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2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: High-Mileage Achiever, Everyman's Interior

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2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

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40 miles per gallon. That's what we at TheCarConnection.com just saw in a week's worth of driving—driving in which we really made a point to treat the Fusion Hybrid much like any other car. And when we actually tried to drive economically, following the excellent hybrid system display when we could, we were able to get nearly 50 mpg.

As we reported yesterday, compared to the 2010 Toyota Prius or 2010 Honda Insight, the Fusion Hybrid feels more like a 'normal' car—both with respect to the way it drives and in terms of ride, refinement, and interior space. The powertrain is smoother and more refined than what we've felt in those high-mileage hybrids—including the Toyota Camry Hybrid and perhaps the 2010 Lexus HS 250h—and it's easy to miss exactly when the gasoline engine starts up or when you're cruising on electric power alone.

The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid pairs all those pluses with the same roomy interior that you get in the mainstream Ford Fusion, and you have a tremendously comfortable, useful vehicle that doesn't always let you know you're compromising some comfort or space for high mileage.

The value equation is very strong, too. The test 2010 Fusion Hybrid carried a bottom-line price of less than $28,000, with no options. That's just fine as the Fusion Hybrid comes with a lot of items you might expect to be optional, such as dual-zone automatic climate control, keypad keyless entry, heated mirrors, an MP3-compatible CD sound system with Sirius satellite radio, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls for cruise control, audio, and trip computer functions. If shoppers have a bigger budget, extras include a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with cross traffic alert, leather heated seats, a nav system, Sirius Travel Link, and a Music Jukebox.

With these remarks in mind, here's a note-by-note tour around the cabin of the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid—the roomy 41-mpg sedan that doesn't feel like a high-mileage achiever:

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

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- The instrument panel is, like in other Ford cars, not all that stylish but very functional.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

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- Nice, upright driving position, relatively low beltline, and plenty of headroom all served to make this a comfortable, driving environment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

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- The back seat is good for adults, and the seating position back there feels natural, with enough headroom and legroom for most.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

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- Standard eco-friendly cloth upholstery is very comfortable, well ventilated, and just grippy enough, but the coarse material proved to be one of the strongest attractors of lint and pet hair we've seen recently. Anti-whiplash headrest design tilted into lower back of this taller driver; adjustment upward didn't help.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

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- The only serious gripe involved the placement of the climate controls. You shouldn't have to look that far down and away from the road to turn down the fan, for instance.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

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- Ford probably thought that these thin chromed plastic covers over the climate and audio knobs serve to brighten the interior. But they just look cheap and they're in front of the driver all the time.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

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- New Ford display, making its way to most vehicles without the nav system, is one of the easiest to read…hampered only by daytime reflections.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

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- Excellent attention to storage for small items. We appreciated the cubbies in the console and doors, plus this drawer next to the driver.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

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- Great for keeping all those smaller items out of sight.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

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- And here's the pièce de résistance: While some hybrids like the Toyota Prius come with complicated, multi-tiered displays with a myriad of display possibilities, the Fusion Hybrid keeps it relatively simple. Using the hybrid system gauge on the left side (substituting for the RPM display), you can clearly see at any moment how much EV mode is left before the gas
 
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