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2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid test drive

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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2010 Ford Fusion left side action shot

2010 Ford Fusion left side action shot.

© Basem Wasef

The Bottom Line

A redesigned, reworked hybrid that proves Ford can play hardball when they want to.

Pros

  • Drivetrain tech improvements make for best-in-class mpg numbers—over 6 mpg better than Camry Hybrid
  • Neat new EcoGauge panel is both powerful and customizable
  • Refreshed styling makes an already good looking car even better looking

Cons

  • Engine-on transitions have been improved, but still could be smoother
  • Suspension damping doesn’t handle some road irregularities well
  • Given current events, buying domestic might be a leap of faith for some

Description

  • MSRP: $27,270 (plus $725 destination/delivery charge)
  • Fuel Economy: 39 mpg city, 37 mpg highway
  • Layout: Front-wheel drive
  • Seating: Five passenger
  • Engine: Duratec 2.5 liter 16-valve Atkinson cycle I-4
  • Battery: Nickel-Metal Hydride producing a nominal 275 volts
  • Electric motor: Permanent magnet AC synchronous
    Transmission: Electronically controlled continuously variable
  • Fuel capacity: 17.5 gallons
    Estimated cruising range: 700 miles +
  • Recommended fuel: 87 octane
    Base curb weight: 3,720 lbs
  • Emission rating: Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (AT-PZEV)

Guide Review - 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid test drive

Pop Quiz: Let’s say you’re hot for a new midsize hybrid sedan… who ya gonna call? Conventional wisdom may send you to a Toyota dealership, but Ford’s 2010 Fusion has improved by leaps and bounds in an attempt to re-program the buying instincts of American car consumers.

To battle the mighty Toyota, Fusion Hybrid gets a load of serious improvements, the bulk of which lie within its drivetrain, deep beneath its refreshed skin. For starters, the NiMH battery is smaller and more powerful, the engine on/off switch operates 50% more often, and electric-only propulsion can be sustained up to 47 mph. A 2.5-liter Atkinson four-cylinder produces 155 of the total 191 horsepower, and EPA numbers are an impressive 39 mpg city/37 mpg highway.

But engine tech aside, driving’s the ultimate test, and after a day’s worth of seat time I’m here to tell you the Fusion Hybrid should put Toyota on alert. The new SmartGauge EcoGuide features four degrees of drivetrain info, including accessories load and an indication of how much throttle you can apply before the gas engine kicks in. For the visually inclined, a growing vine and leaf graphic encourages more fuel efficient driving—cool!

There’s still a bit of a vibration when the engine kicks in, but that transition (as well as brake feel) are noticeably improved. The ride is generally smooth, though some larger bumps aren’t absorbed so well by the suspension. But these are minor points compared to the Fusion Hybrid’s larger accomplishments: a comfortable and quiet cabin, an informative display that encourages responsible driving, and refinements that pull some impressive fuel economy numbers from the powertrain. Ford may be in hot water because they’re having trouble selling cars, but if the rest of their lineup gets as good as their Fusion Hybrid, there may be a bold new future for the Blue Oval.

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