Ok, I just turned over 1,100 miles and drove through some wicked weather last night, so it's time for a Mariner update. And there have been no further issues with the little SUV. Once the swaybar link was repaired the truck has seemed to be improving on a daily basis. Fuel economy has been improving, averaging 20 mpg on a mostly urban loop.
The big news was last night's storm here in the New York Metro area. We decided to go to a party in New Jersey near Newark, which in good weather is just under an hour away. The forecast was for bad snow, high winds and low visability. Not the weather you'd think I would take a brand new untried vehicle out in? I don't drink, I have tons of experience driving in very bad weather (usually in the bulletproof Ranger) and knew that if I just took my time I'd be fine.
And the Mariner earned it's stripes! We left the party in Jersey at 11 pm, and got back to Westchester at 1 am, without a hitch. Most of that delay was because we were following slower traffic, including several plows on the local roads in Jersey.
I can't tell you how many stuck/stranded/abandoned cars we passed on the various highways, but I can tell you that no matter how slick it got the Mariner's "Inteligent AWD" with traction control was able to pull us through. Sure there was that long stretch of 280 in Jersey where speeds were held down to 10mph, but for the bulk of the trip we averaged 35 mph and not a wiggle from the Mariner.
I'm not ready to put the Ranger out to pasture yet, but it's nice to know that the car is smarter than I am. If I had known just how bad traveling was going to be I would have lit a fire and stayed home. But it's nice to know that the Mariner can move through some ugly road conditions. One note that I found odd, was the majority of cars I saw stuck were BMW and Mercedes, some with AWD. The key besides having a capable car, is knowing that slow and steady gets you home while overconfidence gets you stuck.
The Mariner is looking like one of the best buys in my humble view.