2010 Mercury Mariner SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2010 Mercury Mariner SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Mercury Mariner Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 171 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2010 Mercury Mariner

  • Though the 2010 Mercury Mariner has some desirable attributes, particularly in the technology arena, we think there are better choices overall.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Impressive roster of high-tech goodies, adequate performance and fuel economy, excellent crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Non-reclining rear seat that's difficult to fold, poor braking performance, forgettable driving experience.

  • What's New for 2010

    The 2010 Mercury Mariner loses its optional in-dash CD changer but gains standard satellite radio, and Sync-equipped models without navigation now offer a communications system that includes 911 assist, traffic reports and turn-by-turn driving directions. Also, the newly standard MyKey system allows parents to limit speed and audio volume for their teen drivers, and a back-up camera is now available, as is a nifty Auto Park feature that steers the car during parallel parking.

Full 2010 Mercury Mariner Review

What's New for 2010

The 2010 Mercury Mariner loses its optional in-dash CD changer but gains standard satellite radio, and Sync-equipped models without navigation now offer a communications system that includes 911 assist, traffic reports and turn-by-turn driving directions. Also, the newly standard MyKey system allows parents to limit speed and audio volume for their teen drivers, and a back-up camera is now available, as is a nifty Auto Park feature that steers the car during parallel parking.


The Mercury Mariner debuted four years ago, but it's essentially a rebadged version of the Ford Escape introduced way back at the turn of the century. Since then, both models have received significant styling, interior, powertrain and suspension revisions. These have kept the Mariner fresh, but it remains an open question whether they make the 2010 Mercury Mariner truly competitive against its rivals.

On the plus side, the recently fortified engines are certainly up to the challenge. The 240-horsepower V6 is bested by segment luminaries like Toyota's 268-hp RAV4 and Chevrolet's 264-hp Equinox, but it's powerful enough to move the Mariner around with decent verve. The base 171-hp four-cylinder unit is also just fine for this class. Fuel economy is solid too, with the front-wheel-drive four-cylinder model delivering a respectable 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.

The availability of Ford's Sync system is another strong selling point, particularly with the new 911 assist and GPS functions (traffic reports and turn-by-turn directions) that run through your paired Bluetooth phone. Additional pluses include a new Auto Park system that blissfully takes the guesswork out of parallel parking, standard MyKey (which allows parents to set electronic limits for vehicle speed and stereo volume for their teenage driver), excellent crash test scores and the availability of a hybrid model (reviewed separately).

But the problem with the 2010 Mercury Mariner is that it's an "on-paper" kind of vehicle. It has a lot of strengths, but spend some quality time with the Mariner and you'll realize that Mercury hasn't taught this old dog enough new tricks. Its rear brakes were downgraded to inferior drums in 2008, and every Mariner since has borne this badge of shame. Additionally, the rear seats are a hassle to fold down and don't recline, limiting comfort and versatility.

How much significance potential buyers will allot to these issues is unknown, but for us they're enough to dull the Mariner's attractiveness in the small crossover SUV segment. A Mariner test-drive might be worth your time, especially if you have a fondness for technology features, but we certainly recommend also looking at the all-new Chevrolet Equinox, Honda's refined CR-V, Subaru's versatile Forester, the sporty Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan's stylish Rogue or Toyota's all-star RAV4.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2010 Mercury Mariner compact SUV is available in four trim levels: I4, V6, Premier I4 and Premier V6. The base I4 Mariner comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, foglights, privacy glass, full power accessories, air-conditioning, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a four-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. The V6 includes all of the base I4's standard equipment plus the 3.0-liter V6 engine. The Premier I4 model adds rear parking sensors, ambient interior lighting, heated front seats, leather upholstery (Alcantara inserts are a no-cost option), a power driver seat, a six-speaker stereo, Sync and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Premier V6 model pairs the Premier I4's standard content with the six-cylinder engine.

Options on non-Premier models include a roof rack, a moonroof, Sync, leather upholstery, a power driver seat and ambient interior lighting. Among the options on Premier models are 17-inch wheels, step bars, a back-up camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, the Auto Park system that steers the car automatically while parallel parking, full Alcantara upholstery, a sunroof, an upgraded seven-speaker stereo system and a hard-drive-based navigation system with music storage, Sirius Travel Link and real-time traffic.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2010 Mercury Mariner is available with either front- or all-wheel drive. The base 2.5-liter inline-4 generates 171 hp and 171 pound-feet of torque, while the uplevel 3.0-liter V6 cranks out 240 hp and 223 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired with six-speed automatic transmissions.

Properly equipped, the V6 Mariner can tow up to 3,500 pounds. EPA estimates are about average for this segment, with front-wheel-drive I4 models checking in at 20 miles per gallon city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined (19/25/21 for AWD models), while front-wheel-drive V6 models are rated at 18 mpg city/26 highway/21 combined (17/24/20 for AWD models).


Antilock brakes (albeit with rear drums), traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags with a rollover sensor are all standard on the 2010 Mercury Mariner.

