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.
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.
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.
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.
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.