EV-Motoring

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid Review

The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid is the perfect vehicle from Detroit to put before somebody – anybody – who doesn’t think Detroit builds fuel-efficient, high-quality cars that people want.

The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid is one great car. The hybrid shares the new styling of the non-hybrid 2010 Fusion that includes new sheet metal, a new nose, and a new rear fascia. Ford spent $650 million on this major overhaul. The design is contemporary and crisp. Only the Hybrid badges give you obvious visual confirmation that you’re looking at the most efficient mid-size sedan on the road.

While official EPA estimates of figures of 41 mpg city/36 mpg highway, the Fusion easily outdistances Toyota Camry Hybrid. During several extensive test drives in California, pilots from we averaged over 42 mpg, so Ford’s estimates may prove conservative.

This excellent fuel economy comes from a hybrid drivetrain that is considerably improved. While the gas-electric system is based on that of the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid, the high-voltage battery pack and electronic controls are new. The engine is a quiet-running 155-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that runs using the ultra-efficient Atkinson’s cycle. The electric motor that is housed within the transmission unit that adds an additional 36 horsepower at full throttle, providing a total of 191. The lighter but more powerful 275-volt battery pack helps increase the frequency of gas-saving auto-stops by 50-percent (when the engine turns off and the car runs only electric power).

Perhaps the best complement one could bestow upon any hybrid is that it performs as well as a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine. The 2010 Fusion Hybrid does. Acceleration is smooth and strong, much like a small V-6. Transitions between running all-electric (up to 47mph) and gas and electric or just gas are neigh on imperceptible.

Inside, the 2010 Fusion Hybrid shares all of the upgrades that have been applied across the line, plus one. All 2010 Fusion models are significantly more refined than the outgoing model thanks to more (and more efficiently applied) insulation, thicker glass, and additional seals on the doors. Additionally, the entire instrument panel is new and made from a seamless soft-to-the-touch material that fits with tight tolerances for a high-quality appearance. The center area of the instrument panel (called the center stack) was also reconfigured to accommodate an eight-inch (that’s big) LCD monitor that is included in vehicles ordered with the voice-activated navigation system.

Now about the Hybrid-only interior upgrade – it’s the the Eco-Guide instrument cluster. This highly-legible LCD-based reconfigurable gauge package is not a marketing gimmick. Instead, it is a useful information delivery system that helps pilots drive more efficiently. The leaf-spouting tree not withstanding, other gauges provide easy-to-understand information that helps drivers stay in the ultra-efficient EV mode as long as possible.

Techno geeks will enjoy hours of driving entertainment as they accumulate miles experiencing different instrumentation configurations in an effort to find their individual favorite. The testers from TheCarConnection.com were partial to the most information-rich display, called “Empower” by Ford’s name-happy marketing teams. The instrument’s blue over black LCD displays and center-mounted speedometer were completely legible in all lighting conditions, including bright, direct sunlight.

In terms of equipment, the 2010 Fusion Hybrid is well equipped (equivalent to a non-hybrid Fusion SEL). Standard features include a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, six-CD audio system enhanced with SYNC voice activated communications and entertainment controls, power front seats, SecurityCode keyless pad, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Compared to a non-hybrid Fusion, the battery-enhanced Hybrid lacks only one useful feature; split-folding rear seats. This feature was sacrificed in order to accommodate the hybrid battery pack.

The results of these interior changes have yielded a comfortable driving environment with a good seating position, improved visibility, and much less noise.

In terms of equipment, the 2010 Fusion Hybrid is well equipped (equivalent to a non-hybrid Fusion SEL). Standard features include a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, six-CD audio system enhanced with SYNC voice activated communications and entertainment controls, power front seats, SecurityCode keyless pad, and 17-inch aluminum wheels.

At this very point in time, my wish is that everyone who doubts Detroit could experience the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. This is a car that could can minds.

Rex Roy can be reached through his web site, www.RexRoy.net.