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2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid was new.


Performance: 8.8

Many reviewers say the 2011 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 with EPA fuel economy ratings of 41/36 mpg city/highway, reviewers remain impressed.

  • "The Toyota Prius crowd will protest. Prius is lower-priced, has about the same room inside, has a handy hatchback configuration, gets better mileage… 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 Ford Fusion is the most involving hybrid to drive." -- Edmunds
  • "There are some hybrid quirks that take a little getting used to, such as the silent start -- turning the key and not hearing the motor turn -- as well as the ability to sneak up on pedestrians in the parking lot." -- Detroit News
  • "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

The 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid isn’t sports car fast, but power doesn’t suffer under its hybrid nameplate. In fact, Ford estimates that the Fusion Hybrid accelerates from zero to 60 mph in nine seconds – half a second faster than a four-cylinder Fusion. Reviewers agree that the Fusion Hybrid has an impressive amount of power.

The Fusion Hybrid has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Together they make 191 horsepower. It also has a 275-volt hybrid battery. In comparison, the conventional Fusion with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder only makes 175 horsepower, 16 less than the hybrid.

Fuel economy is also good. The EPA says the Fusion Hybrid gets 41/36 mpg city/highway, which is one of the highest ratings among hybrid sedans. The Toyota Prius gets much higher ratings of 51/48 mpg city/highway, but unlike the Fusion Hybrid, it sacrifices performance.

  • "Power delivery is impressive." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Power from the hybrid system is certainly adequate, and in normal driving and passing situations most drivers should be quite satisfied." -- Edmunds
  • "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

Handling and Braking

The Ford Fusion has always been one of the more nimble midsize family cars. The Fusion Hybrid uses electronically-assisted steering, which is different from the hydraulic power steering found on the conventional Fusion.

Some reviewers don’t like the Fusion Hybrid’s steering. They say it isn’t as responsive as the gasoline Fusion, and the added weight of batteries and a comfort-tuned suspension lead to body roll and understeer. Other auto writers, however, think handling is much improved over earlier models.

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.

  • "There is ample steering feedback, and body control through corners is impressive." -- Edmunds
  • "The Hybrid is a step less nimble overall than other Fusions." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The engine cuts off and on with incredible smoothness, and the Fusion's regenerative brakes do not suffer from the grabbiness found in most other hybrids." -- MSN
  • "On the other hand, the Fusion Hybrid's handling is nothing to write home about. The combination of lugging around hefty batteries and electronics, a suspension tuned for comfort, and low rolling resistance tires results in gratuitous amounts of body roll and understeer. Of course, safe, predictable understeer isn't always a bad thing when you're just trying to get to work, so we won't punish the Fusion too badly for it." -- CNET

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