Advance auto zone blog about fast cars and auto trader

Advance auto zone blog about cool fast cars, and auto trader

2009 Mercury Mariner Hybrid 4WD

If we're all going to end up driving hybrids, the revolution should start in this class. I think the small cute-ute/crossover segment was born out of nothing but marketing departments, and these vehicles could all be replaced by hatchbacks and wagons with absolutely no ill effect. But consumers are hooked on the vehicles in this class, and there's no way the American public will turn to hatchbacks and wagons overnight. So all these small sport-utilities and crossovers might as well go hybrid and save us lots of fuel.

2009 Mercury Mariner Hybrid 4WD-12009 Mercury Mariner Hybrid 4WD-2The Mercury Mariner/Ford Escape hybrids are probably the best products in the Ford portfolio right now. They make sense for a lot of consumers, and the pricing isn't insane. Sure, the steering is dead, you're forced to have a continuously variable transmission, and there isn't a ton of power, but that doesn't matter. If you're shopping for a cute-ute, you don't care about driving for the sake of driving, and this Mariner does everything it's supposed to do very well.

A hybrid drivetrain (and the efficiency mindset that goes with it) doesn't really mesh with the heavy, impractical, inefficient-by-nature SUV, no matter how small. As such, I can't help wondering just how much better the Mariner's fuel economy would be if it were a tad smaller, a tad lighter, and less of a brick in the wind tunnel. It just seems too much like a stopgap, as if we're kidding ourselves as to what we really ought to be driving. I feel wasteful, no matter how much less gas I'm using.

Ford has greatly improved the Mercury Mariner (and its twin, the Ford Escape) in the last two years, concentrating on the styling for 2008 and the mechanicals for 2009. The interior of the Mariner is greatly improved over what it was a couple of years ago, but there is still some evidence of cost-cutting, notably the cheap-looking plastic vent covers. Still, the overall look and feel of the interior is quite nice.

On the road, the transition between gasoline and electric power is practically unnoticeable. The trick is to get up to speed and tap the brake slightly, at which point the vehicle will switch to electric power, although you might not notice it unless you're looking at the RPM gauge. It's quite a difference from our long-term Toyota Camry hybrid, which noticeably surged and/or stuttered when switching between power sources.

© Source: automobilemag
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