After Toyota's Prius, one of the most popular hybrid vehicles offered is the Ford Fusion Hybrid. The gas-electric sedan is in its final months on the market, as a new Fusion is due to be introduced soon, but the Fusion Hybrid still is one of the best hybrids on the market.
On paper, the Fusion Hybrid's specs are fairly conventional--by hybrid standards, that is. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder is the core of the drivetrain, and it's set up to run on a leaner mix of fuel and air than usual. It's paired with a set of batteries and motors that act as an electronic continuously variable transmission (eCVT), all together giving the sedan the output of a V-6-powered car, but the fuel economy of a four-cylinder.
According to the EPA, the Fusion Hybrid earns a rating of 41/36 mpg. You'd have to shop a Honda Insight or Toyota Prius to find numbers like those, but even in that set, Ford's integration of hybrid hardware is superior. Transitions between electric and gas power are very smooth, and the steering and transmission don't have as much of the lifeless feel we've experienced in the Prius and Insight. There's an EV mode that lets the Fusion be driven at speeds of up to 47 mph on battery power alone--and with a frugal right foot, you can coax almost 700 miles of driving out of a single tank of gas.
It's also one of the best-looking hybrids you can buy. The Prius, Insight and even the Chevy Volt are a little dowdy compared to the Fusion's crisp styling, and its well-finished interior feels a cut above the crowd, too, as does its adult-sized rear seat.
Maybe best of all, if you're a gadgetophile, Ford's economy monitors display your driving efficiency on the LCD gauges in the form of a vine, which grows as you learn how to drive and use less gas. Nifty.Cosmetic differences between the standard Fusion and the Fusion Hybrid are minimal, but the hybrid does get its own 17-inch wheels, as well as seats covered in recycled materials and a standard 110-volt power outlet. No changes are planned for the 2012 model year, in advance of a new Fusion lineup for the 2013 model year.
For an in-depth review of this green sedan and its kin, see TheCarConnection's Ford Fusion and Fusion Hybrid page.
- 2012 Toyota Prius
- 2012 Hyundai Sonata
- 2012 Kia Optima
- 2012 Volkswagen Passat
If you're seeking sky-high fuel economy in a family-friendly package, a growing set of cars will satisfy your leaner urges. The Prius has been around forever, and if you're open to hatchback styling, it's a spacious package with a 51-mpg best EPA rating. The hybrids from Hyundai and Kia hit their marks on paper, but we've had less luck replicating those fuel-economy numbers in the real world, and their hybrid systems can judder as they transition from electric to gas-electric power. For smoothness and simplicity, you can't get much better than the latest Volkswagen Passat TDI--the turbodiesel version, which promises up to 43 mpg on the highway, which we've come close to attaining on long-distance drives.