Hybrid vehicles are the current rage amongst eco-friendly buyers who are interested not only in saving money at the fuel pump but also in reducing their 'carbon footprint', the amount of environmental pollution directly attributable to their personal energy usage. In the world of automobiles, a hybrid refers to any vehicle which uses a form of energy other than the internal combustion of fossil fuels to power either its entire system or a portion thereof. The most popular method of achieving this goal is called a gasoline / electric hybrid, a vehicle which uses a battery in conjunction with a standard gasoline engine to motivate the automobile either entirely or from time-to-time depending upon the acceleration demands of the driver.
There are many reasons why automakers choose to offer hybrid vehicles to their customers. Some do it out of a sense of obligation to help reduce public reliance on volatile fuels that have become increasingly expensive in recent years. Others do it in order to meet their overall corporate average fuel economy obligations and facilitate the sale of other, larger vehicles which are not nearly as efficient. Some even use their hybrid automobiles as a form of halo car, the vehicle which gets potential buyers in the door to marvel at the vehicle and perhaps purchase other products from the company as well.
When Ford released the Escape compact SUV hybrid, they became the first brand to offer the technology outside of a compact sedan or coupe. Trucks were regarded as some of the worst offenders when it came to environmental destruction, and as such it was quite a surprise when the Escape hybrid proved to not only provide excellent fuel economy numbers to its owners, but also meet the hauling and performance expectations of drivers more used to conventional sport-utility vehicles.
Mercury immediately saw the benefits of cribbing the Escape's hybrid system for their own use in the Mariner compact SUV and in 2006 they got their wish, releasing a vehicle which employed an identical system but also offered a more upscale interior and list of available features when compared to the more pedestrian Escape. The Mariner would go on to enjoy similar sales success. This article focuses on the best used hybrid vehicle sold by Mercury and explains why it has enjoyed such a positive reception from domestic car buyers.
2006 - 2007 Mercury Mariner Hybrid
From the outside, the 2006 - 2007 Mercury Mariner Hybrid is virtually indistinguishable from is conventionally powered sibling. Keen eyes will detect a small air vent which has been carved into the rear of the vehicle's trailing pillar in order to help keep the battery cool, along with 'Hybrid' badges and special mag wheels. Other than that, the Mariner Hybrid keeps a low profile.
The most significant differences between the gasoline and gasoline / electric editions of the Mariner are of course found in the vehicle's propulsion systems. The 2006 - 2007 Mercury Mariner Hybrid makes use of a 2.3-liter, 4-cylinder engine that makes 133 horsepower, boosted by an electric motor to bring the total figure to 155 ponies. Thanks to a complex yet seamless in operation software system, the Mariner can be driven exclusively on the battery at low speeds, on the gasoline motor alone in other situations, and with the two power sources working together when maximum acceleration is required. The instant-on torque of the vehicle's electric motor allows it to sprint nearly as quickly as the V-6 edition of the Mariner while still turning in an impressive 33 miles per gallon in city driving and 29 miles per gallon while cruising on the highway. The battery is recharged by both the gasoline engine and also through regenerative braking, where the energy dispersed by the vehicle as it slows down is captured and transformed into electricity. A 4-speed automatic transmission is the only gearbox provided.
The 2006 - 2007 Mercury Mariner Hybrid is treated to a classy interior that makes leather seats and trim standard equipment, throwing in a special two-tone package that helps to dress up the passenger compartment quite nicely. A small gauge on the dash lets drivers know the status of the vehicle's drive system and battery, but other than that the Mariner is very similar inside to its standard brethren. This means that good passenger space and impressive cargo room are included along with a fairly comfortable ride that stretches towards the class leaders in smoothness and composure.
The 2006 - 2007 Mercury Mariner Hybrid is one of the best used hybrid SUVs available on the market, and is worth a drive from any buyer seriously considering adding an alternatively-powered vehicle to their stable.