A Week With The Tech Savvy 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

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When I was asked to review one of the new 2010 Ford models, I thought I’d enjoy the opportunity, but never figured I’d love the car so much. Given the choice of which I’d like to drive around for a week, I chose the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid because it was loaded up with options that make a techie like me drool just a bit.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid in Sedona

First impressions
I read up a little on the new Fusion before it was delivered to my office, so I was pretty excited when it showed up. I’ve gotten excited about other cars before, but this was the first time my excitement was based on the techie features the car boasted. On delivery, I was shown a few of the finer points like the multiple menus levels of the in-dash LCD display, satellite radio, and the stealthily quiet easy-start of the engine. In fact, I was told to be aware of anyone walking behind me before backing up because people often don’t hear the engine running. I was impressed with how quiet it ran and found myself backing up extra slow for the rest of the week just to be extra careful. I was also immediately impressed with the comfort in the driver’s seat. I also was a little shocked at the appearance. I’m used to sedans being a little average in the aesthetics department, but the Fusion they brought me looked pretty sharp from the front. I think the fog lights, while unnecessary, made this car look a little sportier.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid
2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid - Keyless Entry 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid - Cabin Lights

(You can see all the photos here)

Tons of features
Most of what made the Fusion so appealing to me was the large array of features included in the model I had for the week. The feature I loved the most was the hybrid dash cluster that includes a standard needle spedometer, flanked by two bright and crisp LCD displays that include lots of useful information about the fuel economy, power and fuel remaining, etc. as well as the menus to control the display and other settings. When you open the car door to get in, the displays light up to welcome you with the Ford and Hybrid logos. As the car starts up, the LCDs animate, sliding the informational displays outward from the center. It’s really an elegant introduction to Ford’s geekier side. The techie touch continues through the menu system, which is a few levels deep, offering lots of settings and configuration options.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid - LCD Dash

The voice activated controls had me a little excited, as well. Without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road, you can press a single button on the steering wheel to initiate the voice activation. After it starts listening, a number of spoken commands can be issued to perform various tasks. This was incredibly useful when dialing a number. I just commanded “dial”, followed by the number, and “dial” again. Although I didn’t get to try out some other voice commands that the user’s manual documented, I did try to dial one of the contacts in my iPhone with no success using the “call” command. After trying a bunch of times, I moved on, but it was great to have an integrated hads-free solution with the included Mycrosoft SYNC technology. Pairing my iPhone with the Fusion was really simple and only took a minute. After the pairing, SYNC recognized my phone every time I got in the car and I was ready to make or receive calls without having to connect or configure anything each time.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid - Outer Entry Lights 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid - Backup Assist Camera
2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid - Cup Holders 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid - Center Console

A few of the other features were the familiar items that a lot of new cars offer these days like power seats and mirrors, remote keyless entry, satellite radio, auxiliary audio input and power door locks and windows, and then there were the one’s I wasn’t used to like the blind spot warning system, for example. While driving, if another automobile is in your blind spot, the sensors at the rear of the car will detect it and an indicator light will display on the side mirror of the side the other automobile was detected on. Another safety feature on my Fusion was the backup camera. Just above the license plate in the back end of the car is the backup camera. When in not in reverse, the rear view mirror just looks like a standard mirror, but when in reverse, the mirror displays video showing where you’re going, including guide lines for backing into a parking space. If that’s not enough, it will beep at a medium interval when you get close to something and if you’re getting too close, the beep frequency interval shortens.

Some of the finer touches that I might not have even thought of to look for in a car were nice to come across throughout the week as I familiarized myself with the Fusion inside and out. I didn’t get a chance to try out the capless fuel system, but it seems like a good idea, especially if you often forget the gas cap you removed to fuel up or it just gets in the way. Also outside the car is the illuminated entry. This handy feature emits light from the bottoms of the side mirrors when the doors open. This is very handy when you’re getting out of the car at night and may not otherwise be aware of a puddle or uneven ground just outside your door. It can’t be that expensive to add to a car, and I think every make and model should include it. Ford also added some unexpected lighting to the interior. Inside the cup holders is a ring of ambient lighting in an array of selectable colors and that lighting continues throughout the whole floor of the car, which looks pretty cool at night. One feature that is starting to show up in more cars is individual climate controls, and the Fusion is no exception, offering individual control over passenger and driver heating and air with the ability to specify the exact temperature you or your passenger are looking for. Finally, a feature that I’m sure you’ll agree every geek’s car should have is electrical outlets. In the back of the center storage compartment is an electrical outlet with a cap to keep little kits from sticking things in it. It’s a great feature, but I would have liked to see one in the front, too. When Michelle and I drove to Detroit and back last summer, I often had my laptop open in the front passenger seat when she was driving. If we were in the Fusion during that trip, having to plug my laptop in the front would have been perfect.

