2008 Mercury Mariner SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Mercury Mariner SUV

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Mercury Mariner Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 200 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Mercury Mariner

  • A restyled body and interior may keep the 2008 Mercury Mariner fresh for a little while longer, but its driving dynamics are stale compared to newer rivals in the compact SUV segment.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Comfortable interior, impressive list of standard safety features.

  • Cons

    Lackluster performance, braking and fuel efficiency compared to rivals, folding down rear seat a multistep process.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Mercury Mariner gets a makeover inside and out. A more aggressive attitude marks the exterior design, and the cabin is more attractive and functional. The chassis and powertrain are virtually unchanged, however, meaning this "redesigned" Mariner has the same running gear as before.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (9 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

Bad transmission

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Vehicle: 2008 Mercury Mariner 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

I bought a brand new 2008 Mercury Mariner from Malloy Auto Mall in Woodbridge, VA. In 2009 the transmission starting skipping gears. Took it to the shop, it was fixed under warranty. 2010 took it back to the shop for the transmission again. Not covered by warranty. Cost over $800 to fix. Jump forward to 2011, took it back to the shop, for what you ask? The transmission again. This $2235 to fix it. Ford refuses to do anything about it. DO NOT BUY THIS VEHICLE. I wish I would have read other reviews before I purchased. I will never buy another for vehicle. Don't take my word. Read other reviews and see the same problem I have.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

Lovin my new ride !!!!

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Vehicle: 2008 Mercury Mariner 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

I purchased my '08 Mariner after my "00 Tacoma was recalled due to a safety issue. I love the blue dash panel,the 6 disc CD changer and the MP3 port.The climate controls and the sound system controls are nicely located and easy to use. The console shift makes it look sporty which I love.The center console is roomy and has a removable tray that can be used elsewhere in the vehicle. The seats are very comfortable which was a concern of mine. My only issue is the silver painted plastic which is used on the console and on the door panels...They scuff and look old and cheap.I did buy my vehicle pre-owned so I didn't expect perfection however for a three year old vehicle,this shouldnt be an issue.


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Vehicle: 2008 Mercury Mariner 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

After 27,000 miles something is wrong and it is leaking transmission fluid. The sad part is it has been at the Ford dealer 3 weeks today because they don't have a replacement part. Today I was told they aren't sure when the part will come in. Keep your eyes open if you own one, because it sounds like a common problem with this vehicle.

Luv it!

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Vehicle: 2008 Mercury Mariner 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

It's about what you need. This meets all my needs with it's style, p/up, leather, sunroof, back window defrost and wiper. I am a small person so it is plenty big enough for me interior wise. It has almost zero blind spot. I luv it!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Surprises ford won't tell you

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Vehicle: 2008 Mercury Mariner 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

I love my 2008 Mariner. But be warned, in 2008 they changed a design that sends the transmission fluid through the A/C condenser. Why? Not really sure, but if you think you are leaking oil, it may be transmission fluid and it may be coming from the condenser. This leak will drain your transmission in about 3 days. Call Ford, they will have this $450 part in stock as they are replacing them weekly. But, they will not admit there is a problem. Yes, there is a TSB on this issue starting with 2008's. Again, based on my ratings, I do love this truck. As for the loud tire noise, trust me its the original tires. I put new tires on and now I enjoy my hour and half drive to and from work.

Lovin it!

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Vehicle: 2008 Mercury Mariner 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

I have owned my vehicle a week now and am really enjoying it. After researching several cars thoroughly for price, amenities, style, crash tests, reliability, and fuel economy, I settled on the Mariner. I am surprised at how many men actually like it because it is a pretty metallic green color. It is really quite sharp, with its black trim and slate interior. We love our sunroof and find it functional in Florida to let the heat out. The upolstery is the best--wipes clean easily and is very comfortable----the seats are cushy and the ride smooth and solid. I never wanted to touch a vehicle with dark interior, but this is remarkably cool and comfortable. We find our Mariner very roomy.

Full 2008 Mercury Mariner Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Mercury Mariner gets a makeover inside and out. A more aggressive attitude marks the exterior design, and the cabin is more attractive and functional. The chassis and powertrain are virtually unchanged, however, meaning this "redesigned" Mariner has the same running gear as before.


Something of an anomaly in the marketplace, the compact but upscale Mercury Mariner SUV gets a not-so extreme makeover for 2008. The Mariner debuted three years ago as a more luxurious version of Ford's Escape. And like its relative, the Mariner's "top-half" revamping for this year means new sheet metal and a revised interior but no significant revisions to the chassis or running gear.

