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Photos: 2009 Mercury Mariner Hybrid

Sporting Ford's Sync system and Sirius Travel Link, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid features some of the best cabin tech in the business, we're only let down by the mediocre audio quality of the stereo. The engine also gets an update for the 2009 model year.

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Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 25 Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive

2009 Mercury Mariner Hybrid

The Mercury Mariner and stablemate the Ford Escape are two small SUV models from Ford, with identical drivetrain options. Ford began offering full hybrid versions of the cars for the 2005 model year.
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Grille design

Styling differentiates the Mercury Mariner Hybrid with the Ford Escape Hybrid, such as the different grille designs.
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Hybrid horsepower

The 2009 Mariner Hybrid gets a bigger engine than its predecessor, up to 2.5-liters from 2.3-liters. The addition of an electric motor gives the car a net 177 horsepower.
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Room for five

As a small SUV, the Mariner Hybrid has room for five, plus cargo space, with a high driving position.
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Ride quality

The Mariner Hybrid is top-heavy, so not designed for spirited driving. The suspension delivers a comfortable ride.
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Back glass

The back glass opens independently from the tailgate, making access easy.
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Cargo space

Opening the tailgate allows full access to the cargo area, a space that can be increased by folding down the second row seats.
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Interior materials

The Mariner Hybrid isn't that much more luxurious than the Escape Hybrid, but the leather and chrome accents are nice.
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Electric power steering

The Mariner Hybrid uses electric power steering, helping out the fuel economy. Many new models are coming out with this feature.
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Green zone

When the needle is in the tachometer's green zone, the engine has shut off, usually at a stop light or in traffic.
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Transmission

As with most full hybrids, the Mariner Hybrid uses a continuously variable transmission, delivering smooth acceleration.
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Sync button

The voice button on the steering wheel activates the car's Sync system, which lets you play music just by saying an artist's name.
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Power flow

This power flow animation shows the car working in hybrid mode, drawing power from both the engine and electric motor.
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Maps

Maps are rich and colorful, and include useful information such as traffic flow on major roads.
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On-screen keyboard

We like this simple onscreen keyboard method of address entry.
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Weather information

Sirius Travel Link brings in weather information, complete with a five day forecast and a weather map for the whole country.
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Gas prices

One key feature of Sirius Travel Link are fuel prices, which can be sorted by cheapest to most expensive.
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Movie times

The system also includes movie times, making it particularly easy to plan impromptu outings.
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Sync phone system

The Sync Bluetooth phone system is very good. It can import your phone's contact list and give you voice commands for calling friends.
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Sirius satellite radio

Sirius satellite radio is present, and includes little graphics for the current station.
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MP3 CDs

The single disc slot can read MP3 CDs, but the interface merely shows folders.
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USB port

The USB port can be used for a USB drive, an iPod, and many other kinds of MP3 players.
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Track display

The track display shows various information about the currently playing music, and allows access to the Music Library.
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Music Library

In the Music Library, you can choose to browse music by album, artist, and genre, whether your music is on an MP3 player or USB drive.
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Audio system

The premium audio system in the Mariner Hybrid has seven speakers and a subwoofer, but isn't all that good.

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