By on January 25, 2021

2011 Mercury Mariner in Colorado junkyard, LH rear view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsEver since I found one of the very last Oldsmobiles in a Denver car graveyard, I’ve been keeping my junkyard eye open for other final-year-of-marque Detroit machinery. We’ve got the 1998 Eagle, the 2001 Plymouth, and the 2010 Pontiac, and now it’s time for one of the very last vehicles to wear the Mercury badge: this 2011 Mariner Premier.

2011 Mercury Mariner in Colorado junkyard, emblem - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsFord announced the demise of the Mercury brand in June of 2010, and the Milan, Grandma Keith Grand Marquis, and Mariner staggered on long enough for a few of these cars to get 2011 model year designations.

2011 Mercury Mariner in Colorado junkyard, build tag - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe Wikipedia entry for the Mariner states that the final Mariner came off the Kansas City line in October of 2010, but this truck’s build tag shows a December assembly date. Some Grandma Keiths were built during early 2011, and I’ll keep looking for one of those.

2011 Mercury Mariner in Colorado junkyard, front view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis Mariner appears to have suffered some sort of front-end collision, followed by an especially brutal front-body-and-engine removal after it arrived at the junkyard. Normally, I wouldn’t photograph a junkyard vehicle this torn up (which is why you don’t see the WRXs and Evos that I find every so often in Denver yards), but ’11 Mercuries are nearly impossible to find.

2011 Mercury Mariner in Colorado junkyard, emblem - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe Premier was the upscale trim level of the Mariner, itself an upscale version of the Ford Escape. After 72 years of the Mercury brand, it came down to this. I’ll find a 2010 Saturn and a 1997 Geo next, if anyone cares.


Don’t forget the 6-disc CD changer and satellite radio!


Back in the 1960s, when men sloshed on Studd Cologne and made women weep, Mercury was pitched as “the man’s car.” By the middle 2000s, Dearborn wanted some of the ladies’ money, so Mercury ads targeted women.

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23 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2011 Mercury Mariner, Last Gasp of the Mercury Brand Edition...”


  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    No need for Mercury if Ford strategy is to make Lincoln a viable stand alone brand with separate dealer points.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    If hotties were truly effective at selling cars, Mercury would be the best-selling brand today. But obviously the product matters, and people aren’t really going to sign a 60-month note because Jill Wagner (or the prior Mercury girls) suggested it.

    Too bad about Mercury. It rarely had a unique identity; Ford simply strangulated the brand to death. So many years had passed since it had something interesting that nobody missed Mercury when it ended.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I dunno. The thing I most remember about Mercury was its badge was slapped on the European Ford Capri, which were very popular in the early 70’s. I’m trying to think what would be different about a top level trim Ford and a Mercury.

      There was a time when it was advantageous to have a very large dealer base, and the additional brands made sense. Now with each carmaker having multiple vehicles each with multiple trim levels, I can see why those brands that went away did so.

      I still think GM should have kept Oldsmobile and let Buick go.

      • 0 avatar

        That Capri never got Mercury badges over here, though it was sold through Mercury dealers. It was just “the Capri” despite everyone calling it a Mercury. The Mazda-based FWD Capris of the early 1990s were Mercuries, though, as were the earlier Fox Mustang-based ones.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      If they would have coupled those hotties with the Mercury cats of the 1970s and 80s, it might have worked. Meow!

    • 0 avatar
      wolfwagen

      I love me some Jill Wagner!!!

    • 0 avatar

      Why? If Jill Wagner personally suggested Mercury to me I would be more than happy to oblige.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    The Mercury Mariner was a nice upscale version of the Escape, but the Premier wasn’t the top Mariner it was the Voga

    “The package includes unique Cashmere leather-trimmed seats with VOGA stitching in the front seatbacks, floor mats with embroidered VOGA logo, and unique center stack, door switch and door trim panels to round out the VOGA-specific trim”

    I guess today the Lincoln Corsair would be it’s equivalent

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    The “Mariner” name never made sense to me.

