Best & Worst Mercury Mariner Years

I've taken a closer look at every Mercury Mariner from 2005 until it was discontinued in 2011 and categorized the best & worst years in this short guide.

In this guide, I’ll analyze all Mercury Mariner generations, highlighting the best Mariner years to buy and the worst years to avoid.

We’ve meticulously compiled data from reliable sources, including NHTSA, Consumer Reports, and J.D. Power, ensuring our assessments are accurate and trustworthy.

Dive into specifics, such as the outstanding reliability of the 2011 Mercury Mariner and the problems faced by the 2008 version.

Let’s dive right in!

Table of ContentsShow

Mercury Mariner Generations

The Mercury Mariner, introduced in 2005, was Mercury’s foray into the compact SUV market, offering a blend of style and utility.

It featured a comfortable interior, decent fuel economy, and available four-wheel drive, making it a versatile choice for consumers.

This table outlines the generations of the Mercury Mariner from 2005 to its discontinuation in 2011.

1st Generation2005-2007
2nd Generation2008-2011

It’s important to note these generations to understand the significant changes and enhancements that occurred, influencing performance, reliability, and features.

Mercury Mariner Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

When categorizing the best, neutral, and worst years for the Mercury Mariner, our analysis encompasses a comprehensive range of factors. These include:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings

Next, a graph combines all these ratings for each Mercury Mariner model year.

Mercury Mariner Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

The table below categorizes all Mercury Mariner model years into the best, neutral, and worst years for each generation.

GenerationBest YearsWorst Years
1st Generation20072005
2nd Generation20112008

It’s important to note that ‘Neutral Years’ didn’t particularly stand out in either a positive or negative light. They generally represent a balanced mix of strengths and weaknesses.

Some factors, like NHTSA recalls, can significantly impact a car’s reliability rating. A higher number of complaints and recalls typically indicates lower reliability.

Let’s dive into the best, neutral, and worst years for the Mercury Mariner.

Best & Worst Years for Mercury Mariner 1st Generation (2005-2007)

Mercury Mariner 1st generation 2005 model
The 2005 Mercury Mariner

The Mercury Mariner, introduced in 2005, was designed as a more upscale version of the popular Ford Escape, aiming to attract buyers seeking a compact SUV with a premium feel.

2007 is the best year for the first-generation Mercury Mariner, while 2005 and 2006 are the worst years to avoid.

The Best Year: 2007

The 2007 Mercury Mariner is the best year of the first generation. This year featured improved reliability and refinements over its predecessors.

It offered two engine options: a 2.3L I4 engine for those prioritizing fuel efficiency and a more powerful 3.0L V6 for enhanced performance.

The 2.3L Duratec engine delivered around 20 city/24 highway MPG, while the V6 provided a more spirited drive with slightly lower fuel economy.

This year also saw the introduction of the Mariner Hybrid, boasting better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.

Safety features were bolstered with the standard inclusion of side airbags and a more robust safety system.  

The interior and exterior styling received subtle updates, enhancing the vehicle’s overall aesthetic appeal and comfort.

However, the 2007 Mariner also received a recall for coolant pump failures.

The Worst Years: 2005, 2006

Our research concludes that the 2005 and 2006 Mariner models are the worst years to avoid in the first generation.

The 2005 Mercury Mariner was notorious for powertrain problems, particularly transmission failures and rough shifting, significantly impacting the driving experience.

It also faced electrical issues, including malfunctions in the dashboard and lighting systems.

The 2006 Mariner struggled with reliability, with notable issues in front sub-frame corrosion leading to steering problems.

Additionally, there were reports of sticky accelerator pedals, raising safety concerns.

Recalls during these years included fixes for coolant pump failures and wiper malfunctions.

See NHTSA 2005, 2006 Mercury Mariner recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Mercury Mariner 2nd Generation (2008-2011)

Mercury Mariner 2nd generation 2008 model
The 2008 Mercury Mariner

The second generation of the Mercury Mariner, debuting in 2008, marked a significant redesign focusing on improved aesthetics, technology, and safety.

The worst Mercury Mariner years to avoid span between 2008 and 2010, while the best year to buy is 2011.

The Best Year: 2011

What is the best Mercury Mariner year to buy? The 2011 model is the best and most reliable year for the second-generation Mercury Mariner.

This year’s model boasted two engines: a 2.5L I4 that balances performance and fuel efficiency, with an EPA estimated 21 city/27 highway MPG, and a 3.0L V6 for those seeking more power.

This year also saw the Mariner Hybrid variant, combining impressive fuel efficiency and sufficient power.

Safety features, including advanced airbag systems and stability control, were enhanced, contributing to its strong safety ratings.

The Mariner in 2011 offered a range of trims, from the base model with essential features to the Premier trim with luxury touches like leather seating and a sophisticated infotainment system.

The Worst Years: 2008, 2009, 2010

What are the Mercury Mariner years to avoid? The worst Mariner model years are 2008, 2009, and 2010, which were plagued with issues, particularly in steering and powertrain reliability.

The 2008 Mercury Mariner faced widespread problems with power steering assist loss and cruise control malfunctions, leading to several recalls.

It also had issues like coolant pump failures receiving a recall.

The 2009 and 2010 Mariners struggled with powertrain issues, including electronic throttle control failures leading to engine stalling.

These models also faced recalls for power steering loss and fuel delivery module cracks, causing fuel leaks.

See NHTSA 2008, 2009, 2010 Mercury Mariner recalls and complaints.

Mercury Mariner Resale Values

Explore this graph to understand the average resale values of Mercury Mariner across different years.

Mercury Mariner Average List Price


In summary, the 2007 and 2011 Mercury Mariners stand out as the best years to buy, offering reliability and satisfaction, while models from 2005, 2006, and 2008-2010 are the worst years to avoid due to persistent issues.

Which year of the Mercury Mariner aligns most with your vehicle expectations and needs?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.