DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co.'s Mercury division began taking orders for its 2006 gasoline-electric Mariner Hybrid on Monday with a base sticker price of $29,840, including shipping.
Orders for the vehicle can be made online at marinerhybrid.com. Buyers will use an online sales consultant who will get a price quote from a dealership and will walk them through the purchase. Buyers also can order a vehicle through a dealership.
People who order Mariner Hybrids early will likely receive their vehicles in late October or early November, Ford said.
When running solely on electricity, the vehicle can reach a speed of 25 mph. The Mariner Hybrid gasoline engine starts when speed exceeds 25 mph and shuts down when the vehicle is stopped.
When traveling at more than 25 mph, the gasoline engine does most of the work. The vehicle can generate as much as 155 hp when the electric and gasoline motors are working together. The Mariner Hybrid also has regenerative braking, which means that applying the brakes generates electricity that, in turn, recharges the battery pack.
Ford Motor said the Mariner Hybrid will get 33 mpg in city driving and 29 mpg on the highway.
High demand for the Ford Escape Hybrid, which was launched last fall, prompted the automaker to push the Mariner's production up a year. It will make 2,000 Mariner Hybrids for the 2006 model year at its Kansas City, Mo., assembly plant. Production eventually will total 4,000 a year.
The SUV comes standard with a 2.3-liter inline-4 Atkinson engine, four-wheel drive, antilock brakes, power windows, locks and mirrors, and leather-bound steering wheel.