Falling Leaves - 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid Long-Term Road Test

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid Long Term Road Test

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Falling Leaves

January 15, 2010


In the 80's we used to roll our eyes at cars with so-called video game dashboards, a code phrase for that era's crude digital gauges. Of course Pong was the hot game and electronic digital displays were only just appearing in clock-radios and wristwatches.

But our 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid features a very sharp, crisp and desirable update to the video game dashboard concept. If anything, this development is overdue in the era of the PS3, XBox 360, Modern Warfare 2 and Gran Turismo 5. (Scratch that last one. Bad example. It'll NEVER be released.)

Except for the central floating speedo, the entire dash is one big TFT display, not unlike the one found on the laptop you might be using to read this. And because it's basically a computer screen, the customization and display possibilities are endless.

In the Ford Fusion hybrid application, that apparently opened the door wide open for the PR and marketing departments and let them crawl inside the cockpit and hit us over the head with their Big Green Hammer. The leaves you see to the right of the virtual fuel and fuel economy gauges are Exhibit A. I get it, the Ford Fusion hybrid is "good for the environment". Thanks for sharing.

You have to earn those leaves, you see, by driving "green", or, as some might say, slow. This dashboard doesn't just look like a video game in the graphical sense, it PLAYS like a video game.

I'm OK with creating incentives, or at least effective feedback, that helps those who want to reduce our nation's dependence on imported oil, spend less money, emit less CO2 or simply go farther on a tank of gas. After all, just about everyone falls into one or more of the above categories.

But LEAVES? Does it have to be in green intertwined leaves? Leaves that grow or fall off to reflect your lightness of foot? Leaves that curl up behind the whole of the dash if you are an expert hypermiler?

No, it does not. The customization made possible by the TFT dash means you can make them go away...


Ahhh, that's better. A friendly bar graph is just the thing to soothe an engineer's mind. I can now drive the 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid without gritting my teeth.

And check out those stats: Just over half a tank of fuel left and there are 325 miles to go on the range readout. It will be interesting to see how far we can travel on a single tank of gas. Feel free to place your bets.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 2,325 miles

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