Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Ford Fusion Hybrid is a "full" hybrid because both propulsion sources

The Fusion fits a range of budgets. The base car comes reasonably well equipped and with the optional 6-speed automatic transmission just cracks $20,000. Ford's voice-activated Sync system, which easily pairs phones and audio devices with the car, is an inexpensive option on lower-trim models. For $23,000, the four-cylinder Fusion offers six-speaker audio, all the power accessories, Sync and a sport-suspension upgrade. High-trim Fusions offer excellent, high-power Sony Audio, a sumptuous leather interior package, advanced electronic systems like blind-spot warning and one of the easiest-operating navigation systems anywhere.

Nicely enhanced with chrome, the Fusion looks muscular and crisp, with more than a hint of Euro panache.

Fusion comfortably seats five. Every model is roomy and comfortable, with one of the largest trunks in the class.

With the 6-speed manual the Fusion is almost a sports sedan. The 263-horsepower Fusion Sport is truly powerful, quick and excitingly agile.

The Fusion Hybrid's gas engine and electric motor deliver a combined 191 hp, but the literally instantaneous torque makes it feel like more. And you don't have to drive the Hybrid like you're in a funeral cortege to achieve 40-plus city mpg. These are real-world figures. During Los Angeles morning rush, we drove the Fusion Hybrid in heavy traffic from the Sunset Strip 10 miles west along hilly, snaking Sunset Boulevard to the beach, then south to Santa Monica Pier, all the while proceeding at a distinctly non-funereal pace. Without fuss, the Hybrid delivered an impressive 41.5 mpg. In city driving, that kind of mileage takes it 700 miles on a single tank of gas.

The Fusion Hybrid is a "full" hybrid because both propulsion sources, an electric motor powered by a Sanyo supplied 275 V nickel-metal hydride battery, and a 2.5L Atkinson cycle I4 156hp 136ft.lbs.gas engine with late intake valve closing (iVCT), have substantial power ratings and either can be used alone to propel the vehicle. When braking or decelerating, the Fusion's hybrid system uses regenerative braking, where the electric drive motor becomes a generator, converting the vehicle's momentum back to electricity for storage in the batteries. Ford claims that nearly 94 percent energy recovery is achieved by first delivering full regenerative braking followed by friction brakes during city driving. Under ideal conditions, Ford claims the Fusion Hybrid can cruise 2 miles (3.2 km) at up to 47 miles per hour (76 km/h) on battery power alone.

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