2008 Mercury Mariner Review
The Mariner offers elegant, well-regarded exterior style and an attractive interior, but its aging powertrain can't match the performance of most of its competition, leaving it with a ranking near the bottom of its class.
Reviewers agree the 2008 Mercury Mariner is a small SUV distinguished by its conservatively elegant styling and good interior comfort, but lagging behind the competition in most facets of performance. The Car Connection says: "To the optimist, the new Mariner looks to be a step in the right direction. To the pessimist, the Mariner is what a cash-strapped team could do with a rebadged compact SUV introduced in 2001. Regardless of your take on the situation, the realist asks, 'Is it enough?'"
For 2008, the Mariner's body and interior have been redesigned and significantly improved. Most reviewers are happy to see the plastic body-side cladding removed and impressed with the versatile storage features and attractive cabin of the new interior. However, the Mariner's powertrain is largely carried over from the original 2005 design -- and it was an average performer even then.
Gasoline-powered Mariners manage fuel economy near the middle of the small SUV class, but worse than the Mariner's Ford Escape platform-mate. With gas prices near record highs in 2008, Mariner sales have been slow.
The Mariner comes in two trims -- the base model and the Premier, which adds several features. It is also available as a hybrid model, which is reviewed separately.