If the vehicle sits for a week or more in hot weather, when first driving it after 3 blocks, it stays in 2nd gear too long for one time. A Ford bulletin says this is normal for this vehicle. After sitting in cooler weather, it does not do it for me. Since most of the year I drive it everyday, it hardly ever happens, or never. I had just let it sit one time in the hot summer when using my other car. If it does happen, you just go carefully, and after it stays in 2nd a little too long, you can go faster, and it is back to normal. Stay at the same speed in 2nd until it shifts late.
Have not had any other problems, and this is really no problem for me. The transmission still seems durable anyway.
I love the car for the money. Drives nice and is quiet inside. I had a Honda CRV that sounded like sitting outside when a semi went by, to me. The Mariner is much more quiet inside. I drove a recent Toyota Rav4, and it feels and sounds a lot more cheap to me.
I have front wheel drive with the 4 cylinder engine. Not thrilled with 6 speed transmissions, but you get used to it. Kinda of go along with it when you don't have to step on it for any reason. I like 4 speed better. Less to go wrong and nicer at slow speeds.
The Mariner has much better heat than I had in the Honda CRV. The Honda would actually give less heat if really cold out, the more you drove, especially at idle. But the Mariner takes a little longer than I would like for heat at the floor, but is always hot at the vents. No big deal for me, because I just blow the vents on me.
I put a rear camera on the Mariner, bought at Autozone. A cheap one, but it works fine since I wired the antenna right next to the screen. Otherwise reception is no good if the antenna is in the back of the vehicle. I would not want this Mariner without it. I can see if kids are behind me.
The steering has a feel of something slightly, when backing out of my garage, turning left a little, but I never feel again when driving. Ford has bulletin on this too, I think I read somewhere, and it is suppose to be normal. Feels like slight binding.
Overall, I love the vehicle for the money. Rides nice. Seats are much better than a lot of vehicles I have been in. Comfortable. Don't like the seats in the newer model. Too narrow for me (I sat in the Mazda version of the Ford Escape).
I got the shade for the back and locking gas cap, and they both are nice.
The 4 cylinder engine has enough power, and has less weight for stopping in snow, which is more important to me than trying to get going. And like I said, plenty of heat! And by the way, the air conditioning is real cold too!