The driving experience
The biggest part of the driving experience for me is comfort, and the importance of comfort is underlined on longer trips. I need to feel relaxed when I drive. The fusion’s power “eco-friendly cloth seating” felt like normal seating and they were about as comfortable as I would expect. After adjusting the seat until I was comfortable, I found the drive to be pretty smooth. Other than being able to finally hear the engine, I could barely tell when the car transitioned from electric to gas. It wasn’t until I returned this car that I realized how quiet is was. Granted, my Honda is five years old now, but it seemed like a loud ride after a week in the Fusion. This hybrid seemed to get up to speed without much delay, as well.

Starting at $27,270, the Fusion Hybrid I was driving made its way up to about $30,000 with all the added features and had great fuel economy. If you’re not looking for a hybrid, the Fusion starts around $19,000. The Fusion I was given was loaded up with features for that $3,000 or so additional, but there’s even more features you can add, like a touch screen stereo system with GPS navigation. If features are important and you have room in your budget for them, Ford seems to have just about any reasonable feature you could need in a new car. When the week came to an end I didn’t want to give the car back. Actively shopping for a car, a week in the Fusion convinced me to start seriously considering purchasing one, which I hadn’t even thought about before (sedans weren’t really on my list). Traveling a decent amount, I’ve driven many different newer cars and hadn’t meen as figuratively moved by any of them as much as I was with the geek-friendly Fusion. If you’re looking for a car, take one of these for a spin and ask to test drive one with some of these features so you can try them yourself before deciding. One step closer to the future, the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid is bound to win over a lot of eco-conscious tech-loving drivers.

Author: Joe Colburn

Joe Colburn is a software engineer specializing in PHP and a technology enthusiast. Always eager to dive into new and exciting things, Joe writes about anything technology related news and products that he thinks you will also be excited about. Find Joe Colburn on Google+ or by any of the links below.

18 thoughts on “A Week With The Tech Savvy 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid”

  1. Sounds pretty reasonably priced for a hybrid and I am surprised by that. I would love the lighted rings on the cup holders! And the individual temperature climate controls is a must for hubby and me. Thanks for the review!

    Baba’s last blog post..Cool Giveaways

  2. francis: Seriously look into getting one. They’re a lot of fun.

    TechTIMMY: Thanks. I agree.

    Baba: The individual climate control is a nice feature to have. Michelle is from Michigan and used to the cold and I’m a long time Zonie (Arizonan), so I don’t like it too cold.

  3. I would have considered a car like this for their marketing efforts alone. Providing bloggers the opportunity to actually test the car for a week has worked really well for Ford. The added features you mention in the post are little things you may not look for when car shopping, but definitely come in handy once you actually purchase a car. I would definitely consider the Fusion once I’m ready for my next car.

  4. I rented a non-hybrid version and loved the car except for one problem that excludes me from ever buying this model: At my height of 6 feet even, and the seat adjusted for my maximum comfort, the rear view mirror is directly in my line of sight to the right side of the windshield. I found myself bobbing and weaving to get a look out the right side. Very annoying

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  6. 35.3mpg? I have a V8 Lexus that gets 25mpg combined with my driving techniques, and about 28mpg hwy. To spend $30K to get this hybrid ($20K after selling my Lexus), it would take me 200 months to recoup my costs ($100 a month in fuel savings). Basically take the entire life of the vehicle to get my money back.

    I love the technology, but they have to get the MPG up dramatically to make me a sale.

    The most economical car will almost always be the well-maintained car you are currently driving (and have paid off). Drive it for at least 200,000 miles to get your money’s worth. THEN, upgrade to the most fuel-efficient 2 year-old car you can buy. (let someone else pay the initial depreciation).

    Love the dash! About time they went LCD or OLED.

    Doc Rings

  7. Not to totally disregard everything listed (some of which seemed rather nice)… I have to believe that much of what I read is nothing new.
    I drive an 08 Prius (lots o’ toys)… backup camera, check… touch screen for GPS and other info, check… damn quit ride (one of the main reasons I chose it), check… bluetooth pairing and automatic detection when I get in, check.

