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2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid was new.


Performance: 8.9

Many reviewers say the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid offers the best driving experience available in a hybrid sedan. Its acceleration is on par with that of many midsize sedans, and the transition between power sources is nearly undetectable. Some report that its handling, while perhaps not as engaging as that of its conventionally-powered sibling, is comfortable and even enjoyable. And while official EPA mileage numbers are not yet available, reviewers have measured very impressive fuel economy.

  • "The Toyota Prius crowd will protest. Prius is lower-priced, has about the same room inside, has a handy hatchback configuration, gets better mileage - and most of those attributes could improve when the 2010 Prius goes on sale in a few months - so how could Fusion be the best hybrid? Simple. Fusion drives better. A car is, after all, a driving machine." -- USA Today
  • "Other than the Altima Hybrid (which is only sold in nine states), the 2010 Ford Fusion is the most involving hybrid to drive." -- Edmunds
  • "Yeah, sure, there's some of that artificialness in steering and braking responses that afflicts all hybrids, but it's quite benign, and the car really does go down the road quite well. Anyone who's shopping the Toyota Prius needs to check out this car also." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The bottom line is that Ford's claim that the Fusion Hybrid offers the best fuel economy of any mid-size family sedan on the market has something of real-world truth, which can be a really good thing for city-suburban commuters, who waste much time and fuel idling in traffic jams." -- Washington Post

Acceleration and Power

Ford estimates that the 2010 Fusion Hybrid will accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph in nine seconds - half a second faster than a four-cylinder Fusion. Reviewers generally agree with that assessment, saying the Fusion Hybrid gives up nothing in power to most four-cylinder midsize cars. The system mates a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 156 horsepower to an electric motor making 106 horsepower. Both motors send power to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. All-wheel drive, available on the standard Fusion, is not an option on the hybrid model.

In test drives, reviewers tend to focus on fuel economy. Many have managed impressive numbers, but the official EPA estimate has not yet been released. The Fusion Hybrid can reach 47 miles per hour on battery power alone, which is more than any other hybrid currently sold, boosting fuel economy. The batteries, however, cannot sustain that cruising speed alone for long.

  • "Power delivery is impressive." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Rarely do you get the opportunity to see a midsize sedan average more than 43 mpg in city driving. Actually, no one has seen it before -- not even the distinguished gentleman and senator from Alabama -- but the new gas-electric hybrid developed by Ford does just that." -- Detroit News
  • "During the launch drive, I attempted to game the results by gunning away from stoplights and generally doing everything I could to burn up gas and electricity. Yet still I managed a fine 33.8-mpg average. Other drivers, carefully following the EcoGuide displays, were able to record city averages of more than 43 mpg on a similar route." -- Motor Trend
  • "Hybrid delivers sufficient go, but the occasionally lethargic CVT transmission is hesitant to ‘kick down' for maximum power." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Niceties like a more seamless transition between gas and electric make the Fusion Hybrid's driving experience feel more ‘normal.'" -- Popular Mechanics
  • "The electric motor delivers more crank than you get from the gas engines in most small cars. And the miracle is how Ford blends the two. There was no - none, nada, zip - vibration or shimmying in the test car when the gasoline kicked in to help the electric. No other hybrid - not even that $107,000 Lexus - can make that claim 100% of the time. Fusion's main rivals, Camry and Nissan Altima hybrids, shake a lot when their gasoline engines join the party, Altima especially." -- USA Today

Handling and Braking

The Ford Fusion has always been one of the nimbler midsize family cars. The Fusion Hybrid uses electronically-assisted steering, different from the hydraulic power steering found on the conventional Fusion. Some reviewers say this interferes with road feel slightly, but most find that the steering communicates well. Regenerative braking gives the pedal a soft feel, test drivers say, but braking distance measurements are actually quite good for a midsize family car. So while drivers may take some time to get used to the pedal feel, the brakes should perform well in panic stops.

  • "Provides ample steering feedback, and body control through corners is impressive... At our test track, the Fusion Hybrid stopped from 60 mph in a tidy 126 feet, which is the best distance we've recorded among non-luxury hybrid cars." -- Edmunds
  • "The Hybrid is a step less nimble overall than other Fusions." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The turning circle is 2 feet narrower [than in the 2009 Fusion]. No more back-and-forth getting into or out of a tight parking spot at the shopping mall. The change makes the car feel more nimble overall, not just when docking in a narrow slot." -- USA Today
  • "The brakes feel very squishy at first, but after a few miles you are used to the feeling." -- Automobile Magazine

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