Performance and Hybrid should probably never be used in the same sentence. Or same paragraph for that matter. If you buy a Hybrid, you really aren’t one to fuss over performance, so I’ll just skip over driving and handling performance, to something that matters…
With the price of gas exploding this summer, driving a Hybrid really is being socially responsible. The Mariner’s fuel mpg performance was outstanding. The Mariner also comes equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, which is essential for getting and maintaining good gas mileage. Even though it’s a Hybrid, it got the job done. I was able to get up to speed when entering traffic, was able to get slowed down when exiting the freeway, and I got from point A to point B safely. All while hauling around my bike and all my gear.
I didn’t do any real field testing of the handling of the Mariner, other than day-to-day driving conditions. I didn’t rail any corners. Instead, I drove it like I would my own car. Again, I would imagine that a hybrid really doesn’t handle like a sports car in fast, curvy driving conditions. And I haven’t seen a lot of hybrid owners driving like someone would in a Porsche or Corvette, know what I mean? I was able to get the Mariner easily into a standard parking space, and it fit easily into my carport. It wasn’t difficult to navigate and it had a standard SUV turning radius when performing a u-turn.
Front grill aside, the Mariner is a sharp-looking SUV. The tinted glass gives privacy, while adding style AND keeping the inside of the car cooler on warm days. The interior as well as the exterior have clean lines, no clutter and each piece blends into the next. Nothing really looks out of place or like it should be on a different vehicle. The styling wasn’t exciting, or something that stood out among the other SUVs, but I thought it was sharp-looking and up-to-date.
Overall, I think the Mariner is a great value. For around $29k you get a hybrid, a smart-looking SUV, and it has all these great features: auto on headlamps, AM-FM in-dash 6-CD changer w/MP3 plug-in (which I didn’t get to test, big bummer) and 4 speakers, Sync voice-activated system, Sirius satellite radio, cruise-control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate-control, compass and outside temp display, 6-way power driver’s seat, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry with touch pad, auto-dim rear-view mirror and on and on and on. There are a TON of great features with this vehicle for a really reasonable price. The safety features are really good as well with: dual-stage front airbags, standard front seat-mounted airbags and side curtain airbags (which are part of the Safety Canopy System), rollover sensor, tire-pressure monitoring system, anti-lock brakes, intelligent 4-wheel drive system (enhanced traction when it’s most-needed to prevent tire slippage is less-than-ideal conditions), etc.
How does the Mariner compare with the other competing models in the segment? Saturn VUE – yes, it costs less than the Mariner, but you’d be compromising by getting a vehicle that’s not nearly as nice in almost every single area.
Mazda CX-7 – also costs a couple of grand less than the Mariner. Although, it does match closely with features, and exceeds the Mariner in the performance department, you’d compromise (sorely) on gas mileage.
On the other side of the coin is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. That’s the last SUV competing with the Mariner, and it’s a couple of grand more AND a bit bigger. If you really only wanted a 5-passenger SUV, then the Highlander is overkill.
Additionally, over time, gas adds up and as much as I love the Mazdas, I really think the Mariner shines over all three of these competing SUVs, for a 5-passenger SUV and getting good mileage from your vehicle.
The Mariner is the best of both worlds – a decent-sized SUV and a HYBRID! You can be socially responsible while hauling you, your friends and all your gear around. And you’ll do it in style…
|Official website for Mercury cars, hybrids, and SUVs – www.mercuryvehicles.com|
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