The changes in the looks department include a bolder grille, taller beltline and higher hood, all of which give this junior sport-ute a more aggressive curbside presence. Inside, the changes are more functional, including such touches as a multifunction display at the top center of the dash and cool blue instrument lighting. To promote a quieter cabin, the new Mariner features an acoustic laminate within the windshield, a redesigned roof panel and thicker carpeting.

Unfortunately, these changes might not be enough to keep the 2008 Mercury Mariner competitive in the small-SUV class. In past years, we praised the Mariner for its relatively roomy (for four) cabin, sporty driving dynamics and peppy performance, but new and more modern competitors now surpass it in many areas.

For example, the Mariner's 200-horsepower V6, although generally energetic, has its efforts hampered by an outdated four-speed automatic gearbox. The result is a double whammy of now so-so acceleration (zero to 60 mph in about 10 seconds) and mediocre fuel economy. Nearly all of its competitors now have five- or even six-speed transmissions that do a better job of keeping their engines on their toes while providing higher fuel mileage. The quicker SUVs in this class dash to 60 mph in less than 8 seconds.

A more serious disappointment concerns the Mariner's braking. For some reason, all 2008 Mariners except the V6 AWD version have reverted to rear drum brakes (they formerly had discs all around) and braking performance suffers. In our testing of a similar Escape with rear drums, the best stop from 60 mph took 154 feet — about 25 feet longer than average.

Although the Mariner has been a favorite of ours in the past, this year's mostly cosmetic changes aren't enough to keep it in the fast-moving compact SUV game. In short, the 2008 Mercury Mariner is eclipsed by recently revamped and more competent rivals such as the Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander and Toyota RAV4 and we recommend that you try them before buying a Mariner.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Mercury Mariner is a compact four-door SUV that comes in three trim levels: base inline-4, base V6 and Premier. The base Mariners come with 16-inch alloy wheels, foglights, privacy glass, air-conditioning, a four-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary MP3 player input, full power accessories and keyless entry. The Premier model adds rear parking sensors, leather/Alcantara upholstery, a power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, an in-dash CD changer and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Options include 17-inch wheels, a moonroof, an upgraded 320-watt audio system with a subwoofer, a DVD-based navigation system, satellite radio and heated front seats. Class II towing preparation is also available, and buyers who stick with the standard 16-inch wheels can opt for a full-size spare tire.

Powertrains and Performance

All versions of the Mercury Mariner can be had with either front- or all-wheel drive. A 2.3-liter inline-4 rated for 153 hp and 152 pound-feet of torque powers the base Mariner. The base V6 and Premier models come with a 3.0-liter V6 good for 200 hp and 193 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come with a four-speed automatic transmission. Properly equipped, the V6 Mariner can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

A V6 Mariner isn't exactly slow, but its 10-second 0-60-mph time is bested by many rivals, a few of them powered by four-cylinder engines. Additionally, throttle tip-in can be abrupt, requiring a concerted effort to enact a smooth takeoff. Fuel economy with the V6 is also below average: Our experience has shown that V6 Mariners typically return mileage in the high teens, which is consistent with the adjusted EPA ratings for 2008 -- 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway for front-drive V6 models and 17/22 for AWD models.


Antilock brakes, a tire-pressure monitor, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags with a rollover sensor are all standard on the 2008 Mercury Mariner. A reverse-sensing parking system comes with the Premier. Safety scores have not been published as of this writing but we expect them to be similar to those of the '07 model.

Interior Design and Special Features

Impressive fit and finish are evident in the Mercury Mariner's five-passenger cabin. A center console box big enough to swallow a laptop also features removable bins that can be attached to the front passenger side and rear of the console. Satin-finish metallic accents and available two-tone leather seating give the interior an upscale feel. The front seats are well bolstered and comfortable, but the rear seat, although roomy, has flat cushions and offers no recline or fore/aft adjustments. Folding that seat down is a chore, too, as the headrests must be removed and the bottom cushions tipped forward before the seatbacks can be flipped down. Cargo space stands at 29 cubic feet behind the second row and 66 cubes with the second row folded down.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Mercury Mariner's new electric power-steering system delivers surprisingly good road feel and response. Overall, handling is respectable, with the compact SUV remaining flat through corners and composed in quick transitions. Sadly, the ride quality is more trucklike than carlike. Although the Mariner's suspension absorbs larger bumps without drama, smaller road imperfections can make it feel busy. Brake pedal feel is firm and reassuring, but Mariners with rear drum brakes (all except V6 AWD model) return dismal stopping distances.

Talk About The 2008 Mariner

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs