Full 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid Review
What's New for 2011
For 2011, the Ford Fusion Hybrid sees only a few minor standard equipment changes.
For car shoppers who want to be green, the task of finding a hybrid car that is both affordable and suitably snappy hasn't been easy. But last year Ford brought a can of Red Bull to this chamomile tea party in the form of the Fusion Hybrid. Unlike hybrids that have gone before, the 2011 Fusion Hybrid is rewarding to drive thanks to relatively brisk acceleration and crisp handling.
Of course, the fundamental appeal of a hybrid car still remains within this Ford sedan. It comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine good for 156 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque, that is paired with an electric motor that raises these numbers to 191 hp and 166 lb-ft. The EPA estimates you'll get 41 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, which is considerably better than the numbers posted by other midsize hybrid sedans that compete with the Fusion Hybrid.
As with the regular Fusion, the hybrid also boasts a spacious, well-finished cabin loaded with thoughtful luxury features. Highlights of the latter include dual-zone automatic climate control, rear park assist and Ford's superb Sync multimedia voice control system. Trunk capacity does suffer because of the space taken up by the battery pack, but there's still enough room for a fair amount of luggage or gear.
As hybrid sedans go, the 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid is certainly one of our favorites. Granted, there's an inherent price premium with the hybrid over a conventional Fusion sedan, and you'll still get better mileage out of cars like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius. But apples to apples, the 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid it's a better choice than the Camry Hybrid and Nissan Altima Hybrid. The only other hybrid sedan we'd recommend checking out is the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. It will debut later in the year but promises an enjoyable drive and spacious, well-finished cabin to go along with its modest appetite for fuel.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid is a midsize sedan available in a single trim level. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, blind-spot mirrors, the MyKey system (limits top speed and audio volume), a keyless-entry security code pad, automatic headlamps, foglamps, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way driver and six-way passenger power seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eco-friendly cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a specialized gauge cluster, the Ford Sync electronics interface (includes voice commands, Bluetooth and iPod control) and a six-speaker sound system with CD/MP3 player, satellite radio and steering-wheel controls.
The Moon & Tune Value package adds a Sony 12-speaker stereo upgrade and a sunroof. The Driver's Vision package adds a rearview camera and a blind-spot warning system with cross-traffic alert. Optional leather upholstery is packaged with heated front seats. Also optional is a navigation system with voice activation, single-CD/DVD/MP3 player, 10GB of digital music storage and Sirius Travel Link, which includes real-time traffic, weather and other information.
Powertrains and Performance
The Ford Fusion Hybrid utilizes a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 156 hp and 136 lb-ft of torque. It is paired with an electric motor that helps bump power output up to 191 hp. Power is sent to the front wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The result is acceleration to 60 mph from a standstill in 8.7 seconds, which is reasonably quick for a hybrid.
Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 41 mpg city/36 mpg highway and 39 mpg combined. The city number is a full 10 mpg better than the Camry Hybrid, although 10 mpg shy of the Prius. As always, your mileage will vary greatly depending on driving conditions and how much lead lines your shoes.
The 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, MyKey and rear parking sensors. A blind-spot warning system and rearview camera are optional. At the Edmunds test track, the Fusion Hybrid stopped from 60 mph in 126 feet, which is a short distance for a hybrid car on low-rolling-resistance tires.
The Fusion Hybrid has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash testing procedure, but its 2010 rating (which isn't comparable to the new methodology) is a perfect five stars for frontal collision protection and front side protection. The Fusion Hybrid also earned four stars for rear side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested the otherwise similar standard Fusion, which earned its best rating of "Good" for frontal-offset and side-impact crash protection.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Fusion Hybrid's high-quality cabin features abundant soft-touch materials, and the overall look is austere but attractive. The center stack is a bit over-populated with buttons, but it's a significant ergonomic and aesthetic improvement over the previous Fusion. The Sync system works great, integrating audio and Bluetooth functions with voice-recognition technology to provide easy hands-free operation of cell phones and portable MP3 players.
The Fusion Hybrid gets a distinctive gauge cluster dubbed SmartGauge, featuring a pair of color display screens flanking a traditional speedometer. There's a wealth of information displayed and the graphics are pleasant and modern. There's even one that shows animated leaves and branches -- the more economically you drive, the fuller and greener your shrubbery becomes.
The Fusion has plenty of space for front and rear occupants and drivers will particularly appreciate the comfortable position behind the steering wheel. Interior storage space is adequate, although trunk capacity is compromised by the car's battery pack, which is typical of hybrid sedans. At only 11.8 cubic feet and with no folding rear seat, cargo capacity is still bigger than in the Camry and Altima hybrids, but much smaller than the hatchback Toyota Prius.
Other than the Altima Hybrid (which is only sold in 11 states) and the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, the 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid is the most engaging hybrid sedan to drive; it's a car, not just a transportation pod. There is ample steering feedback, and body control through corners is impressive. The ride is comfortable and quiet. The Fusion doesn't allow for the same sort of electric-only driving range as the Toyota hybrids, but its electric motor assists the gas engine for a longer period of time, which benefits fuel economy. Power from the hybrid system is certainly adequate, and in normal driving and passing situations most drivers should be quite satisfied.
Read our Ford Fusion Hybrid Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test