EV mode is very useful and it comes on often.
The Sony stereo is pretty incredible and the controls are very easy to reach, even the tuning knob – which isn’t the case for a lot of other cars these days.
Ford did a very good job with the smart gauge cluster. It makes the rest of the interior seem much higher quality and the display is crystal clear.
The cabin is incredibly quiet. Holding a conversation with a friend at highway speeds is very easy.
The brakes feel very squishy at first, but after a few miles you are used to the feeling.Steering feel is very artificial, but that’s the price you pay for electric steering and increased mpg. I doubt it matters much in this class.
Generally speaking, the suspension is well tuned, but there are some motions that creep in on smooth roads. Perhaps this is a result of the extra weight of batteries.
Maybe the wheels are good for aero, but why do they have to look like hubcaps?
Overall I’d say this is the best mid-size hybrid you can buy.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
I’m not sure when or how Ford went from fitting its cars with ill-fitting, ovoid plastic interior door panels to best-in-class duds like those in our Fusion, but there you have it: the Fusion’s interior is best in class. Just about everywhere you look and touch, from the nicely stitched seats to the perfectly grained dash shows signs of thoughtful design. Oh, and did I mention the gauge cluster? Whereas many hybrid gauges come off like an afterthought, this slick digital display is novel and futuristic, but not in a 1980s digital speedometer kind of way.
Like Phil said, EV mode comes on rather easily. I cruised around town in utter silence, and even got the engine to shut off while coasting at 45 mph. Aside from that, the driving experience is well mannered, if a bit innocuous. Damping, as Phil noted, is one area that could use some improvement.
Overall, there’s nothing groundbreaking about the Fusion, but you do get the clear impression that someone sweated the details on its development. When you recall, as I do, the way a Taurus of five years ago literally reeked with cheapness, you realize the Blue Oval has come a long way, indeed.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
Impressive interior. As others have noted, it does not in any way come across as a cut-rate effort, which so many Ford cars have over the past decade. The instrument panel is a pleasant surprise, with its bright, whimsical graphics for monitoring the hybrid system.
Power delivery is impressive. Yeah, sure, there’s some of that artificialness in steering and braking responses that afflicts all hybrids, but it’s quite benign, and the car really does go down the road quite well. Anyone who’s shopping the Toyota Prius needs to check out this car also.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor
This is the best-looking hybrid on the market, in my opinion, as well as the best-looking Fusion ever. The interior, as my colleagues have pointed out, is also extremely well done. The energy display in the IP is simpler and clearer than those in the Camry or Altima hybrids, but that’s not a bad thing. I like the display’s convenient position in the IP, adjacent to the speedometer, versus in the infotainment screen (this particular Fusion Hybrid does not have navigation).
I was a bit disappointed that I achieved only an indicated 31 mpg in two days of driving the Fusion Hybrid (much less than the 41/36 mpg EPA ratings), but I was driving it fairly hard and ambient temperatures were chilly. Still, that’s considerably better than you’d get in a gasoline-only Fusion, which, of course, starts at about $8000 cheaper.
As with the Altima Hybrid, I had a hard time predicting when the Fusion’s engine would turn off, especially during closed-throttle situations. The Camry’s system seems more predictable, but that’s likely because I’m more used to it (I’ve spent thousands more miles in gas/electric Camrys than I have in the Ford or the Nissan). And the Fusion is more fun to drive than either of those two rivals, particularly the Toyota.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
Call me superficial, but one of my favorite things about the Fusion hybrid is the digital vine on the instrument panel that grows ever leafier as mpg increases. In fact, the entire gauge cluster on the Fusion is first-rate – a large, round, analog speedometer flanked by easy-to-read, blue-lit digital displays that monitor the fuel level, the battery, the oil temperature, current mpg… and the aforementioned leafy vine.
As others have mentioned, the interior of the Fusion (both hybrid and non-hybrid) has been nicely upgraded for the 2010 model year, with a clean, contemporary look and nice finishes on the materials.
As for the driving experience, I found the transition from electric to gasoline power fairly seamless and was also impressed by the fact that I could stay in EV mode past 30 mph. Like Rusty, however, I was only able to get about 31 mpg during my admittedly short drive of the Fusion Hybrid, which fell somewhat short of expectations.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid
Base Price (with destination): $27,995
Price as tested: $30,780
Fuel Economy: 41/36 mpg (city/hwy)
Engine: 2.5L DOHC 4-Cylinder
Horsepower: 156 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 136 lb-ft @ 2250 rpm
Electric Motor: Permanent magnet AC synchronous, 106
Net Horsepower: 191 hp
Safety Ratings (in stars, 1-5):
– Frontal Crash Driver: Not Rated
– Frontal Crash Passenger: NR
– Side Crash Front Seat: NR
– Side Crash Rear Seat: NR
– Rollover: 4
Transmission: Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable
Weight: 3,720 lb
– 17″ Aluminum Wheels (size)
– P225/50R-17 Tires