    4th picture (in the article, not the gallery): That’s roughly what I did to remove the alternator in my Avalon [there’s even a hidden bracket, to remind you that Toyota’s engineers know more than you do].

    (Scrap value of the old alternator [13 pounds] was $1.98 – to remind you that sometimes I don’t know what I am going on about.)

  • avatar
    spookiness

    I actually like the Escape/Mariner/Tribute of this era. Still a ton of them on the road. Interiors were typical of the hard plastic parts bin re-dos Ford did around the last recession, but the upside is the stuff is easy to clean and keep looking decent. The squarish design has aged well visually.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    Ugly interior, ugly instrument cluster, ugly HVAC interface.

    No one is going to say that there car-buying decision was based on the gauge font. But it’s attention to the small details that give buyers a first impression of “I can see myself in this car for the next 4 years.”

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    This looks like it was peak fake-metal-look-hard-plastic trim era. It was just a poor excuse for automakers to save a few bucks by sticking in the hardest, cheapest plastic on the market, paint it “titanium”, and call it “premium.” Kind of like the fake carbon fiber plati-trim these days.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    The first gen Escapes and Mariners seem to have some cockroach qualities. I see battered but functional ones all the time here in Trump country. I know a guy who has 270,000 miles on a first gen Escape and does most of the wrenching himself. Ugly yellow beastie but it just won’t die.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      These were used, in hybrid form, for NYC taxis. I always make it a point to see the mileage on them. The record holder is over 500K miles, but plenty of them see several hundred thousand miles. I guess that cheap hard plastic does have some advantages…

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The only Mercury I ever owned was an 85 Lynx and it was the worst vehicle I ever owned. The only Mercury I would own would be a Grand Marquis or Marauder.

  • avatar

    Mercury lives on as Ford Titanium.

  • avatar
    87rsrjcar

    I just recently bought a 2006 mercury mariner hybrid, its a funny SUV when you unlock it makes all kinds funny noises I think from the abs or other systems, sounds like R2D2 kinda it has 2.3 watkins engine who knew and 4 wheel drive and electric power steering which was bad gets around 25mpg

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The last of the GrandMas were supposed to be done by the end of 2010 but apparently some parts were delayed so just a few were made in the first week of 2011.

  • avatar
    bpscarguy

    We owned a 2009 Mariner Premier. Almost exactly like this one (prior to all the damage of course). We really liked it. It was a good little SUV. Ours was silver with the same type of multi spoke wheels this subject had on it – it was a nice looking SUV – much better than the Escape I believe. But, we outgrew it with a growing family so it got traded on a Town & Country. It only lasted a few days on the lot though – had low miles and excellent shape so it found a new owner quickly. Ironically I think one would make a good first car for my son when he starts driving soon.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    My dad has one of these as his “backup” vehicle mainly for bad weather and hauling grandkids and it’s the junkiest later model vehicle that I’ve ever experienced. It creaks over bumps, the door panel inserts are peeling, the dash top has developed a big indentation for no apparent reason (sunlight I suppose), the passenger door has started to leak and the leather feels like glorified plastic. I think mechanically it has been excellent but the rest has not aged well.

    Even my wife who could care less about vehicles noted how junky it seemed when she rode in it.

    Quality is Job 1.

  • avatar
    3SpeedAutomatic

    Put 220K miles on a ’05 Ford Escape 4WD while living in upstate NY. Only issue was sway bar came loose twice and front rotors would warp every 90k miles. Had the 6 disc CD player blasting while buzzing the NY Thruway. Traded it in due to the tin worm and busted A/C.

    Replaced with ’12 Escape which has had more niggling issues, but will hold on to it. None of the new cars have CD players for my 3ft stack of CDs.

  • avatar
    Mustangfast

    Flex fuel badging meant that thing had the Duratec 30. I can see why someone was anxious to yank it out of the engine bay, they last forever. My parents have a 2011 Escape and I have a 16. Yes the interior is nicer in mine but I don’t see it lasting as long as this older gen

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