Mercury launches its first hybrid passenger car with the 2010 Milan Hybrid. Along with its sibling, the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Milan Hybrid promises to be one of the most fuel-efficient midsize sedans available in the U.S.
The Milan Hybrid comes to market with technology designed to help drivers operate the car in a more efficient manner. Competitors include the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid.
The gas-only Milan, which was redesigned for 2010, is covered separately in the Cars.com Research section.
The new Milan Hybrid joins an updated version of the gas-only midsize sedan and features similar styling. It has a waterfall grille as well as a restyled hood, headlights and front bumper. Despite the numerous changes to the Milan's exterior, the relatively conservative design might get lost in the large crowd that is the midsize sedan segment.
The Milan Hybrid has a few exterior cues that will tip onlookers off that they aren't looking at a regular Milan. The hybrid has badges on the front doors and trunklid, plus special 17-inch wheels.
The general appearance of the Milan Hybrid's cabin hews closely to the regular model's, which gains a more premium appearance compared to its predecessor. The seat fabric in the Milan Hybrid is made from recycled materials.
The hybrid has a unique gauge cluster called SmartGauge with EcoGuide that's designed to help drivers save fuel. Efficiency gauges have been done before, but the Milan Hybrid's instrument panel takes it to a new level in production cars. It features two LCD screens separated by a traditional speedometer. The screens can be configured to show the driver a limited set of information about the hybrid system or increasingly detailed data. One of the more interesting graphical features available is an animated vine that grows more leaves as the car is driven more efficiently.
The hybrid can have an available navigation system that features Sirius Travel Link technology. In addition to traffic information, Travel Link can show local gas prices and movie times. Standard features include rear parking sensors and a 110-volt household power plug.
Under the Hood
The Milan Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. A continuously variable automatic transmission sends power to the wheels. This is a fairly conventional setup for a hybrid, but the Milan Hybrid's system differs from current competitors in a key way: While many hybrids are limited to electric-only operation to speeds around 25 mph, Mercury says the Milan Hybrid can travel on electric power alone up to 47 mph. Obviously, conditions must be favorable to allow for this type of operation, but it offers the potential for notable gas savings. Mercury says the Milan Hybrid will have a city fuel economy rating that's at least 6 mpg higher than the Camry Hybrid's rating, which would make it at least 39 mpg. That's quite an improvement over an efficient competitor. The claimed range for the Milan Hybrid in city driving — around 700 miles — is equally impressive.
Standard safety features include all-disc antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags, a driver's knee airbag and an electronic stability system.
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