|The 2008 Mariner Hybrid.|
Ford unveiled the new 2008 Mariner and Mariner Hybrid (earlier post) at the South Florida International Auto Show, which opened today in Miami Beach.
This marks the first major refresh of the Mariner model since its launch in 2005. The hybrid version benefis from the design and trim enhancements to the parent model as well.
In addition to the overall model changes, such as the use of a speed sensitive Electric Power Steering (EPS) system that improves overall feel and is more efficient than conventional systems, there are several hybrid-specific changes as well.
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 hp (99 kW) at 6,000 rpm and 124 lb-ft (168 Nm) of torque at 4,250 rpm. The electric motor produces 70 kw @ 5,000 rpm and 330V maximum voltage.
The net result is 155 hp (116 kW) for the system with 0-60 acceleration comparable to a 200hp V-6 engine and a boost in city-driving fuel economy of nearly 75% compared to the V-6 conventional Mariner. An 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—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 all-wheel drive. Previously, the Mariner Hybrid was offered only as a all-wheel drive model.
Ford has not yet announced the fuel economy for the front-wheel drive version. Estimated fuel economy for the all-wheel drive is 32 mpg city (a 1 mpg decrease from the 33 mpg of the preceding model) and 29 mpg highway (the same as the earlier model).
The Mariner Hybrid recently was awarded the first Motorist’s Choice Award for compact SUVs by IntelliChoice.com and AutoPacific, and is the only hybrid vehicle to be included on their inaugural awards list.