Caught up in the novel man-machine interfaces, what you may not notice immediately is how well the underlying mechanicals work. The gasoline engine, for instance, starts up and shuts down with only the very faintest shudder. The regenerative brakes and electric power steering (the latter shared with all 2010 Fusions save the Sport model) both convincingly emulate their more conventional counterparts. The steering has a commendable level of resistance-avoiding the disconnected and overboosted feel of most electrically assisted systems; and the brakes simply stop the car without calling attention to themselves (which is pretty much what you want from brakes), unlike the hard-to-modulate brakes in some other hybrids. The Hybrid is also exceptionally quiet on the highway, thanks to the additional sound deadening measures undertaken for the entire 2010 Fusion lineup.
Of course the Hybrid also shares the 2010 Fusion's nicer interior, tighter turning circle, and new slate of high-tech options. Among the latter are a blind-spot warning system (borrowed from Volvo), a rear-view camera, Sync, and navigation that uses Ford's excellent new interface.
Within the Fusion family the Hybrid is its own trim level, perched just above the well-equipped SEL. The base price for the Hybrid is $27,995, which is a significant premium above the SEL and also nearly $2000 more than a Camry hybrid. But the Fusion Hybrid is actually a better car, and it offers a compelling combination of exceptional economy, acceptable performance, and a high degree of livability.
2.5-liter DOHC I-4
Power: 156 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 136 lb-ft @ 2250 rpm
Type: 400v permanent magnet AC motor
Power: 106 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 166 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
Type: 275v Nickel-Metal Hydride
Output: 35 hp
System Total Power: 191 hp
Transmission: Continuously variable automatic
Fuel Economy: 41/36 mpg (city/highway)
Wheels, Tires: 17-inch aluminum, 225/50VR17