Mercury unveiled the 2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid, a stylish, upscale small sport-utility vehicle with nimble handling and impressive performance, along with ample cargo and towing capacity. It’s an environmentally conscious SUV with remarkable fuel efficiency, and also meets the cleanest emissions rating achievable by a fossil-fuel vehicle (California’s Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle standard).
For 2008, Mercury Mariner Hybrid adds higher levels of style and refinement with new interior and exterior designs, improved fuel economy and a new front-wheel drive option.
Mariner Hybrid engineers also made revisions to software in the control system to improve transparency, or the transition between gasoline and electric operation in the 2008 model. The transition from all-electric to gasoline power to a combination of the two is now even more seamless and virtually imperceptible to the driver. The four-wheel-disc regenerative brakes also have been retuned to provide better feel.
Configured as a “full hybrid,” Mariner’s powertrain is able to propel the SUV to 25 mph solely with electric power. When the vehicle’s 133 horsepower isn’t required – during coasting, at stoplights or crawling at low speeds through traffic – the gasoline engine automatically shuts down to conserve fuel and curb emissions.
Mariner Hybrid is produced at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo.
New Sophisticated, Modern Design
The 2008 Mariner Hybrid features a new modern, sophisticated design inside and out, just like the 2008 Mariner.
On the outside, the 2008 Mariner Hybrid’s all-new sheet metal includes significant design changes to the front/rear fascias, liftgate, headlamps and taillamps, a raised beltline, new hood, and B-pillar blackout molding. There’s also a unique satin signature waterfall grille.
One striking visual statement on the 2008 Mariner is a new grille that’s larger, with bigger openings between the bars. Other distinctive design features include:
- Larger Mercury badge in the middle of the waterfall grille.
- More brightwork front and rear gives 2008 Mariner Hybrid an unmistakable Mercury presence on the road.
- Cleaner, more seamless profile.
- Mercury-exclusive integrated side repeater lamps, another Mercury design cue, add an element of safety.
- Head and taillamps have a unique “eyebrow” design running around the lenses, bringing together the front and rear ends of the vehicle.
- The headlamps are accentuated with a Mercury badge subtly integrated inside the housing.
- Taillamps have four inner lenses and a clear lamp with a red inner lens.
- The “powerdome” hood has a unique reverse crease that draws the eye from the grille toward the windshield.
On top of the vehicle, a new roof panel helps reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Recessed channels on top of the vehicle are designed to improve airflow over the vehicle. Horizontal ribs in the roof also strengthen body structure and help reduce boom from wind noise while larger mirrors that improve rear visibility have been carefully tailored to reduce wind noise.
Three new 2008 Mariner Hybrid colors include Kiwi Green Clearcoat Metallic, Light Ice Blue Clearcoat Metallic and Black Pearl Slate Clearcoat Metallic. In all, eight exterior colors will be offered on the new Mariner.
Stylish, Sophisticated and Refined Interior Moves Further Upscale
Inside, Satin Pewter finishes and chrome accents give the 2008 Mariner Hybrid an upscale look. The redesigned Mariner Hybrid features new seats, door trim panels, A- and B-pillar trims, center console and a new floor-mounted shifter. Customers can choose between monochromatic or two-tone with Alcantara ® Suede inserts.
The 2008 Mariner Hybrid signals the new direction for Mercury interior design, and debuts three innovative interior features.
- A “top of dash” display positioned at eye level on the dashboard shows inside and outside temperature, radio functions and climate control readouts. When the driver or front passenger adjusts a knob or button on the instrument panel, the change is reflected in the eye-level display instead of lower down on the dashboard where information is typically located. This simple, efficient design puts much of the vehicle’s information in one place at the top of the dashboard, making it easier to read while driving.
- Ice Blue Lighting replaces green on the instrument cluster, on the center console, on the door lock and window switches and on the steering wheel. Ice Blue presents a cool, crisp, easy-on-the-eyes light for night driving and enhances the overall quality feel of the interior.
- Replacing the traditional “brick” design for the radio and heating/air conditioning controls, Mariner Hybrid features dials and buttons that “poke through” the center console. The instrument panel houses audio and climate controls, a standard MP3 jack, controls for the heated seats, and an available in-dash Energy Flow/Navigation system, resulting in a more integrated, more finished look.
In addition to these features, Mariner Hybrid’s center console has innovative space and storage solutions. The console features best-in-class volume and two removable bins with dovetail mounting points on the front passenger side or rear of the console. The medium-sized bins can be used as a trash receptacle, an extra spot for a music player, or an additional storage space for keys, sunglasses, and more.
