Compact SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $6,000 – $22,700*


2005 Mercury Marnier


2005 Mercury Mariner


2005 Mercury Mariner


2006 Mercury Mariner

Pros:
  • Cargo room
  • Maneuverability
  • Visibility
Cons:
  • Wind noise

Mariners are Best Buy compact SUVs: solid, spacious, practical, and pleasant to drive. Keen pricing makes them a high-value alternative to larger truck-based SUVs that use more gas and aren’t much roomier. The Mariner had higher original sticker prices than its Ford and Mazda cousins, which mainly bought more-upscale trim, a little extra sound insulation, and a slightly more-compliant ride. Hybrids command an additional premium that may take years to offset in fuel savings, but the value consideration must also take into account the hybrid system’s exhaust-emissions benefits.

Overview

Mercury got its first compact SUV for 2005. The Mariner shared its car-type 5-passenger wagon design with the Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute. Mariner had its own styling details and interior decor, but used the same 153-hp 4-cyl and 200-hp V6 engines as Escape and Tribute. Mariner came in 4-cyl Convenience and V6 Luxury and Premier models. All offered 4-speed automatic transmission and either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive that lacked low-range gearing. ABS was standard. AWD Luxury and Premier versions had 4-wheel disc brakes vs. a disc/drum setup. Curtain side airbags were optional. They were designed to deploy in side impacts as well as when sensors detected an impending rollover. Also optional was rear obstacle detection. Mariner’s performance and accommodations mirrored those of comparably equipped Escapes and Tributes.

Yearly Updates

2005 Mariner
2006 Mariner
For 2006, a gas-electric hybrid model was added. All Mariner Hybrids were AWD and came with 4-wheel disc brakes and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). A navigation system was a Hybrid-exclusive option.
2007 Mariner
Mariner carried over unchanged.
2008 Mariner
The 2008 Mercury Mariner was updated with revised interior and exterior styling along with a higher level of standard equipment.
2009 Mariner
Four-cylinder models got a 171-hp 2.5-liter engine to replace a 153-hp 2.3. V6 versions received a 40 hp boost to 240 total. Both engines come only with a 6-speed automatic transmission, which replaced a 4-speed automatic. The Hybrid swapped a 133-hp 2.3-liter four for a 153-hp 2.5 that was still mated to a CVT automatic.
2010 Mariner
The 2010 Mercury Mariner received some new features. Newly optional on Premier models was Ford’s Active Park Assist, which uses ultrasonic sensors to help automatically guide the vehicle into a parallel-parking space.
2011 Mariner
The 2011 Mariner was unchanged for its final model year.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Mariners were available with two engines for 2005: a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder that was rated at 153 hp, and a 3.0-liter V6 that was rated at 200 hp. Both engines used a 4-speed automatic transmission. Added for 2006 was a gas/electric hybrid model that used a 133-hp 4-cyl combined with an electric motor for 155 hp total. A CVT automatic was the Hybrid model’s sole transmission. For 2009, four-cylinder models got a 171-hp 2.5-liter engine to replace a 153-hp 2.3. V6 versions received a 40 hp boost to 240 total. Both engines come only with a 6-speed automatic transmission, which replaced a 4-speed automatic. The Hybrid swapped a 133-hp 2.3-liter four for a 153-hp 2.5 that was still mated to a CVT automatic.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/138
Engine HP 133
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 129
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
CVT automatic

21/29

26.0

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/138
Engine HP 153
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 152
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

20/23

19.0

dohc I4/electric
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/153
Engine HP 153
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 136
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
CVT automatic

29/27

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/153
Engine HP 171
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 171
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

19/25

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/181
Engine HP 200-240
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 193
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

18/23

18.0

Road Test

Mariner’s V6 has good power for most situations–even with AWD, which adds only 150-160 lb. Test AWD V6s were timed at 8.9 sec from 0-60 mph. Our experience with test Ford Escapes shows 4-cyl performance is only adequate at best. Mariner’s automatic transmission is generally smooth, but sometimes hesitates to downshift for passing. The Hybrid provides adequate acceleration. Its gas-electric operation is generally smooth, though transitions between gas and electric power sources can be abrupt. Fuel economy is respectable for the class. A test AWD Premier averaged 16.3 mpg in mostly city driving, 19.3 in more-balanced city/highway use. Test AWD Hybrids averaged 24.8-28.8 mpg. All models use regular-grade fuel. The Hybrid’s fuel tank holds 15 gallons vs. 16.5 on other models.

