Whereas the platform buddy Ford Escape never manages to look tough enough and the other derivative, the Mazda Tribute, looks like a child with some sort of neurological condition, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid appears exactly as it should. By far the best looking of the trio, the conservative looks fare well next to luxury SUV offerings from Toyota and Acura.
Compared to the previous generation, the interior of the Mariner is smart and luxurious. The stone-colored leather seats are comfortable, though more side bolstering would be nice. The rear bench is roomy enough for two passengers joining you and your wife for a night of gallery hopping, and if you ditch them, the rear seats fold forward far enough to hold just a touch over 66 square feet of trendy crap.