I recently acquired a 2008 Mariner with 25K miles. I could not imagine a more uncomfortable and noisy vehicle. The vehicle is extremely loud as the variable drive whines and the engine roars when engaged. The car in general is just loud. This car is loaded with leather, NAV, etc and it is extremely uncomfortable. I have a 25 mile one-way commute and I can not get to my destination fast enough. The only good comment I can provide is that the gas mileage is great as I am averaging 29+ consistently. Test drive and compare to other vehicles in this category thoroughly before you decide (btw, this is the brother to the Ford Escape and I would expect a similar experience)
Ford Executives should spend 3 months driving this vehicle daily. That may motivate them to make the needed changes to this car!