First I'd like to thank MF my friend from Dearborn for the Xplan pin, much appreciated.
It looks like today we're going to give the Mariner a second test drive and if all goes well sign on the dotted line. We're taking advantage of the CARS program (Cash For Clunkers) and trading in our Isuzu Rodeo (Ranger is in too good shape to be scrapped) and combining that with the Fed program and FoMoCo incentives means that this is a great value.
While it's obvious I'm biased toward FoMoCo products, I did my due diligence, researching available vehicles and incentives on small SUVs, CUVs and Wagons from Jeep, Dodge, Chevy, Chrysler, VW, Honda and Subaru ( as well as Ford, but more on that later.) End result? The Mariner is the value leader among them, when combined with mild incentives and the programs I'm taking part in (CARS & XPlan.)
The Mariner drove well in the first drive, the interior was very nice and there are a ton of features I really like. One thing I haven't seen in years, but was a real plus, was the two way opening hatch, where either just the window or the entire liftgate open depending on what you need to load/unload. The one deficiency that jumps out is the lack of 4wheel disc brakes? The Ford/Mercury twins were the only ones that didn't even have this as an option.
Traction Control, ABS, full compliment of Air Bags and the RSC (Roll Stability Control) offer a level of safety and confidence that help aleviate the nag of rear drum brakes. The tech goodies and amenities make the Mariner a near luxury vehicle at a more reasonable price. The 2.5L I-4's 25 mpg and 171 hp have the power and economy balance I'm looking for and the Smart 4WD will help in bad weather.
I've spec'd all the major options, Moonroof, Sync, Power and Heated everything, Dual Zone A/C and Stereo, so this is no stripper. I didn't opt for the DVD Navigation, I've never needed it, with my natural navigation skills, but a Tom Tom or Garmin GPS can be had for much less.
The one surprise was that with all the same option boxes ticked, the Mariner comes up $600 less than it's Ford Escape twin. That and my dislike of the Escape's egg crate grille were the tipping points for the Mariner.
I'll blog more about my adventure with this purchase later this weekend. This will be my first Mercury, I've owned quite a few Fords and even 1 Lincoln over the years, and my mom and dad each had a Mercury over the years, so I'm looking forward to this.
The one downer is that my Mazda 3 sGT is going away, but I'm just thinking of this as MyFordDreams doing my part to stimulate the economy and support the home team.