The Lienerts, for those of you who are not familiar with them, are a husband-and-wife team whose automotive articles, both together and separately, can be found in the Detroit News. Their last full vehicle review on Autoblog was in September 2005. Oddly enough, the review had been on another Mercury vehicle, the new Milan.
The Lienerts reaction to the Mariner hybrid (and winner of first Green Car of the Year award by Green Car Journal) can be summoned in their sentence, You'd be better served spending that money somewhere else.
Many of Paul and Anita's issues stem from their earlier review of the Ford Escape hybrid which the Mariner is based on. These issues—primarily on the virtual (and, according to the Lienerts, dated) identical body design and structure—are worsened with the additional $2,000 increase compared to the Escape hybrid. And again, they wondered if the hybrid powertrain is worth the price to a non-hybrid Mariner/Escape.