    I think the interior lights (above the rear view mirror) and sunglass holder are even identical.

    Keep in mind, much of the “hybrid” info, while at times useful, is as much a sales gimmick as anything (showing MPG can improve driving… showing a historical graph is a “feel-good”).

    Price… I paid $23 (granted it was 10 months used).

    what I think IS unique: MS SYNC, blind-spot alerts (sounds nice!), illuminated entry (though I’ve seen in other cars), and the keyless entry
    note: keyless entry can be a *HUGE* security issue

    I also tested the acceleration of the Prius 3 times before purchase… I’d driven the Hybrid Civic, which only seems to accelerate when moving down hill… the Prius tops out at ~110, and is pretty peppy (though starts to get audibly noticable) up through around 90 mph. Try testing: basic unimpeded acceleration, bumper-to-bumper (ride someones ass), and passing on the highway (I was over the speed limit before I realized it).

    I’m not saying much about the Fusion… I know very little about it… but this seems like a sales article more than a comparison.

    PS: spelling errors: “jshow”, “navication”,

  8. dmac: I’m just a couple inches shorter and hadn’t noticed that, but that might deter anyone, I guess.

    Doc: Good points. I think all the hybrids are a bigger hit to the wallet. The Fusion I had was loaded up with all those extras, so I’m sure it can be had for a lot less, but you still pay more for the hybrid.

    Scott: I’m not sure about that first Mazda comment, but if you find that it IS, in fact, a Mazda, drop me a link to your source. It would be interesting to read. =) As for all the features, I think I was most impressed with the culmination of features combined in this one car. Of course, the LCD dash was the part that stood out to me. I haven’t driven the Civic Hybrid or the Prius, so I can’t really comment much on either. Thanks for the heads up on those spelling mistakes.

  9. The real measure of economy is cost per mile of driving. The Ford Fusion Hybrid satisfies the objective of your article – to emphasize the techie bells and whistles. I do find the economy to be quite questionable. If the Ford Fusion Hybrid is compared to the VW Jetta Diesel, the Jetta wins easily. We have driven our Jetta TDI for 6000 miles since May-09. City mileage ranges from 30 to 35 mpg (EPA estimate 29 mpg) and highway mileage ranges from 42 to 46 mpg (EPA estimate 40). You will note that the EPA numbers are becoming better for the gas vehicles, overstate mileage for Hybrids and understate mileage for diesels. On a recent trip from Reading to Boston we averaged 43 mpg in combination of city and mostly highway driving. Cost per mile was $0.061. Hybrids “use” a battery as an expendable resource. Most technical articles calculate the battery cost over the life of a hybrid car to range from $0.01 to $0.018 per mile. If the Ford Fusion is to compete with the Jetta TDI, it would have to achieve a fuel cost per mile of $0.051 per mile, the equivalent of 51 miles per gallon on the highway. Size is confusing since the passenger volume of the “small Jetta is 92 cubic feet compared to the Fusion 100 cubic feet. Also the “small” Jetta hauls twice the luggage with luggage volume of 33 cubic feet compared to the Fusion’s 16 cubic feet. The Jetta is powerful, and quiet, and for the buyers who have an adversion to diesels, does not smell – even when garaged and idled in the garage. Prices at $3000 to $5000 less than a Fusion, the price difference can buy a lot of fuel. Ford should have spent more time on the engine and power source, and less time on lights in the cup holder. Why doesn’t the Fusion offer better mileage and more room then a 2.0L turbo diesel?

  10. Well, there aren’t many cars that will get 700 miles to a tank of gas, and to my knowldge, no other hybrid will run up to 47 mph without using a drop of liquid fuel. I think this Fusion Hybrid will prove itself to a large number of urban and suburban drivers who mostly drive at 45 mph and below.

  11. I recently test drove a Jetta TDI Sportwagon with the 6 speed automatic transmission. Since it was a clean diesel, there was not a significant odor when it was warming up. The shifting was nearly seamless and the performance was very impressive. I believe the engine has 238 lb. ft. of torque. The highway fuel economy flirts with 50 mpg if you keep your foot out of it, (65 mpg). The handling belies the fact you’re driving a wagon. Very little body roll through the corners.
    The standard features on the VW include many things that are options on other cars. I have driven a Golf TDI for the past 8 years and piled on 150000 miles. The car is just broken in by a diesel standpoint, but being 6’3″, I’m looking for something larger, maybe a Venza.
    I’m encouraged by Ford’s commitment and their focus on the cutting edge instead of status quo.

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