2010 Ford FusionEnlarge Photo
The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid has been certified at 41 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, besting hybrid versions of both the Toyota Camry and the Honda Civic. Much of the credit goes to the new Fusion's NiMH battery, which is lighter than Ford's existing hybrid system and generates 20% more power. Also nice: the 2010's snazzy braking setup that recovers roughly 94% of the energy expended during deceleration. According to the press release from Ford, that means the Fusion can roam 700 miles worth of city streets on one tank of gas. Not too shabby.
If you read through that document, you'll note several other savvy innovations. Of particular note is the Fusion's SmartGauge with EcoGuide, which is designed to show drivers how to get the most from their new car:
When set in tutorial mode, the [SmartGauge with EcoGuide] instrument panel "grows" leaves and vines on-screen to reward fuel-efficient driving. The more leaves and vines that appear, the more efficient the driving behavior is and the more fuel is being saved. In some recent tests, automotive journalists have reported exceeding 50 mpg with the Fusion Hybrid.
That sounds pretty cool--though it also sounds like playing The Sims, which may not be the best thing to do while driving. If only Ford would throw in an onboard radar to help drivers avoid shopping carts and clueless tourists.... -- Richard Read