New Mariner Hybrid: Nice and green

Also sold - in different guises - as the Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute, Ford's small hybrid SUVs offer an excellent value.

Easy ride
The Mercury Mariner and its siblings have easier steering and a much more car-like feel than Ford's other two-row crossover, the Edge.
2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid
Easy ride
There are a few changes under the skin of the Mercury Mariner Hybrid. The steering and suspension are both improved. The steering offers better feel and feedback than before and the suspension better controls body movements for a more refined feel on the road.

The new Mariner's brakes are also much better. The old Mariner Hybrid's brakes had a distinct two-part feel. As you pressed the brake pedal down there was a distinct point at which you could feel them really grab hold. The new brakes operate in a much more smooth and natural way.

Inside, the feel is fairly open and comfortable. The cabin feels much more solidly assembled than the old version, in which whole sections seemed like they could be pried off with your fingers.

Subtle changes

Sound and silence

Easy ride

Inside line

Stability issues

Dollar for dollar
Ford updates two of its classic trucks for 2008. Ford's Escape and the SuperDuty F-450 (more)