Whats new for the 2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Whats new for the 2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid

Friday, October 06, 2006

Whats new for the 2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid

Mariner Hybrid Proves its Durability and Urban City Prowess

Mariner Hybrid comes with a 2.3-liter DOHC 16-valve Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine and a permanent magnet AC synchronous motor. The gasoline engine produces 133 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 124 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,250 rpm. The electric motor produces 70 kw @ 5,000 rpm and 330V maximum voltage. The net result is 155 horsepower with 0-60 times comparable to a 200 horsepower V6 engine and a boost in city-driving fuel economy of nearly 75 percent. A smooth-shifting, electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is the only available transmission on the hybrid model.

For 2008, Mariner Hybrid engineers made revisions to software in the control system to improve transparency, or the transition between gasoline and electric operation. The transition from all-electric to gasoline power to a combination of the two is now even more seamless and virtually imperceptible to the driver. Also, the four-wheel-disc regenerative brakes have also been retuned to provide better feel. With the 2008 model year, Mariner Hybrid will be available for the first time with a choice of front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Previously, the Mariner Hybrid was offered only as a four-wheel-drive model.

Mariner Hybrid continues to be a “full” hybrid. This means that, unlike other "mild" hybrid vehicles, Mariner Hybrid can run on 100 percent electric power up to about 30 mph, maximizing in-city fuel economy. Mariner Hybrid automatically switches between pure electric power, pure gasoline engine power or combined operation of the two to maximize efficiency and performance.

Full hybrids achieve their greatest improvement in fuel economy during stop-and-go driving where the electric motor is most efficient. The Mariner Hybrid provides approximately 75 percent better fuel economy in city driving than the conventional V6 Mariner.

Enhanced Styling
  • A “top of dash” display positioned at eye level on the dashboard shows inside and outside temperature, radio functions and climate control readouts. When the driver or front passenger adjusts a knob or button on the instrument panel, the change is reflected in the eye-level display instead of lower down on the dashboard where information is typically located. This simple, efficient design puts much of the vehicle’s information in one place at the top of the dashboard, making it easier to read while driving.

  • Ice Blue Lighting replaces green on the instrument cluster, on the center console, on the door lock and window switches and on the steering wheel. Ice Blue presents a cool, crisp, easy-on-the-eyes light for night driving and enhances the overall quality feel of the interior.

  • Replacing the traditional “brick” design for the radio and heating/air conditioning controls, Mariner features dials and buttons that “poke-through” the center console. The instrument panel houses audio and climate controls, a standard MP3/iPod ® jack, controls for the heated seats and an available in-dash Navigation system. The result is a more integrated, more finished look.

Reduction in Road Noise

Engineers made a host of changes to the 2008 Mariner to lower NVH levels inside the vehicle. A new acoustic windshield laminate is sandwiched between two glass panels in the front windshield. In addition to preventing the windshield from breaking apart in a collision, the new laminate material reduces the sound level of wind noise experienced in the vehicle. There’s an acoustic headliner in the vehicle as well, and the interior carpet is thicker than the previous model and does a better job of isolating noise. Overall, carpet volume has increased by 25 percent with a 50 percent increase in thickness over about 50 percent of the area.

  • Side glass thickness has increased from 3.8 to 4.7 mm and helps prevent outside noise from entering the passenger cabin.
  • On V6-equipped models, engineers moved the alternator from the right to left side of the engine. Because the engine is transversely mounted, the noise is now located farther away from the passenger cabin.
  • A new, quieter cooling fan reduces idle noise.
  • All-wheel drive models have a new rear differential that is quieter and smoother.
  • New windshield molding and low profile wipers help improve airflow around the vehicle and reduce wind noise.
  • Redesigned recessed channels on top of Mariner are staggered and shorter to reduce boom as air flows over the top.
  • Outside mirrors are larger and careful attention was given to their design to minimize wind noise.
  • Additional sound deadening material has been added throughout the vehicle to reduce noise throughout the interior.

Safety Canopy™ with "Roll-Fold" Technology Offers Enhanced Rollover and Side-Impact Protection

Safety Canopy™ side air curtains deploy in certain side-impact collisions, or if an impending rollover is detected, to help protect front- and second-row outboard occupants. The curtains remain inflated for several seconds after deployment to enhance protection during an extended crash event.

The air curtains feature "roll-fold" technology. If occupants are improperly seated and resting their heads against a window, the Safety Canopy™ is designed to slide between the glass and occupants as it inflates.

Mariner is also one of the first 2008 model year vehicles designed to meet the upgraded, phase II Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for front- and side-impact collisions.

Designed with the new standard in mind, Mariner has new doors and a standard side-impact protection system; on the previous-generation Mariner, the side-impact protection system was available as an option only. Mariner also enters 2008 retaining the previous model’s double four-star front occupant safety rating from NHTSA.

Additional Mariner safety features include front seat load limiting seatbelts with dual-pretensioning that, in the event of a collision, remove the slack out of the safety belt in two places – at the buckle and at the retractor. This cinches the driver and front passenger in their seats and allows the seatbelts to "payout" through the ride-down of the crash event. Additionally, the driver and front passenger front airbags are new (the driver’s bag is one inch larger), and the energy absorbing knee bolster system of the instrument panel has been redesigned to provide better protection for both driver and front passenger.

Other Safety Features
  • Anti-lock Brake System (ABS): ABS regulates brake pressure to help prevent wheel lockup when trying to stop the vehicle.
  • Traction Control: When the traction control system detects a loss of adhesion between the wheels and the road surface, a computer quickly responds by reducing engine power when necessary and selectively applying brake force to the slipping wheel while transferring power to the opposite wheel.
  • Yaw Control: When understeer (which leads to “pushing” wide in a turn) or oversteer (which leads to the rear-end losing grip and coming around, or “fishtailing”) is detected, the system selectively applies individual brakes and modifies engine power to maximize control.
  • Vehicle Roll-motion Sensor: The Ford-exclusive gyroscopic roll-rate sensor helps monitor vehicle roll motion approximately 150 times per second. If it detects a significant roll angle, it automatically engages AdvanceTrac ® with RSC ® to help keep all four wheels safely on the ground.

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