2010 Ford Fusion
The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid wants you to plant a tree. In its dash. What?
You read that right, a tree in the dash of a car. Not a real tree, mind you, but a digital one that sprouts leaves depending on the economical nature (get it?) of your driving habits. Drive aggressively around town, mostly on the gasoline engine and your tree will flounder, growing but a few leaves. Drive sensibly and patiently on electric power and it will flourish as if it’s just come off a Miracle-Gro bender. That’s right, the Fusion Hybrid rates how “green” of a driver you are. This is but a small part of the Fusion Hybrid’s exclusive EcoGuide LCD digital dash
, a dynamic display system that informs drivers of hybrid and gasoline drivetrain information through varying levels of complexity, based on driver preference. Using EcoGuide, drivers can maximize fuel economy and achieve well above the vehicle’s estimated 37 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. Couple this with a Fusion that no longer lacks in the style department thanks to a redesigned interior featuring Ford’s advanced navigation system and a Sony-sourced audio system, and you’ve got one hot hybrid. This time around, the Fusion just might appeal to a wider audience.
What's to Like
EcoGuide is instantly impressive due to its crisp, brightly lit LCD screens – it really looks like the dash of the future. Interior quality has been substantially improved over the old model, and gone is the wonky center console and bargain bin plastics. And, of course, Ford’s next-generation navigation system continues to impress.
What's Not to Like
As we’ve known for some time, hybrid technology commands a price premium over standard gasoline powertrains, and the Fusion Hybrid weighs in at almost $3,300 more than a comparably equipped Fusion SEL. We’re normally all for form taking priority over function, but if that means we have to live with the Fusion Hybrid’s ugly wheels, we might have to change our policy.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
You don’t so much drive the Fusion Hybrid as you watch its pretty EcoGuide screens and hope you don’t hit something. Sure, every once in a while our eyes actually caught a glimpse of the road ahead, but for the most part we remained fixated on EcoGuide’s thresholds, trying to stay in EV mode as often as possible. That proved more difficult a proposition than we first guessed, because the Fusion is more comfortable accelerating on the gasoline engine and then cruising on electric power – something it’s capable of doing up to 47 mph, a current industry-leading top EV speed. Overall its 191 total system horsepower, 3720 lb curb weight and cushy suspension make it a somewhat timid driver, but it will get you where you need to go comfortably despite the lack of straight-line speed. This being a modern hybrid, the brakes are regenerative and clever drivers will be able to use EcoGuide to maximize recaptured braking energy.
Engine and Drivetrain
On the gasoline side, the 2010 Fusion Hybrid is driven by 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing 156 horsepower and 136 lb-ft of torque. The gas-saving electric motor is a permanent magnet AC synchronous motor that develops 106 hp. Both engines drive the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
For 2010, the Fusion gets a big, well, infusion of technology, including Ford’s impressive next-generation navigation system with SYNC and SIRIUS Travel Link. Volvo-derived Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) uses radar waves to check for objects hiding in the Fusion’s flanks and illuminates a warning light within the side view mirror if anything is detected. We especially like the rearview mirror-integrated reverse camera (it displays on the in-dash screen if you add nav), though glare can be a problem in certain lighting conditions. Oh yeah, a cabin air filter is equipped – a Fusion first. Allergy sufferers, rejoice!
Key Technology Evaluation
The key technological piece in the Fusion Hybrid’s arsenal is its EcoGuide digital dash system. Powered by twin LCD screens flanking either side of the speedometer, EcoGuide can be run in four different modes: Inform, Enlighten, Engage and Empower. Inform displays only the basics – fuel and battery charge levels. Enlighten adds an EV mode notification and a tachometer, and Engage takes that a step further, tagging on engine and battery output power. Empower takes this and adds power to wheels, gasoline engine cut-in and accessory power consumption, and it can get overwhelming, quickly. We’d recommend sticking to either Enlighten or Engage unless you’re a hardcore hypermiler.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
The EPA has rated the Ford Fusion Hybrid at 41 mpg city, 36 mpg highway with an AT-PZEV emissions rating. For the sake of comparison, the Fusion’s main rival, the Toyota Camry Hybrid, is lower at 33 mpg city, 34 mpg highway. A few technological tweaks, such as aerodynamic wheels with low rolling resistance tires, an electric air conditioning compressor and advanced regenerative brake system, help net the Fusion those few extra mpgs.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
While the EcoGuide display clearly steals the show, the attractive navigation screen and pseudo 3D speedometer add to the Fusion’s newfound modern appearance. Gone are gauges that appear to have been designed by the world’s cheapest watchmaker. Interior accents look best in neutral colors.
Outside, the Fusion retains the same basic shape and signature (albeit larger) three-bar front grille. It has a wider overall appearance, leading to a sportier look. There are a few visual cues exclusive to Ford’s green sedan, including solid aerodynamic fog lamp bezels, 17-inch hybrid exclusive wheels and some relatively subtle hybrid badges.
Market Segment and Pricing
When it goes on sale next spring, the Ford Fusion Hybrid will start at an MSRP of $27,270. That’s slightly more expensive than its main rivals, the Toyota Camry Hybrid
at $26,150, the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
at $26,225 and the smaller $23,650 Honda Civic Hybrid
. However, the Fusion Hybrid promises superior mileage over its competitors, and we think that might make it worth the extra money in the long run.
What We Think
Where the gasoline 2010 Fusion provides a good starting point thanks to significant quality improvements, the Hybrid is the model that feels truly 21st century. EcoGuide provides a visually impressive look into the future, and ten years from now we can see customizable digital car dashes being the industry standard. This is the first step. Plus, it grows trees in the dash and gets 39 mpg. Al Gore, your chariot awaits.