The 2008 Mariner has a much bolder presence than the outgoing model, as this compact SUV has received its first major redesign since its launch as a 2005 model. The 2008 has new, squared-off bodywork, as well as improvements to combat road and engine noise.
The 2008 Mariner, which shares its platform with the Ford Escape, has the same four- and six-cylinder engine choices as before, and a hybrid model is still offered. The Mariner Hybrid is covered separately in the Cars.com Research section.
The 2008 Mariner has ditched its plastic side cladding, resulting in a smoother appearance. The front and rear fascias have been treated to an edgy (as in shape, not ground-breaking) redesign, giving the Mariner a beefier appearance accented by new headlights and taillights.
The roof has been tweaked with recessed channels to help reduce wind noise at higher speeds. New-for-2008 colors include Kiwi, Light Ice Blue and Black Pearle Slate.
Satin finishes and chrome accents surround the interior, which has a new dashboard layout and new seats for 2008. The radio and climate controls are also updated and now sit flush with the center console.
The interior has been updated with features that help reduce road and wind noise, including a redesigned windshield, thicker floor carpet, a sound-insulating headliner and thicker side windows.
The optional navigation system with a 6.5-inch screen can also play DVDs; a 330-watt stereo with a six-disc changer is included in the navigation package. An auxiliary jack that supports MP3 players is standard on all Mariners.
Under the Hood
The Mariner now comes with electric power steering, replacing the old hydraulic system that operated off the engine's belt. The advantage to electric power steering is that it reduces drag on the engine, resulting in better gas mileage.
The four- and six-cylinder engines remain unchanged: The 2.3-liter four-cylinder makes 153 horsepower, and the 3.0-liter V-6 produces 200 hp. Both engines are mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.
Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional.
Side-impact and side curtain airbags are standard, as are antilock brakes. An electronic stability system with Roll Stability Control is also standard.