The Mercury Mariner is a luxury compact sport utility vehicle. The 2009 Mercury Mariner is anything but all new, although important changes and upgrades have made the SUV desirable and competitive. It is being built on a nine-year old platform which it shares with the Ford Escape. A major change for the Mariner is the improvement in gas mileage and increase in engine output by way of a new six-speed automatic transmission, which replaced the four-speed. The suspension has also been upgraded for better ride quality. The compact SUV also gets the Sync multimedia integration system, exclusive from Ford.

Trim Levels

Available in four trim levels with extra options to choose from, there is a Mariner to fit your budget and needs. The base model is an I4 and comes standard with full-power accessories, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, four-speaker CD stereo, auxiliary input jack, keyless entry, fog lights, privacy glass, and 16-alloy wheels. The next trim level is the V6 which includes all of the I4 options plus a 3.0 liter V6 engine. The Premier I4 is the next model and includes all of the features of the previous models plus ambient interior lighting, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, dual climate control, the Sync system, satellite radio, auto-dimming rearview mirror and an in-dash CD changer. The Premier V6 comes complete with all the standard features of the Premier I4 model but includes the six-cylinder engine.

Power and Performance

Available in either front- or all-wheel drive, the 2009 Mercury Mariner comes with a brand new six-speed automatic transmission. There are also two engines available; the I4 and Premier I4 models get a 2.5 liter inline-4 with 171 hp and 171 lb-feet of torque and the V6 and Premier V6 models come with a 3.0 liter V6 with an output of 240 hp and 223 lb-ft of torque. The V6 models can tow up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped.

EPA estimates on the Mercury Mariner inline-4 models are 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway. The all-wheel-driver version pushes the mpg to 19/25. For the V6 models the mpg is rated at 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway. For the all-wheel-drive models the mpg is rated at 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway.

Safety

The 2009 Mercury Mariner is a safe SUV to drive according to government crash tests. With four stars for driver protection, five stars for passenger protection in frontal impacts and five stars all around in side-impact tests/crashes both passengers and drivers can feel safe in a 2008 Mercury Mariner. Standard safety features include traction control, stability control, front-seat and side airbags, full-length head curtain airbags with a rollover sensor and antilock brakes.

There are two negatives to contrast the long list of positives for the 2009 Mercury Mariner. One is the poor braking due to the rear drum setup. The front disc brakes are antilock while the rear brakes are drums. The other disappointment is the rear seat. The seat is uncomfortable and awkward to fold up for the extra cargo space in the rear.

Overall, the 2009 Mercury Mariner is a quality vehicle, fitting into a range of budgets with a starting MSRP of $22,310 for a base model and going up to $27,175 for the Premier V6 all-wheel-drive model.

The 2009 Mercury Mariner is anything but all new, although important changes and upgrades have made the SUV desirable and competitive. It is being built on a nine-year old platform which it shares with the Ford Escape. A major change for the Mariner is the improvement in gas mileage and increase in engine output by way of a new six-speed automatic transmission, which replaced the four-speed. The suspension has also been upgraded for better ride quality. The compact SUV also gets the Sync multimedia integration system, exclusive from Ford.