2010 Ford FusionEnlarge Photo
Ford Motor Company further establishes itself as the domestic automaker most in touch with these fuel-conscious, eco-friendly times with the introduction of its mid-size hybrid twins, the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and the 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid.
According to the Dearborn-based automaker, the 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid and 2010 Mercury Milan hybrid trounce all other mid-size hybrid sedans with their EPA fuel economy figures of 41 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. The Toyota Camry hybrid checks in at 33/34 mpg, the Nissan Altima hybrid at 35/33 mpg, and the Chevrolet Malibu hybrid and Saturn Aura hybrid at 26/34 mpg.
Despite their nomenclature as 2010 models, both the Ford and Mercury sedan hybrids, which share platform architecture and drivetrain bits and pieces with the Mazda6, are set to go on sale sometime this spring. The pair use a 156-hp four-cylinder gasoline motor paired with an electric motor and a continuously variable transmission to deliver impressive mileage and excellent drivability and power, according to Detroit Free Press' Mark Phelan. Impressively, Ford's electric propulsion system is said to enable highly-efficient electric-only operation at speeds up to 47 miles per hour. That's nearly double the maximum speed at which the Toyota and Nissan can operate without petroleum. The GM products' "mild-hybrid" system employs electric motors not strong enough to drive the vehicles on electric power alone.
A display on the dash can be configured to display a vine that sprouts leaves when the driver is operating the system at its most efficient; when consumption increases, the leaves disappear. Leadfoot drivers will probably opt to change the display to a more traditional bar-graph readout of instant efficiency.
Downsides to Ford's newest hybrid twins include a trunk only 11.8 cubic feet in size; the 4.7-foot reduction in space compared to a non-hybrid Fusion or Milan is due to space taken up by the battery packs.
Get the full story on the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid over at our flagship site, TheCarConnection.com.--Colin Mathews