybrid from regular Mariners, including an air vent built into the driver's side rear-quarter window to help maintain the temperature of the battery pack. Other styling touches unique to the Hybrid are 16-inch, five-spoke wheels and small hybrid badging.
The Mariner has a fully independent suspension. Built on a 103.2-inch wheelbase like the Ford Escape, the Mariner is 174.9 inches long overall.
Metal accents highlight the two-tone interior. A floor-mounted gearshift lever with a satin-aluminum knob is installed.
Mariner Hybrids also include a battery charge gauge in the instrument cluster. It shows which way electrical current is flowing: to the battery during regenerative braking, or into the electric motor when it's needed to assist the gasoline engine. An optional hybrid energy display screen tracks energy flow between the powertrain systems.
Five people fit inside the Mariner Hybrid.
Under the Hood
The Mariner Hybrid runs on a combination of electric power and its four-cylinder gasoline engine. Mercury says its fuel economy is an estimated 33 mpg in city driving and 29 mpg on the highway. Driving a continuously variable transmission, the gasoline engine is rated at 133 hp, and total powertrain output is 155 hp.
The Mariner Hybrid can travel up to 25 mph on battery power alone for a short period of time. The gasoline engine automatically shuts off at stoplights, while coasting and in low-speed traffic.
Antilock brakes are standard. There's also an optional Safety Canopy system that has both side curtain and seat-mounted side-impact airbags.