2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Winter Floormats? No Problem Here.
February 02, 2010
Heavy winter floor mats are nothing new, of course. And even though we're located in mostly-sunny Santa Monica, our 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid was delivered with a set of them. Of course the driver's mat was left in the trunk because the carpet mat was currently in use. That's the way things are supposed to roll.
Since I've become something of a stuck-throttle engineer of late and the mat was just sitting there, taunting me, there was nothing for it but to see if the same throttle pedal entrapment issue I easily confirmed in a 2004 Toyota Prius was possible in our 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid.
In a word, no; I was unable to trap the throttle pedal in our Ford Fusion.
Let's review, shall we?
Here you see a set of heavy rubber floor mats made especially for the Prius. I bought them via eBay from some apparently worried but enterprising Prius owner in New England just after the recall was announced. As long as it's somebody else, right?
Anyway, the warning "DO NOT PLACE ON TOP OF EXISTING FLOOR MATS" is molded into the rubber on the upper surface, right where you can see it as you slide them into place. But we know for a fact that this is often ignored. Cars have been delivered to us with rubber mats stacked atop carpet ones more than once. In fact our Flex came to us that way when we first bought it. And at least some, but certainly not all, of the NHTSA complaints written by Toyota vehicle owners specifically spell out this scenario.
I've slid the mat forward about two inches, a common occurrence if the hooks are not engaged.
The throttle above is stuck in the wide-open position. It was amazingly easy to do. I can reproduce it in half a minute in any Prius with nothing but my wits and a genuine Prius winter mat. In just the right position, the bottom of the pedal clicks into or behind the drainage channel that runs around the perimeter and the pedal gets stuck.
No weight is required to keep it there, but the heavy rubber mats don't bend and the pedal can be especially hard to un-stick if your feet are on the mat as they usually are, pushing slightly forward and keeping everything scrunched together.
But this is not supposed to be a Prius post. Let's look at the Ford Fusion already.
The Ford Fusion mats carry the same molded-in warning as the Prius ones. They are stiff, they don't bend much. If anything, the perimeter drainage groove is even deeper and squarer. And the Ford Fusion has a top-hinged gas pedal, just like the Prius. Hmmm.
Duplicating the same conditions, I've ignored the warning and left the carpet mats hooked in place. The hook can only accommodate one layer, so the rubber mat is free to move. I slide it forward to see if I can make it jam the pedal, just as I did with the Prius.
I cannot do it. The Fusion's pedal doesn't want to stick to the mat. It's close, but the angle is different. The floor looks flatter and the pedal might be a little shorter, too.
I agree with Ford and Toyota that you shouldn't stack floor mats. The uppermost one can't be restrained by the hooks and the thickness buildup eats into the clearance that's intended to be there. But directions don't always get read or followed, so this kind of thing will continue to happen. Our Ford Fusion seems much more tolerant of such misuse.
What of Toyota? Well, the Fusion example shows that Toyota's proposed pedal entrapment fix (recall 1 of 2, if you're keeping score) has merit and should address a portion of the complaints. Even now they have begun shortening gas pedals and reshaping the floor itself of affected Toyota and Lexus cars so the floor mat sits flatter and lower in the area under the pedal. In short, they're making the pedal region look more like that of our 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 2,910 miles