Growing up I always wanted to test cars for Car & Driver, Popular Mechanics, or Consumer Reports magazines. I love to get behind the wheel and drive different vehicles. This surprises some people because the last thing I want to do is change my oil or tinker on a car, but I just love the combination of man and machine on the open road.
Last Thursday, I was able to live my childhood dream for an hour or so, as I got to try out the all-new 2010 ford Fusion Hybrid and pepper David Treharne, the supervisor of Hybrid Power Train Controls for Ford Motor Company, with various questions.
Now I have to admit, I’d probably prefer testing a new Mustang over at the Newton Speedway, but this was the first hybrid car I had the opportunity to drive, which was neat in its own way. I currently own two Toyota cars and an old red Ford pickup that has seen better days.
At the end of my test drive, I walked away impressed with the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. While I’m not currently in the market for a new car, the next time I’m shopping around for a vehicle, Ford will be in the discussion. When my wife and I purchased a new car last winter, we didn’t even consider purchasing a Ford, Chevy, or Chrysler vehicle.
There is a lot to like about 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid:
The estimated mileage per gallon for the Fusion Hybrid is 41 in the city and 36 on the highway. During my 18.1 mile trek around Des Moines, I averaged 43.9 mpg, and consumed less than a half gallon of gas. Now I have to say that I was a little upset to see that some reporter from the Des Moines Register was able to beat my 43.9 mark with 44.1 mpg, but they only drove for 4 miles. What the heck can you learn about a vehicle in a four mile trip? Plus, I was hauling around Tim Albrecht from TheBeanWalker.com in the back seat; that has to be the reason for my defeat…
My trip with the Fusion Hybrid started in the East Village and went to 50th Street in West Des Moines, and back. My goal was to see how the car did on I-235 on the way to 50th Street, and then I took Ashworth and Grand Avenue back to the East Village.
The only thing that was really different from a normal car was starting the vehicle. There is no cranking of the engine required, the only thing I can compare it to would be starting up your computer if it took a key. The process of starting the car was so quite, I didn’t think I did it right. The other noticeable difference was the dash, which is customizable. There are four settings ranging from a very basic instrument cluster, to an advanced readout that I used.
As I began my trip, I noticed that the car accelerated better than I thought it would. The Ford representative told me that during acceleration both the electric and gas power-plants propel the vehicle. My biggest fear was that it would drive like a golf cart, but the car responded no differently than one of my regular cars.
As we traveled down I-235, I noticed that it was impossible to get the Fusion Hybrid to run on electric power unless I was coasting or breaking. At 2:30 in the afternoon, there wasn’t much traffic, so it was easy to maintain 60 miles an hour. When I mentioned that, the Ford rep quickly pointed out that I was getting 39 mpg. Good point.
On the return trip via Ashworth and Grand, it was the exact opposite. The car used mostly electric power unless I was climbing a hill or accelerating from a dead stop. It was this part of the trip that changed my opinion on hybrids and the first time I could see myself wanting one. In fact, I became obsessed with watching the green leaves on the right side of the dash grow as I kept it in electric mode.
The Fusion Hybrid with its awesome gas mileage and its 17 gallon fuel take gives you a range of 700 miles between fuel ups. Now, that is something that gets my attention, especially when you consider the Fusion isn’t some tiny tin can of a car. The Fusion is mid-sized car, and the one I drove had all of the amenities one could ever ask for. I especially liked the blind spot indicators on the outside mirrors.
I think that the Fusion Hybrid will be a good seller for Ford. With Consumer Reports giving the car high marks, and the Fusion getting the best fuel mileage in its class, those shopping for a hybrid need to do their homework and give this car a serious look.
The Des Moines Register gave the car a “thistle” on their opinion page yesterday because the car is built in Mexico. While I would like to see manufacturing jobs return to the United States, I think that criticism is shortsighted. Like any business, Ford must be able to generate a profit to keep their doors open. I’m sure the 110,000 people that Ford directly employs in the United States understand that.
I remember people being upset about a company called Maytag opening up a manufacturing plant in Mexico. That company doesn’t exist anymore, and all of those good paying jobs at the corporate offices in Newton left when the company was bought out by Whirlpool.
The Fusion Hybrid is the lone bright spot coming out of the American auto industry. While Chrysler and General Motors inch closer and closer to bankruptcy, Ford is positioned to compete against the overseas automakers. I wish them well in their endeavor and will give their products a look the next time I’m in the market for a vehicle.
blog comments powered by Disqus