A Focus on Refinement
Engineers made a host of changes to the 2008 Mariner Hybrid to lower NVH levels inside the vehicle. Highlights include:
- Laminated acoustic windshield reduces the sound level of wind noise experienced in the vehicle.
- Interior carpet is thicker than the previous model and does a better job of isolating noise.
- Side glass thickness has increased from 3.8 to 4.7 mm and helps prevent outside noise from entering the passenger cabin.
- All-wheel drive models have a new rear differential that is quieter and smoother.
- New windshield molding and low profile wipers help improve airflow around the vehicle and reduce wind noise.
- Redesigned recessed channels on top of Mariner are staggered and shorter to reduce boom as air flows over the top.
- Outside mirrors are larger, and careful attention was given to their design to minimize wind noise.
- Additional sound deadening material has been added throughout the vehicle to reduce interior noise.
Proven Chassis Technologies
Mariner Hybrid comes with a 2.3-liter DOHC 16-valve Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine and a permanent magnet AC synchronous motor. The gasoline engine produces 133 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 124 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm. The electric motor produces 70 kw at 5,000 rpm and 330V maximum voltage. The net result is 155 horsepower with 0-60 times comparable to a 200 horsepower V-6 engine and a boost in city driving fuel economy of nearly 75 percent. A smooth-shifting, electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is the only available transmission on the hybrid model.
Mariner Hybrid is tuned for the urban environment to deliver a comfortable and controlled ride. Unibody construction contributes to its lightweight, nimble maneuverability, and a low stance makes it easy to get in and out of the vehicle. Responsive architecture – with four-wheel independent suspension – delivers precise steering and handling and allows each wheel to react separately to road imperfections.
With the 2008 model year, Mariner Hybrid will be available for the first time with a choice of front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The available Intelligent Four-Wheel Drive (4WD) system automatically transfers torque from front to rear as required by road conditions without driver intervention. The computer-controlled system operates so seamlessly that its engagement is barely noticeable to most drivers.
Added Standard Safety
Mariner Hybrid enters 2008 adding new seat-mounted side impact air bags and Safety Canopy™ side curtain air bags to a long list of standard safety features that are part of Ford’s Personal Safety System®, including:
- Dual-stage driver and front passenger air bags.
- Load-limiting safety belts with dual pretensioners.
- Occupant sensing system tailors the front passenger air bag deployment to match the passenger’s size and severity of impact.
Additionally, there are occupant-friendly door trims with softened armrests, side impact foam bolsters and intrusion door beams that distribute the loading during an impact to the hinge and B pillars.
Key Features and Options
Mariner Hybrid includes: 2.4-liter Atkinson Cycle engine; 330V sealed nickel-metal hydride battery; Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission; Permanent magnet electric motor; Regenerative braking system; Accessory delay; Power four-wheel disc brakes with ABS; Dual Electronic Automatic Temperature Control; Compass and outside temperature display; Auto-dimming rearview mirror; Auto lamps; Power locks, windows and mirrors; One-touch, up/down driver window; Two 12V power points; Remote keyless entry; Driver/passenger power adjustable manual fold electric mirrors; AM/FM MP3 and satellite-ready, single CD player with four speakers; Audio input jack; Ice Blue Lighting; Message Center; Two-way manual driver seat; Premium cloth seats; 60/40-split bench seat with premium cloth seating surfaces; Electric Power Assist Steering; Chrome exhaust tip; Privacy glass; Air conditioning; Floor mats; Side repeater lamps; Rear cargo light; 60/40-split rear seat with tip-fold-flat latch and two-way adjustable head restraints; 16-inch six-spoke wheels and all-season tires; Safety Canopy™ side air curtains; Seat-mounted side air bags; LATCH; SecuriLock® passive anti-theft system; Reverse Sensing System.
Options Include: Intelligent all-wheel-drive; Audiophile AM/FM MP3 and satellite-ready, premium six-disc, in-dash CD changer with seven speakers; AC 110V power outlet; Power moonroof. Hybrid Premium Package includes: Heated front seats; Reverse Sensing System; Roof rack with satin inserts and black crossbars; Energy flow/navigation system; Cargo area cover; Heated mirrors; Leather trimmed seats with power lumbar and six-way power driver’s seat; Body color mirrors. Hybrid Moon and Tune Package includes: SIRIUS® Satellite Radio with free 6-month subscription; Power moonroof.