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Interior space; smooth ride; maneuverability; safety features; hybrid fuel economy
After a rather extensive redesign for 2008, the Mercury Mariner gets several significant mechanical improvements for 2009, including a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission that help the standard Mariner be both more powerful and more fuel-efficient. The optional V-6 also gets a 20-percent boost in power and improved fuel economy for 2009, and the Hybrid model gets a new Atkinson-cycle version of the four-cylinder engine to pair with its hybrid-electric system, which has been retuned for smoother operation. Along with the revised powertrains, aerodynamic improvements and low-rolling-resistance tires also contribute to efficiency. Also this year Mariner gets a new rear stabilizer bar and its suspension has been revised for improved ride and handling; the steering and braking systems have also been retuned for better responsiveness. Other features introduced for 2009 include a new capless Easy Fuel system, new ambient lighting, and redesigned seats with an eco-friendly seat fabric. Cruise control is now standard on all models. Additionally, a new Mariner Limited Hybrid model brings more luxury features to the most fuel-efficient model in the lineup.