Easy Going: 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

We’re getting closer to the point where hybrids aren’t just a badge of ecological honour but a demonstration of economical savvy. At this price, the Fusion Hybrid is a smart decision for practical city drivers.

Technology and Fuel Economy – 9.5

It’s not powerful (thankfully, they resisted the urge to pair the electric motor with a V8) but the Fusion is efficient. Go lightly with the accelerator and you’ll get a treat: you can travel over 70km per hour just on the electric mode!

Just be gentle. On electric power, it achieves only 106hp and the transition to the 4-cylinder gas engine is subtle, almost imperceptible. A $1,200 “Moon & Tune” package turned this Fusion Hybrid into a 12-speaker Sony studio, making it all the more challenging to hear that switch to gasoline. To wring the most from its electric motor, the Fusion features an ongoing seminar on the instrument cluster. Eggheads and zealots can configure it to maximize every drop of energy. Regular drivers can watch leaves growing onscreen when they’re being green. Really.

But please keep your eyes on the road and just watch your foot instead. It’s worth it.

It’s listed as delivering 4.6 L/100 km in the city and 5.4 on the highways. I drove it over 840km in a week – well over half of that on horrible Ontario highways – and didn’t come close to emptying the 64.3 litre tank.

Design – Outside 8.5, Inside 7.9

Even with added several thousands for the hybrid version, the Fusion still looks much more expensive than it is –like one of those muscular Japanese rockets we often see feeding our speed traps – especially from the outside. It’s a masculine bullet.

Inside, it’s a bit too much like an ‘80s dance-floor for my taste with its hot pink fluorescent lights accenting the cupholders. But you acclimatize quickly and, aesthetics aside, the space is used well. There’s plenty legroom for you and three friends with heaps of trunk space – 11.8 cubic feet. A common complaint is that hybrids sacrifice cargo space for technology, but the Fusion’s nickel-metal hydride battery is compact, and efficiently cooled with the air in the cabin. Cleverly simple.

Base price: $25,799
As driven: $28,879

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