Mariners include 16-inch tires like all Tributes and most Escapes, but have slightly softer suspension. Ride is thus a tad more absorbent, with less impact harshness. The tradeoff is a touch more float over high-speed dips and swells, though it’s not severe. Mariner’s handling is pleasant and poised on-road, with moderate cornering lean, good balance, and firm, direct steering. Braking power is good, but some testers say emergency stops induce too much nosedive.

Inside, chrome, aluminum-finish and woodgrain accents nicely dress up the mostly well-designed dashboard shared with Escape and Tribute. But the Hybrid’s available navigation system suffers a small screen and controls that compromise its usefulness. Heated leather seats are available for Luxury and Hybrid; Premiers come with heated seats and smart two-tone leather/faux-suede upholstery. Interior materials and general workmanship are above average for the class. Engines are fairly raucous at high rpm–Hybrid included–but quiet enough at normal highway speeds. Wind rush is marked from around 60 mph, mostly from the door mirrors. Coarse-pavement tire thrum is audible but not irksome. Some testers feel Mariners and Mazda Tributes are slightly quieter overall than Ford Escapes.

There is adult-size leg and head room in front, but the optional sunroof trims head clearance for tall occupants. Some testers find the front seats flat and unsupportive for long-distance driving. All-around visibility is fine, and front seat entry/exit is easy. Knee and foot room in the rear seat area is above the class norm, helped by the flat floor. The supportive, well-contoured rear seat is wide enough for short-trip 3-adult comfort. Rear seat entry/exit is a bit constricted, but OK. Note that DVD entertainment is available for Tribute, but not Mariner or Escape.

The generous cargo space is enhanced by a low-level load deck and convenient separate-opening tailgate glass. The rear seatbacks fold flat once the headrests are off and the seat bottoms are tilted up or removed. Cabin storage is OK in front, poor in the rear.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2005 Mercury Mariner AWD Premier

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 7
70%

Other

Value - 9
90%

Total: 57

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.1 174.9 70.1 70.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
66.4 16.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.4 39.2 41.6 36.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2005 Mariner 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: The air conditioner may quit working due to loss of refrigerant through the compressor’s front shaft seal. (2005-06)
Brake noise
Description: Rear brakes make noise or may grab when cold, especially in damp weather, and revised brake pads have been made available. (2005)
Engine stalling
Description: Engine may stall when coming to a stop after extended driving due to wear preventing the torque converter from unlocking. (2005-08)
Engine stalling
Description: The engine may stall when coming to a stop after extended driving due to lockup torque converter not releasing. (2005-08)
Fuel gauge
Description: The fuel tank may be slow to fill or cause the nozzle to repeatedly click off and a new, wider fill pipe is available. (2005-06)
Hard starting
Description: Vehicles with the 3.0L engine may be slow to start requiring reprogramming of the powertrain control module. (2005-06)
Rear axle noise
Description: A high pitched squeak from the rear suspension is caused by the shock absorber(s) bushing(s) shifting out of position. (2006-07)
Steering noise
Description: A clunk or rattle that sounds like something loose in the front end when going over bumps with the wheel turned is most likely due to hydraulic spikes in the power steering system, requiring a revised low pressure hose with an internal restrictor. (2005-06)
Steering noise
Description: The steering may squeak, especially at slow speed, requiring steering boot lubrication and power steering fluid replacement with Mercon V transmission fluid. (2002-07)
Suspension noise
Description: A clunk or rattle from the front may sound like a suspension noise, but is caused by the power steering for which there is an improved hose. (2005-07)
Vehicle noise
Description: Whining from the drivetrain may be reduced by replacing the half-shafts (FWD drive shafts) with ones equipped with dampers. (2005-06)
None
Description: The fuel tank may fill slowly and the gas nozzle may repeatedly click off in cold weather due to ice forming in the fuel tank vent line. (2005-08) (2006-08 hybrid) In warm weather the problem may be due to a filler pipe with a bend that is too tight. (2005-06)
Check-engine light
Description: The fuel tank may fill slowly and the check engine light may illuminate if the tank vent line gets clogged from ice (winter) or debris requiring relocation of the line. (2005-08)

Recall History

2005 Mariner
Description: Certain vehicles without curtain side airbags or moonroofs fail to comply with the requirements of a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for interior-impact occupant protection in the left-hand A-pillar trim area. Dealers will make modifications to the energy-absorbing material located above the headliner in the affected area free of charge.
2006 Mariner
Description: On certain vehicles, the windshield wiper motor may have been produced without grease being applied to the output shaft gear, which could lead to a wiper malfunction. Dealers will inspect the wiper motor and add grease if necessary.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.