I had this car as a rental for a week when my regular car (2001 Taurus Sedan) was in the shop.
My Taurus review is located at http://www.carsurvey.org/review_110663.html
I had the choice of this Mercury Mariner or a 2008 Focus. See my review at http://www.carsurvey.org/review_115139.html
Naturally, I chose the Mariner to be different.
Generally, I liked the Mariner. To provide a picture, the Mariner was maroon (red) on the outside, with black leather seats that had grey cloth inserts.
I liked sitting up higher (versus in a sedan). The view of the road was indeed 'commanding', and it was not too high to get in and out.
The seats were pretty comfortable even after four hours 'in the saddle'. They were grey cloth with black leather trimming. The leather was plush, and durable, however, it does not hide stains at all. For only being a few months old, the seats were dirty due in part to spilled drinks.
Folding the rear seats was a snap. The biggest problem was removing the headrests.
I liked the control display. I thought it was intuitive to use. The control stack lit up a sky blue and was legible to read. I also liked the dual climate control, setting each front seat to a temperature as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit, or as high as 90. Possibly my favorite feature of the entire car was the song title dictation. It told you the name of the song as it played on the radio. One word of advice about Ford's new radios - do not use the SCAN function. See my mishap in my Focus review. I much preferred the presets from the dealer or the TUNE function.
The Mariner had excellent acceleration for an SUV. I thought it would be worse.
It was absolutely impossible to notice the gears shifting, but I found the Overdrive on the gearshift an absolute joke.
The center console is ingenious! It was huge, and had two inserts that could be 'hooked' onto the back of the console by sliding the clip into a slot. One of the attachments could be described as a carpeted ashtray. The other was almost a full-blown console minus the lid. The latter console attachment was the bulk of the front-seat console, and when removed, took the front of the console with it, leaving it open. While on the topic of the center console, the "tissue package holder" was simply two clips, and it kept falling out. In my Taurus, it is another pocket on the inside of the lid. One last thing - if the rear cup holders were moved, there would be a three-inch gain in length on the inside, and that would also be the same size as what it is now.
The mirrors were rather large (and this is true!).
The stereo system was EXCELLENT! I hear some of my favorite songs on the radio everyday, and only until I drove the Mariner with the stereo did I hear new lines of music.
The rear window opening apart from the door is another desirable feature.
The Mariner was a fine car, but it needs its issues worked out. They are not critical, but are annoyances.
The rear-sensing system will probably be sought after by many customers. I had it on the rental, but it was entirely too quiet.
What's with the clear taillights? They are hideous!
There was an unidentified rattle coming from the back of the car. It sounded like the tailgate glass wasn't shut, but it was, along with all the doors.
Why can you not select the 4WD?
According to the trip computer, the Mariner had a 21.5 MPG average. I reset it at the beginning, but it was dismal (being as it was mostly highway driving).
If there is automatic climate control for the front, I would think two rear air vents for the rear seats would come with them.
The sun visors were my biggest pet peeve. First of all, there was only one per person (in my Taurus, there are two). When you went to turn the visor from front to side or side to front, you would bump your head on the visor. On my Taurus, there is a 'cut-out' so you will not smack your head. I use the double visor all the time, so this was a retrograde. Come on Ford, this is strictly ergonomics.
Where is the rear-seat armrest?
The glove box was too low down and the owner's manual barely fit in it.
I hated the brakes on the car. The statement of my utter dislike toward the brakes are prohibited from the boundaries of this text box. They were simply too soft.
The controls for the trip computer are in the worst spot ever because they are not in your line of sight when looking at the gauges. I liked the placement of them in the Focus better (at the very bottom of the control stack).
I liked the Mariner, and would consider it as a family hauler, but a lack of detail in the ergonomics might irritate you until you put a few thousand miles on the car. It was a good driver, and I can see myself with one as my next car.