2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid BaseView Vehicle Profile
Review: 2010-12 Ford Fusion Hybrid
You’ll probably never own a jetpack or enjoy a three-course meal reduced to a Smartie-sized pill, but a gas-electric hybrid car may be in your future.
Initial trepidation over the hybrids’ complex, high-voltage systems has given way to thumbs-up acceptance. New York’s first-generation hybrid taxi fleet racked up between 480,000 and 560,000 km per vehicle before retiring with remarkably few service issues.
Americans have bought more than 2.6 million hybrid vehicles since 1999 and sales are accelerating. They’re plentiful here, too.
Let’s probe the Ford Fusion Hybrid as a used-car buy.
Launched in March 2009 as a 2010 model, the Mexican-built Ford Fusion Hybrid debuted the restyled “Gillette Fusion” front grille, as one owner dubbed it. The front-wheel-drive platform was designed by Mazda, employing a double-wishbone front suspension and independent multilink twist-blade rear setup.
Its DOHC 2.5 L four-cylinder gasoline engine was modified to run on the Atkinson cycle, which keeps the intake valves open longer for better thermal efficiency but less output, modest at 156 hp and 136 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is supplemented by an AC permanent-magnet electric motor, good for 106 hp and 166 lb.-ft. of torque. Working together, the duo puts out 191 hp.
The Fusion’s hybrid system is more advanced than that of the Escape Hybrid. Its Sanyo nickel-metal-hydride battery pack is smaller and lighter, and it doesn’t require a cooling system.
Ford’s engineers worked overtime to get the powertrain software to toggle imperceptibly between electric and gas propulsion — a good thing, because the gasoline engine starts and stops often. Japan’s Aisin supplied the standard continuously variable (CVT) automatic transmission.
The Fusion’s regenerative braking recovers up to 94 per cent of braking energy. The electric motor does the bulk of the work, turning into a generator to retard forward motion and recharge the battery pack. There’s a welcome benefit: brake pads last up to three times longer.
Inside, an LCD screen flanks either side of the speedometer to display fuel and battery power levels, and average and instant fuel economy, to teach drivers how to attain the highest efficiency. Leaves and vines grow onscreen to reward fuel-efficient driving, achieved by keeping the car in electric mode as often as possible.
The vivid videogame is the only thing in the Fusion’s spacious but blocky cabin that gives away its frugal mission. The standard equipment level is high to ensure there’s no suffering. Unfortunately, the battery pack reduces trunk space by 30 per cent and the seatbacks don’t fold down to extend cargo capacity.
ON THE ROAD
Compared to the Toyota Camry Hybrid, the Ford has a more nimble chassis (thank Mazda), nicely weighted steering and a taut, if slightly stiff, suspension. At 1,725 kg, the Fusion is a little porky, even for a hybrid, but it hustles along, taking a reasonable 8.5 seconds to reach 96 km/h.
The Nissan Altima Hybrid may feel sportier, but the Fusion doesn’t disappoint. It can generate the same 0.80 g of grip on a circular skidpad and it doesn’t discourage spirited driving.
Owners reported a wide range of fuel-efficiency numbers, not surprising as the hybrid is sensitive to driver inputs and ambient temperature. In hot weather, the air conditioner calls on the gas engine to run frequently; in cold weather, the engine toils to heat the cabin.
One of the hallmarks of a hybrid vehicle is better city mileage than highway fuel use, since the electric motor helps more at lower speeds. Canada’s ecoEnergy Guide rates the 2010 Fusion Hybrid at 4.6 L/100 km urban and 5.4 L/100 km highway, besting the Camry.
One Fusion owner reported averaging 5.4 L/100 km overall and added: “It’s got great power for a car that you don’t really expect it from.”
WHAT OWNERS SAY
The Fusion Hybrid makes it easy to adopt the greenie lifestyle. Owners like the mid-size sedan’s accommodations, technology and, yes, reliability. We found no significant mechanical faults in our scan of owners’ online complaints.
Minor gripes centred on weak air conditioner performance, squeaky brakes, a “surging” CVT transmission, and the occasional truculent Sync communications interface that plagues other Ford products.
The Fusion Hybrid doesn’t like to be left alone for long durations. If you’re away, have a friend start it every week or two to keep the batteries alert.
Beyond that, the Fusion Hybrid is the genuine article. As they used to say: Live better electrically.
We would like to know about your ownership experience with these models: Honda Fit and Saturn Vue. Email: email@example.com.
2010-12 Ford Fusion Hybrid
WHAT’S BEST: Engaging road manners, real fuel savings, behaviour-modification display.
WHAT’S WORST: No trunk pass-through, fussy CVT, subtle green badge.
TYPICAL GTA PRICES: 2010: $18,000, 2012: $25,000a
Used Ford Fusion Hybrid All Used Vehicles
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