2011 Mercury Mariner SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 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 Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 171 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Mercury Mariner

  • Though the 2011 Mercury Mariner has some desirable attributes, particularly in the technology arena, there are still 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 is difficult to fold; poor braking performance; forgettable driving experience.

  • What's New for 2011

    Though the 2011 Mercury Mariner has some desirable attributes, particularly in the technology arena, there are still better choices overall.

Full 2011 Mercury Mariner Review

What's New for 2011

Though the 2011 Mercury Mariner has some desirable attributes, particularly in the technology arena, there are still better choices overall.


For a long time, Mercury vehicles have been little more than gussied-up versions of Ford products. And so it is with the 2011 Mercury Mariner, which is a slightly uptown version of the Ford Escape. The interesting twist is that this will be the Mariner's last year, because Ford has decided to discontinue the Mercury brand after 2011.

In some ways, the Mariner is still a decent small crossover. In the power department, its 240-horsepower V6 might be outgunned by the Chevrolet Equinox's 264-hp V6 and the Toyota RAV4's 268-hp V6, but it's still more than enough to scoot the Mariner around with some gusto. The base-model Mariner's four-cylinder engine is respectable when compared to the fours of its rivals in terms of output, fuel economy and real-world performance.

The Mariner also offers a number of high-end features unavailable on most rivals, such as Ford's Sync voice-activated multimedia system. Once connected through your Bluetooth-compatible phone, Sync can also provide traffic reports and turn-by-turn directions. The Mariner also offers features like an automated parallel parking assist system and MyKey (which allows parents of teenage drivers to set electronic limits for vehicle speed and stereo volume). Other Mariner strong points are excellent crash test scores and the availability of a hybrid model (reviewed separately).

Just as with the Ford Escape, however, there are still a few notable deficiencies in the Mariner's profile. One is that the rear drum brakes result in subpar braking performance. Another is the rear seats, which don't recline for passenger comfort and are somewhat complicated to tumble forward for more load capacity (although the load floor is usefully flat as a result).

For some consumers, these few demerits will be more than compensated for by the 2011 Mercury Mariner's many attractive convenience features. They may also be enticed by a screaming deal, as 2011 will be the last year for the Mercury brand. But we'd still advise compact crossover shoppers to also consider the comfortable 2011 Chevrolets Equinox, the refined 2011 Honda CR-V, the stylish 2011 Kia Sportage, the sporty 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander, the stylish Nissan Rogue, the versatile Subaru Forester, and the powerful 2011 Toyota RAV4.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Mercury Mariner compact SUV is available in four trim levels: base I4, base V6, Premier I4 and Premier V6. As you'd expect, I4 and V6 models have different engines under the hood -- no other features distinguish these models from one another.

The base models come 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 Premier models add rear parking sensors, ambient interior lighting, heated front seats, leather upholstery (microfiber suede inserts are a no-cost option), a power driver seat, a six-speaker stereo, Sync and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Options for base models include a roof rack, a moonroof, Sync, leather upholstery (with heated front seats), a power driver seat and ambient interior lighting. Available on Premier models are a Chrome Appearance package (with the grille, 17-inch wheels and roof rails covered in the shiny stuff), side step bars, 17-inch wheels, a back-up camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, the Auto Park system (new technology from Ford steers the car automatically while parallel parking), full microfiber-suede upholstery, a sunroof, an upgraded seven-speaker stereo system and a hard-drive-based navigation system (with music storage, HD radio, Sirius Travel Link and real-time traffic).

Powertrains and Performance

The 2011 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 a six-speed automatic transmission. 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 equipment on the 2011 Mercury Mariner.

The Mariner earned a perfect five stars from the government in both front and side crash tests. In testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 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 Ford Escape we tested (mechanically identical to the Mariner) required 138 feet to come to a halt.

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. The Mariner shows its age, however, in terms of comfort and space. Up front, the seating position feels upright and trucklike and there's no telescoping steering wheel, so you have the feeling that you're 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 for maximum cargo capacity is a royal pain, requiring the headrests to be removed and the bottom cushions to be tumbled forward, a consequence of offering a flat load floor. 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.

Driving Impressions

The 2011 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 crossover SUVs.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Love at first sight

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Mercury Mariner Premier 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

Okay, we were at the car sale so my husband could get a feel of what kind of car I was interested in and what features I wanted. I wanted a small SUV that would fit in our garage that had two non-negotiable requirements. The glass on the back-hatch had to open, and I needed map pockets on the back of the front seats. I spotted the Mercury Mariner (complete with moon roof!) and it filled all of the requirements. The ride is smooth, the interior is quiet and I find braking assertive. I like the bluetooth phone feature and all the bells and whistles. Our car and truck are older, so everything is a marked upgade. The price was excellent, too! Bought it right away!

A total disappointment

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Mercury Mariner 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

Two months after purchasing my 2011 Mariner 4 cylinder the rear window exploded. Even though the dealer claimed ignorance to the issue I found many occurrences on the internet proving it was a known defect. The air conditioner quit working next. Took the dealer 3 attempts to fix it during the hottest period in Wisconsin in decades. Next a defective alternator pulley required 3 days at the dealer. Since the replacement of the pulley the air conditioner has quit working again. The warranty will expire very soon. Now I just want to get rid of the car. Had enough.

Ok for to and from

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Mercury Mariner 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

It was time to get a new vehicle, and the salesman said it was "zippy" for a 4 cylinder. It seemed ok when I took it for a test drive on surface streets, but after getting it on the highway, I realized it is not at all "zippy." It has no pick up and go, especially when you have anyone else in the car or anything heavy in the car. It would be great for an older couple who are just going to and from the store, etc., but living in a big city and merging on and off of the highway, this car really is a disappointment. The body style is a little out-dated but at least it doesn't look like a bug, like most newer SUVs do. It gets 24 miles/gallon. The digital fuel gage is rarely accurate.

Excellent buy!!!

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Mercury Mariner Premier 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

I have to say the braking and maybe MPG are the only things that need improvement. I have the V6 AWD Premier model and it has plenty of power, the comfort is awesome, and it drives better than most cars. For all intents and purposes I LOVE this suv and just wish Mervury was still around because in 8-10 years when I drive this one into the ground I would buy another in a heartbeat!

We like our mariner

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Mercury Mariner Premier 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

Love the back up camera in the rear view mirror. Noticed in riding in the back seat-no grab bars, and no mechanical lock release. We bought this car less than a week ago, got the premier V6, leather seats, dual climate,rear view back up camera and moon roof. So far like everything. We have a 2005 Toyota Highlander, which interior-wise is a lot nicer, even without the leather seats. Highlander doesn't have the modern amenities. My husband thinks it feels more like a truck then SUV, I think it is because it sits up a bit higher, and the front is slightly longer. Thought we would try Mercury-My dad has always bought Fords, and we always had good luck with them lasting a long time!

1 of 15 people found this review helpful

Great fwd suv

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Mercury Mariner 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 6A)

4 Cylinder was very surprising and powerful. Very quiet on the highway and the 30+ mpg is a real treat. LOTS of hauling capacity. Overall a great little SUV that is very fun to drive and very easy on gas.

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Gas Mileage


  • 22
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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