The Mariner earned a perfect five stars from the government in both front and side crash tests. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Mariner scored the highest rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side tests. Unfortunately, the Mariner's braking performance is poor. From 60 mph, the mechanically identical Ford Escape we tested recently stopped in a disappointing 138 feet.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Mariner's cabin is a pleasantly functional space, thanks in part to a huge center console with removable bins. Satin-finish metallic accents and available leather upholstery add a premium sheen. However, the Mariner is starting to feel its age in terms of comfort and space. Up front, the seating position is too tall and there's no telescoping steering wheel, granting one the feeling of hovering above the controls. The front seats are shaped well enough, but the rear seat is as flat as a pirate's plank and offers neither a recline function nor fore/aft adjustability. What's more, folding the seatback down is a royal pain, requiring the headrests to be removed and the bottom cushions to be tipped forward. Cargo volume stands at a useful 29 cubic feet with the rear seat in place and 66 cubic feet when that seat is folded down not bad given the Mariner's relatively compact footprint.

On the technology front, the new Auto Park option on Premier models is a cool feature, particularly at the Mariner's relatively modest price point: Once activated, the system automatically steers during parallel parking, asking the driver to control only the brake and throttle. We also like that Sync now offers 911 assist (an automatic 911 call via your Bluetooth-paired cell phone in the event of airbag deployment), traffic updates and turn-by-turn navigation, even without the optional navigation system. Using a paired Bluetooth phone, updates and directions are either sent via text message or piped through the Mariner's speakers. Finally, the standard MyKey system limits top speed (to 80 mph) and stereo volume for teenage drivers, among other vaguely Orwellian functions.

Driving Impressions

The 2010 Mercury Mariner feels reasonably secure during quick changes of direction, and its ride quality is pleasantly supple. Performance from either engine is satisfactory, and the six-speed automatic transmission provides smooth shifts. Braking distances are unacceptably long, however, and in general the Mariner lacks that extra dynamic something that would distinguish it from other compact SUVs.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Car nut... so this shouldn't

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Vehicle: 2010 Mercury Mariner Premier 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

Was looking for a new ride for my wife. We have a 2005 Escape and she pretty much loves it. She set aside a 2002 Highlander and took the Escape from me. So we recently shopped the New Highlander, Venza, and CRV along with new Escape. I thought the new Escape fit me like a Mummy box. Nice for around time, but no room to move around on 300 mile trips. The new Highlander was big! The Venza, expensive and ridiculous 20" wheels. CRV the seats don't suit me and she felt it wasn't substantial. So what do we do... look for a new used "old style" Escape. This Merc was priced better, has some toys like phone interface and the "jukebox" and "nav" that seems to work well.

First time mercury owner

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Vehicle: 2010 Mercury Mariner Premier 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

I purchased this vehicle used a few weeks ago and I am very pleased. It is almost 3 years old at this point but only had 11,000 miles on it. It's smaller than the Oldsmobile Bravada I used to have. I am pleased with the gas mileage (28.4) on the highway. I could whine about a few minor things but there is no point. Overall, I really like this vehicle.

2010 mariner 6 cyl fwd

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Vehicle: 2010 Mercury Mariner Premier 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

.Excellent drv & pass frt seats. I am 6'4" and fit well in either. Good back support. Back seats average. . Good Suspension - Great ride for short WB. . 6 cyl (240 HP) very strong running. . Have 18.5K miles so far - no mech issues. . Sunroof had major wind noise when open. Weather Tech deflector solved it. Easy Install. . Mileage 25-28 MPG at 65-70 MPH highway. 22-25 Suburban /city driving. . Max roof rack bar separation is marginal at 30"- could have been easily designed to have 36". . Installed 2" Curt Rec Hitch- medium effort.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Not a mountaineer

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Vehicle: 2010 Mercury Mariner 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

I got this vehicle after driving a Mountaineer for 6 years. The Mariner was a little disappointing-comparitvely speaking. I got a great deal on it however. Gas mileage is OK, comfort is OK, but the drive is noisey at best. And, while I did get the 'flex fuel' model, there is no flex fuel to be found in my area of the country - what is the point?


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Vehicle: 2010 Mercury Mariner 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

Just bought the vehicle and got an incredible deal. Not as comfortable as I would like. Great mileage, some wind noise. Wished the seat went further back

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Love my mariner!

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Vehicle: 2010 Mercury Mariner 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

My M.M is much more than I thought it would be. The big rebates/incentives and good gas mileage (for an SUV) were huge motivators in my decision to purchase a M.M. I was surprisingly shocked at how much I like this SUV. My MPG gauge tells me I am getting 27, great, smooth ride, love the interior & the sun roof. An extra plus is the sync system which I have finally mastered.

Talk About The 2010 Mariner

2010 Mercury Mariner Discussions See all Started By

My wife has a new 2010 Premier Mariner (2 weeks old and 300 miles). She is having terrible back pain since driving this car. When I adjustment the lumbar support, not much happens from the softest to ...

Looking for some advice...not sure what to do. We have a 2010 Mariner Premier with 68,000 miles on it. For the first 40,000 or so everything was fine. However, from that point to now, it's been a n...

Going forward, he said, Mercury will continue to offer improved versions of its Mariner crossover, Milan mid-sized sedan and a new as yet unnamed compact. That car will go into production in 2010 and ...

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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