Ford Fusion Hybrid: Right car at the right time

27 Jan 2011 | 975 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds If you've been minding that little price meter on the gas pump these days, you know where prices are heading: Up. We have a strong sense that before long,  $4 a gallon and even $5 a gallon gasoline will once more be part of our national landscape, and this time around, we expect it to be a more or less long term thing.  If you're looking for a car to fit the times, check out Ford's 2011 Fusion Hybrid.  It's rated at 41 miles per gallon city and 36 highway, and the estimated annual fuel bill for 15,000 miles of driving at $2.60 a gallon is an almost unbelievable $998 a year. Moreover, you'll be traveling in supreme comfort with a dash of sporting flavor, thanks to the great handling and the cool leather buckets with stitching along the edges. But if  you think that gas mileage is the only reason to buy this car, you'd be selling the Fusion Hybrid short---way short. Even not considering the hybrid powerplant, the Fusion Hybrid is a highly versatile car with sometuing for everybody.  Thanks to the luxurious accommodations, the high quality sound system that's part of the Sync Voice activated system, and the quiet of the car itself, it could easily pass for an entry level luxury car.  It's family car credentials are well in hand of course, with a particularly roomy interior and huge trunk.   And the aforementioned mileage figures assure that its economy car standing is unquestioned, too. Our ingot silver Fusion Hybrid sedan had a base price of  $28,100, with such standard features as aluminum wheels, one touch up and down windows, 10 way power seats, the Sync Voice operted syustem,  leather wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, four wheel disc brakes, regenerative braking system, traction control and a host of other items. Addfing the navigation system drivers vision group, BLIS system with cross traffic alert, rear view  video camera, moonroof, heated front seats and other items, the final price before discounts brought the price to $34,195. A $1,375 "Rapid  Spec" discount brought the price down to $32,820. The Fusion Hybrid is equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine good for 156 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque. With the electric motor taken into account, the numbers go up to 191 hp and 166 lb-ft. An interior highlight of the Fusion Hybrid is what Ford calls SmartGauge. It includes a pair of color display screens on either side of the speedometer. You'll find just about every imaginable set of data you would want with a hybrid car and its all colorful and easy to understand. We love the gauge that has the animated leaves and branches, and you get additional leaves and branches on the screen  the more economically sensible you drive. But watch out.  It's easy to become distracted with the colorful display and not keep your eye on the road. That's not the car's fault, of course, you just need to watch what you're doing. The ony real criticism we hade of the Fusion Hybrid was that the gear shift control lacked any feature for shifting into manual to help out in snow, and tht made for some tough going on Pittsburgh hills. Even with traction controlled equipped products like the Fusion Hybrid, we find that being able to use an automatic/manual transmission in snow is extremely helpful. Overall, the Fusion Hybrid is a terrific product and we'd find it impossible to overlook it when shopping for a family car next time around.

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