2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Start Already! Oh...wait...
January 25, 2010
If I drove a hybrid everyday I'm sure I'd get used to the "starting" procedure. But because I only drive them occasionally, even when they are in our long-term fleet, I still find myself wondering why they won't "start." I'll actually turn the key and think something is wrong because the engine isn't running.
Our long-term 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid is a great example. If you watch this video you can see me turn the key and hear all the traditional bells and whistles most cars make when they are started. The gauges cluster lights up, as does the LCD screen in the center stack. But the engine doesn't actually start until about 31 seconds into the video after I'm backing down the driveway (if you turn up the volume and listen closely you can hear the 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine rumble to life).
Of course compared to our long-term Mini E, which never "starts," the Ford does still offer the familiarity of drivetrain NVH most of the time. But as more hybrids (and pure electric vehicles) are produced we'll all have to re-adjust our definitions and expectations of starting a vehicle.
I can't blame Ford, because they do their best to educate traditionalists like me. After turning the key a large message appears on the left side of the gauge cluster that makes it pretty clear the car is, indeed, ready to go -- despite the lack of engine activity.
Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 2,627 miles