We’ve heard it before, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” So many vehicles out there have so many parts that they distract from the whole, and a lengthy features list starts to read like a rap sheet. That’s not the case with the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. The Fusion Hybrid lives up to the mantra, giving me the features I like the most and wrapping them up in a sharp, fuel-efficient whole. This car is awesome.
I was excited for this test drive because Ford has been getting lots of kudos for the Fusion Hybrid. Our intrepid Courtney Messenbaugh attended the Fusion Hybrid preview and was impressed. When I went to pick up the car, however, I thought, “Meh.” Initially, I was underwhelmed by its looks and its gray exterior with a gray interior when I saw it the first night. I have to confess: I get a little bored of the silver and gray cars that I’ve tested lately. However, when I came out to drive it the next day, I saw a different car.
The more I looked at the Fusion Hybrid, the more I liked it. So how did I go from “meh” to “awesome?” Simple, I drove it.
The Fusion Hybrid’s drive and ride quality amazed me the most. At traffic light, the engine’s starting and stopping was undetectable; there was no loud engine start noise, and no lurching as the engine jumped to life. It was impressive. Some might worry about a hybrid not having enough power, but the Fusion Hybrid never felt inadequate. Highway driving was a breeze, and city driving was a cinch.
The quiet cabin and engine are phenomenal. It was a true pleasure to drive this car because silence is something I never get at home.
The Fusion Hybrid has a sculpted hood, and distinctive grille that integrates the headlights nicely; I also liked the chrome-accented air intake and fog lights. From the side, she looks sharp but not like she’s working too hard to please you. She’s the kind of girl who is stylish but not trendy.
With some thoughtful, modern design touches that don’t go over the top, this car can live with you for a long time. I’d like to thank Ford for putting some thought and effort into the tail end of the car. No boring, flat rear hatch here. The shape of the taillights blends in with the molded metal on the trunk. Chrome details with the badge are nice, and the lip along the bottom adds just enough pizzazz to keep it interesting.
The doors were easy for my kids to open; they weren’t too heavy nor too light (a common problem in hybrids). Smaller kids may need a little help managing the doors, but I was impressed by the handles’ ease of use.
I really liked the Fusion Hybrid’s Easy Fuel capless fuel system. This does exactly what it says – you don’t have to remove a gas cap when filling the tank. No messy hands and no lost caps. However, it would be a more practical feature on a gas guzzler. The Fusion Hybrid gets 41/36 mpg city/highway, so there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for me to use this fun feature.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great-Excellent
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times
There’s a lot going on in the interior. There are some features that you don’t notice right away such as the eco-friendly cloth seating and the ambient lighting. At first, the ambient lighting just looks like a nice, abundant arrangement of LEDs throughout the interior, making for a well-lit cabin. What’s unusual is that you can change the color of the LEDs from white to purple to blue to yellow to red to orange (not necessarily in that order) to pink. I think I got them all. The kids loved to pick which color we used each time we got in the car – sunlight be darned.
The seats are comfortable, lightly bolstered and supportive. You know what my measure of good seats for the kids is? No complaints. There was no whining about the booster seat not fitting right or it covering the seat belt receptors. There was no griping about legroom or about who’s touching whom. Not a word. Excellent.
Another lauded feature of the Fusion Hybrid is Ford’s Sync system. However, I could not get my iPhone to completely sync in this puppy (perhaps because it’s the old-school first-generation iPhone). The calling feature worked great and was seamless, but I couldn’t get any of my music to play.
The Fusion Hybrid’s SmartGauge with EcoGuide instrument cluster really won me over. At first it looked like a lot of information coming at me all at once. However, after I checked it out for about a minute it made perfect sense. The cluster shows various aspects the vehicle’s power, efficiency and speed. You can select one of four configurations highlighting the aspects that are most important to you. These menus are labeled Inform, Enlighten, Engage and Empower. Even though I had four choices, I remained mostly in the Empower mode, which gave me the most information but wasn’t overwhelming.
The LED-illuminated cupholders are great, and I had fun changing their color. The cubbies and storage are abundant and functional. I particularly liked that most of the Fusion Hybrid’s compartments are padded with either a grippy rubber or fuzzy cloth. No rattles here. In the backseat, there are two cupholders housed in the center armrest.
The cargo area is ample, which in hybrid terms is really more like Galore in our MotherProof.com rating system. This is because most hybrids use the cargo area to store the batteries. Ford finagled its battery storage so I could fit a full load of groceries in the cargo area. No sweat. What about mamas with strollers? Umbrella types are good to go as are small single strollers. Double strollers, you’ll need to double-check. Be warned: The only way to open the trunk is with the key fob or a button inside the cabin. That’s kind of a hassle.
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample (which is Galore in hybrid terms)
My test car came with the Driver’s Vision Package that includes a backup camera and a blind spot warning system. I really liked the blind spot warning system, which illuminates an orange LED light in the corresponding side mirror whenever a car is in your blind spot.
Rear parking sensors are standard on the Fusion Hybrid. The sensors detect objects behind the car and sound a warning to alert you. However, I found it to be too sensitive and tuned it out; I chose to back up slowly and look around carefully. This worked well because visibility out of the Fusion Hybrid is exceptional. The windows are large, and I could see all around me quite easily. The Fusion Hybrid also has a backup camera. Its image is displayed in the rearview mirror when the car is in Reverse. This was great most of the time, but I sometimes had trouble seeing the image in the mirror.
My kids had no problems using the seat belts. The Latch anchors are a little recessed but easy to find and use. If you’re considering a Fusion Hybrid and have young children, you’ll want to test the fit of your child-safety seats before you buy. A rear-facing seat could be a tight fit, especially if the front passenger or driver needs a lot of legroom.
The Fusion Hybrid’s standard safety features include all-disc antilock brakes, side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver’s knee airbag, traction control and an electronic stability system.
In Diapers: A rear-facing child-safety seat could be a tight squeeze, and check to make sure the trunk can hold any large strollers you have.
In School: It’s a breeze for kids to get in and out of the car on their own.
Teens: The electronic stability system will help teen drivers stay safe on the road.