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#8

in 2009 Affordable Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $10,672 - $13,198
Original MSRP: $22,650 - $27,515
MPG: 20 City / 28 Hwy
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2009 Mercury Mariner Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2009 Mercury Mariner's performance boost gives it more power and better fuel economy. However, Mercury didn't address the aging brakes, leading to considerable criticism from reviewers.

  • "The Mariner's beefed-up engines certainly help its cause -- the 240-hp V6 is bested only by Toyota's 268-hp RAV4 and Hyundai's 242-hp Santa Fe, while the 171-hp four-cylinder unit is also class-competitive. Fuel economy likewise puts the Mariner in the thick of the compact SUV race." -- Edmunds
  • "The Mariner did away with its hydraulic steering system in favor of electric power-assist steering, resulting in better gas mileage. Both engines can be mated to an optional six-speed automatic transmission, but the five-speed manual is still standard." -- Cars.com

Acceleration and Power

For 2009, the Mariner gets more horsepower for its four-cylinder and V6 engines -- a welcome upgrade, since test drivers previously thought both choices were underpowered. A six-speed automatic transmission replaces the former four-speed. Best of all, the new powertrains achieve better fuel economy than before. According to the EPA, the FWD Mariner achieves 20/28 mpg city/highway with the four-cylinder engine and 18/26 with the V6. The 4WD model achieves 19/25 and 17/24, respectively.

  • "An AWD 4-cylinder is the only 2009 Mariner made available for testing so far. This engine with the new 6-speed automatic transmission provides better than expected acceleration, even with AWD. The transmission shifts smoothly and kicks down quickly for more power." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Mariner's power deficit has been rectified while also improving fuel economy, and the alluring Sync system gives it a technological edge over its compact SUV rivals." -- Edmunds
  • "The 3.0-liter V6 provides adequate acceleration. Noise, ride comfort, and fuel economy have improved." -- MSN

Handling and Braking

The Mariner's ride and handling has improved with the 2009 performance updates. However, Mercury didn't replace the Mariner's disc/drum brakes, a sore point for reviewers who feel the set-up is antiquated.

  • "Fine for a compact SUV and a surprise given the age of Mariner's basic platform. Body lean in turns is well controlled, though the steering feels overboosted and vague. Even with AWD, Mariner has a tidy turning radius, which helps in low-speed maneuvering." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Most notably, its rear brakes were downgraded to inferior drums in 2008, and the '09 Mariner continues to bear this badge of shame. In our testing of a similar Escape with rear drums, the best stopping distance we could manage from 60 mph was 154 feet -- at least 25 feet longer than average, and frankly unacceptable in this day and age." -- Edmunds
  • "A responsive architecture -- with four-wheel independent suspension -- gives Mariner precise steering and handling and the ability of each wheel to react separately to road imperfections." -- The Auto Channel
  • "Unfortunately, save the hybrid, the Mariner remains one of the few vehicles on the market to retain a disc/drum setup (the hybrid gets four-wheel discs). So how much has really changed?" -- Car and Driver

Next Steps: 2009 Mercury Mariner

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