The new "SmartGauge," Ford says, is a new instrument cluster that shows drivers when they're getting ideal fuel economy--and when they're not. The gauges flank the sedan's speedometer and greet the driver, much like Ford's entertainment system does in the 2009 Flex ("good afternoon").
The next layer of information is the system's "EcoGuide." Ford says this screen function gives drivers a tutorial on how to coax the best fuel economy out of the Fusion Hybrid or Milan Hybrid, while also teaching them about the functionality of the gauges and how they can be tailored.
Drivers can choose to display all sorts of information on the cluster--from gas and battery range to an EV-mode indicator to typical trip-computer functions.
When all is said and done, Ford says the Fusion and Milan hybrids will post the best fuel economy numbers in their class. Ford also promises it will be the biggest domestic producer of hybrid vehicles when production hits full speed.
The hybrid duo bows at the Los Angeles auto show, which opens to the media on November 19. They go on sale in the first quarter of 2009.