Posted by: carboncreditsusa | December 14, 2008

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid To Average Over 40 MPG And Cost Under $28,000

2010 Ford Fusion hybrid



Type: Five-passenger mid-sized sedan
Cost: $27,270 ( Shipping costs $725)
Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (run on the Atkinson cycle and 400-volt electric motor)
Power: 191 horsepower (combined)
Transmission: Electronically controlled, continuously variable transmission
Suspension: Front: Independent; Rear: Multi-link fully independent Steering: Rack-and-pinion with electric power
assisted steering
Turning circle: 37.5
Tires: 17-inch low rolling resistance tires
Fuel economy: 39 mpg city / 37 mpg highway (estimated)
Dimensions (inches)
Wheelbase: 107.4
Length: 190.6
Width: 72.2
Height: 56.9
Interior (inches): Front/rear
Headroom: 38.7/37.8
Legroom: 42.3/36.7
Shoulder room: 57.4/56.5
Hip room: 54/53.3
Luggage capacity: 11.8 cubic feet

Rarely do you get the opportunity to see a midsize sedan average more than 43 mpg in city driving. Actually, no one has seen it before — not even the distinguished gentleman and senator from Alabama — but the new gas-electric hybrid developed by Ford does just that.

While it takes a little coaxing to eke out those kind of mileage numbers — hypermiling, the act of stretching every drop of gas, can be as tedious as listening to federal bloviation — I was able to average 37 mpg overall in a mix of city and highway driving. That’s a real world kind of number everyone should notice.

Admittedly, the EPA has not put its final stamp of approval on the city and highway numbers (and Ford has its fingers crossed it might hit 40 mpg), the Green Oval will proudly tell anyone within earshot that its all-new hybrid obtains “at least” six miles per gallon better than the Toyota Camry hybrid in the city. The estimated 37 mpg on the highway is nothing to sneeze at either. All that for a car that will start under $28,000.

When the Fusion hybrid arrives next spring, it will become the first two-mode hybrid car created by an American-based company. Congress should note that it had no hand with the development of this vehicle — it takes years of hard work, actual thinking and wrenching to produce a new model and this particular vehicle is the result of planning that took place in President Bush’s first term.

Since then, Ford has continued to improve its hybrid system, and the Fusion will offer more advanced technology than even the 2009 Ford Escape hybrid.

Of course, the Fusion hybrid is just one of a series of all new Fusions coming out next year. Ford introduced the first Fusion in 2005 but knew it needed to up the ante to make a dent in the most cutthroat segment in America. It’s one ruled by foreign manufacturers and Ford thinks it can carve out a beachhead. A toehold would be a good start.

Instead of a mid-cycle refresh, Ford opted for the extreme makeover for Fusion. It reworked the front and rear fascias to provide a more aggressive look, added a ton of technology, upgraded the interiors, replaced the powertrains and added two models to the family: The sport version with a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine and the hybrid.

The hybrid, of course, is my favorite — as the environmentally sensitive driver I’ve become after spending three days in Los Angeles.

While the Fusion hybrid does not have a different exterior look than its gas-only brothers, all you have to do is sit behind the steering wheel and you’ll know it’s special. The Smartgauge with Ecoguide is one of the best instrument panels in any car — hybrid or otherwise.

Instead of traditional analogue gauges, the Smartgauge uses a traditional speedometer in the center and two small video screens on each side. The screens display everything from the amount of fuel in the tank and the engine’s rpm to the car’s battery level and how to drive more efficiently. There are four programmable settings for the driver to choose — from a simple “inform” level with the basic information presented to the “empower” level that provides the most information and even a growing plant on the side to represent how environmentally friendly the driver is performing.

In the information age, the Smartgauge provides people with info that some may not even have known they wanted. The trip summary is a nice feature and lets you know the distance you traveled and how efficient the vehicle was during the trip.

A common problem with some hybrids is their inability to stand out from their gas-only counter parts. They look the same inside and out and consumers most interested in hybrids want something special. While the Fusion hybrid looks similar to the other Fusions, the Smartgauge makes it feel different — helping create a stronger emotional connection.

Inside the Fusion hybrid comes a mountain of technology seamlessly melded into the car. Ford’s voice-activated Sync allows you to operate your Sony stereo, navigation system and phone by voice. It’s simply the best media integration tool available for a vehicle.

There’s also a blind spot detection device mounted in the mirrors that quietly warn the driver not to move over into the other lane just yet, ambient lighting that has seven different colors to follow your mood and a back-up camera with a monitor hidden in the rearview mirror (meaning it doesn’t require the owner to buy a navigation system).

The overhauled interior has softer touch points, a new dash and nice cubbies throughout. The center console drop box lets you plug in your iPod through a USB connection (so it charges it while you drive) and there’s a 12-volt outlet to keep your cell phone charged as well.

But the most technology in this vehicle is hidden under the sheet metal. The new 2.5-liter, I-4 engine runs in combination with an electric motor to give the Fusion hybrid a city range of more than 700 miles. The engine is tuned for maximum efficiency and the combination of electric motor and gas engine provide 191 horsepower. The Fusion hybrid can go up to 47 mph on electric power only.

Ford has improved the battery pack that powers the motors — making it lighter and more powerful — while also making its regenerative braking better, so it now captures 94 percent of the energy typically lost through the brakes.

The electronic continuously variable transmission provides a smooth acceleration and helps with the car’s extremely quiet ride.

There are some hybrid quirks that take a little getting used to, such as the silent start — turning the key and not hearing the motor turn — as well as the ability to sneak up on pedestrians in the parking lot.

One of the questions that comes up when looking at hybrids is does it make economical sense? The theory works like this: Subtract the purchase price of a gas-only model from the price of the hybrid version and then determine if you can recoup the financial difference by gas mileage savings. However, this is simply a flawed approach. If we only approached vehicle purchases by return on investment (ROI), we’d all drive Chevy Aveos. Hybrids offer an emotional reward that gas-only models cannot.

Dollar for dollar the hybrid is cleaner and that’s where the ROI argument becomes nothing but a lot of hot air.

The introduction of this hybrid brings more than political capital for Ford — it’s a glimpse of the future, and it arrives soon.



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