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Photos: 2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid

Of the handful of small SUV hybrids on the market, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid is the best. It has an excellent hybrid powertrain, but cabin electronics that are only barely above average.

CNET Reviews staff

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The Mariner Hybrid presents a more refined style than its platform-mate, the Ford Escape Hybrid, with a different grille and interior appointments. But the cars are identical in powertrain and cabin gadgets.
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The exterior of the Mariner Hybrid features a smooth design, where fog lights and headlights are integrated into the body.
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The Mariner Hybrid has a functional design, as do most small SUVs. The upright seating means easy access, with ample cargo space in the rear.
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Hybrid logos are conspicuously placed around the Mariner Hybrid, on the tailgate and the sides of the car.
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The cargo space in the Mariner Hybrid is larger than on many other small SUVs we've seen.
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The interior fit and finish shows some build quality in the Mariner Hybrid.
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This new navigation system is a huge improvement over the system in the previous generation with a bigger map. But we're not crazy about the map's resolution.
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The navigation system's address database presents the usual selection of categories.
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We found the channel guide a convenient way to select satellite radio stations.
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The auxiliary input is conveniently placed at the bottom of the stack, near a 12 volt outlet which can be used to power your MP3 player.
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We like the fine-tuning available on the stereo, but the speakers and amplifier are only good, not great.
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First-time hybrid drivers will be fascinated by the energy-flow diagram.
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This screen shows fuel economy for 15 minutes of city driving, with the over 60 mpg bars representing times the car was running under electric power.
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We would have liked audio controls on the steering wheel.
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The charge/assist gauge on the upper right of the instrument cluster is unique to the hybrid version of the Mariner.
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The Mariner Hybrid uses a 2.3-liter Atkinson cycle 4 cylinder engine, along with a 70 kilowatt electric motor.

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