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CarGurus Expert ReviewThe Good
The 2011 Mercury Mariner Hybrid, much the same as its close cousin the 2011 Ford Escape, offers a compact crossover SUV that gets around nicely through rough weather and, more importantly, gets good gas mileage.The Bad
The relatively high sticker price of the 2011 Mercury Mariner Hybrid takes some of the shine off its nice gas mileage numbers.
The CarGurus View
Drivers looking to put a smaller stamp on the environment don’t have a ton of options to choose from among crossovers, and those choices will be down by one when Ford closes down the Mercury name and the Mariner Hybrid with it after the 2011 model year. The 2011 Mariner Hybrid, perhaps a little softer and classier than the related Ford Escape Hybrid and Mazda Tribute Hybrid, had its fans, and they will have to look elsewhere for their fuel-friendly crossover SUVs after this year.
At a Glance
The Mercury Mariner Hybrid will give way to its siblings and former competitors, the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mazda Tribute Hybrid, as Ford does away with the Mercury brand after the 2011 model year. The Mariner will likely not be missed a great deal since it offered little, except perhaps a higher sticker price, to distinguish it from the Escape and Tribute.
The Mariner Hybrid, to be fair, features many of the same attributes as the Escape and Tribute - like them it’s an SUV sized right for a family that’s not too large and looking to be in step with the environment - and it presented them in perhaps a softer and classier fashion than the Escape and Tribute and for that reason has had its share of fans through the years.
Experts note that because Mercury's days are numbered, buyers may be able to angle some good deals on Mariner Hybrids. Ford tells Mercury owners, too, not to worry when it comes to service, because they will be well cared for at Lincoln and Ford dealerships.
The 2011 Mercury Mariner Hybrid comes in Base and AWD (all-wheel drive) trims.
A 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine pairs with an electric motor to give the 2011 Mercury Mariner Hybrid 177 horsepower. A full hybrid, the vehicle can run on gasoline alone, electric power alone or a combination of both. It can travel at 40 miles per hour for almost two miles on solely electric power.
Electric power comes from a large NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) battery pack. The gas motor and regenerative brakes, which reverse the direction of the electric motor and translate friction back into electricity, work to recharge the batteries.
The 2011 Mercury Mariner Hybrid has a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that receives good marks from reviewers.
Mileage estimates for the 2011 Mercury Mariner Hybrid are impressive. The front-wheel drive versions get an estimated 34 mpg city/31 highway, and the AWD is rated at 30/29.
Ride & Handling
The 2011 Mercury Mariner Hybrid draws mixed reviews for its ride and handling. Most experts think it has enough power to get a smaller SUV around. But some note that the extra 300 pounds it carries over a gas-powered Mariner in its hybrid powertrain and batteries hamper the Hybrid.
The added weight hurts the vehicle’s agility and contributes to its body roll, they feel. Others are quite pleased with the Hybrid’s handling and acceleration. The added weight, too, contributes to an issue shared by the conventional Mariner: Most reviewers agree that braking distances for the Hybrid are not great.
There seems to be consensus as well that the engine in the 2011 Mercury Mariner Hybrid gets quite noisy, especially in full-power situations.
Cabin & Comfort
The interior of the 2011 Mercury Mariner Hybrid may well grade out better with reviewers than any other aspect of the crossover. Experts tend to like the style and comfort and the materials used in the Mariner Hybrid cabin. They note its storage space, visibility and color schemes in particular.
A large center console with removable bins, among several options for storage, collects praise. The Hybrid seats five and provides 66 cubic feet of storage with the rear seats folded. The caveat that number carries, though, is that it’s not an easy chore to get the rear seat down.
While some experts find that the upright nature of the front seats offers a good view, others take issue with the seats because they make for a truck-like feel for the driver and front passenger, and that can make for an uncomfortable ride in a trip of any length. When it comes to the rear-seat setup, there’s agreement that space is tight and the bench seat provides little support.
Dual-zone climate control, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo and a power driver’s seat come standard in the 2011 Mercury Mariner Hybrid. A navigation system, sunroof, leather seats, heated front seats and remote engine start are available.
The 2011 Mercury Mariner Hybrid scores well in government and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing. It got five of five stars for all occupants for both frontal and side impact tests in the government tests and the highest ranking of Good in the Insurance Institute tests.
The Mariner Hybrid features Ford’s MyKey security system, which lets parents limit the vehicle’s top speed and also the volume levels on the sound system for younger drivers.
Antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum) come standard on the Mariner Hybrid, and it’s also equipped with stability control, rollover sensors and a full complement of airbags.
What Owners Think
Owners of the Mercury Mariner Hybrid generally point first to the gas mileage they get in their crossovers.
They also note that the vehicle takes on tough terrain and snowy conditions without a problem and that they like its versatility. Some call it a fun car to drive and label it comfortable and say good things about the ride it provides.
Others raise various concerns with the Mariner Hybrid. Among the things they take issue with are seats that are not comfortable, and they also find there’s too much road noise at highway speeds. Still, even those drivers tend to say that overall they are fans of the Mercury Hybrid, would buy it again and would recommend it to a friend. Some point out that they recommend the Hybrid to strangers when they stop to ask about it.
by A. Lessels
Talk about the 2011 Mercury Mariner Hybrid
Looking for a Used Mariner Hybrid in your area?CarGurus has 96 nationwide Mariner Hybrid listings starting at $7,981.