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Motoring: Ford Fusion hybrid justifies hype

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | February 1st, 2010

Ford is getting a lot of positive press on the Fusion Hybrid. Recently it was named Motor Trend magazines Car of the Year, and it recently won the North American Car of the Year honours at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show.

So in order to see what all the fuss was about, I decided I should test one.

Guess what, the hype is actually justified.

A few months ago, I had tested the regular, four-cylinder Fusion, and liked it quite a lot, even though the performance was nothing to get excited about.

The Fusion hybrid, thanks to its hybrid powertrain, is actually quite a brisk machine. While its normally aspirated, 2.5-litre, four-cylinder engine produces a meagre 156hp, its electric motor helps pump that to 191hp, which is very adequate.

Ford Fusion

Coupled with a smooth CVT gearbox, the Fusion hybrid gets up to highway speeds very well. In town, if you are being careful enough, you can make it move on just its electric motor, something the Honda hybrids still haven't been able to do.

Surprisingly, despite its great technology, the fuel-consumption was not quite as good as I was hoping. I averaged 7.5-litres/100km, which is not bad, but I expected better. I know hybrids don't like winters, but I averaged 7.8-litres/100km in a Toyota Corolla in exactly the same weather condition, and that car is much cheaper to buy and is not a hybrid.

However, the Corolla in other areas is not nearly as good as the Fusion hybrid in my view.

First of all is the ride comfort, the Fusion hybrid is easily the nicest riding hybrid I have ever come across. Normally a hybrid would crash and bang over bumps, due to their extra weight, but the Fusion hybrid just glides over bumps and pot holes as if they don't even exist.

Typically cars that ride well don't handle very well. The Fusion hybrid somehow manages to pull that off too. The steering is perfectly weighted and is quite communicative. The chassis and suspension setup is also quite brilliant to be able to offer a great ride and also be an able handler. Ford really did a great job in modifying an old Mazda6 platform to be this impressive.

Their electronic guys did even better, because the Fusion hybrid has one of the nicest instrument displays I have ever seen. Honestly, this cars instrumentation is more impressive than what you'd get on the new Bentley Mulsanne.

The mostly digital dashboard can be configured in many ways to give you the information you desire. It even has a setting that starts growing leaves. The idea is, the more leaves you create the more efficient you've been.

Apart from all the clever stuff, the Fusion hybrid is still a spacious, comfortable car with a decent size trunk, however you do lose the fold down rear seats in the hybrid, because of the battery pack's placement.

It's even priced quite well, you can have one for about $32,000. Would I buy one? After spending nearly two weeks in one of these, I have to say, if I was looking for a car in this category, I most certainly would.
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