2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid Long Term Road Test - Audio & Technology

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid Long Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (2)
  • Comparison
  • Long-Term

Audio & Technology

Back to All Long-Term Vehicles

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Redesigned for 2013

January 18, 2012


Good news for green-minded buyers who have the hots for the Ford Fusion: The standard Fusion hybrid gets a redesign for 2013, and a plug-in hybrid will join the lineup.

In addition to snazzy new sheet metal that calls to mind something British and expensive (now where have we seen that grille before?), the Fusion hybrid gets a fresh powertrain that pairs a 2.0-liter, Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder with an electric motor powered by a new lithium-ion battery pack. The model is expected to get EPA numbers of 47 city and 44 highway mpg, placing it well ahead of the current model's 41 mpg city/36 mpg highway.

The plug-in hybrid will be called the Energi, and it's expected to deliver more than 100 MPGe. This figure places it ahead of the Chevy Volt, which is rated at 92 MPGe.

Any Fusion Hybrid shoppers out there? Are these changes enticing enough to make you want to hold out for the 2013 model?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Impressive Battery Durability

November 11, 2011


One of the most common questions I hear about hybrids concerns the batteries. Not the 12-volt one that starts the engine, but the large (and expensive) battery pack that does the heavy lifting for the hybrid system from behind the rear seat.

Our 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid has had no such problems, but that shouldn't be a surprise. Ford and other hybrid makers couldn't make any money or headway in the segment if they were constantly dealing with the bad PR and high warranty costs of replacing failed batteries.

But how reliable are they? What is the failure rate?

Ford has been producing hybrids with Nickel Metal-Hydrid (Ni-MH) battery packs since 2004, when the Ford Escape hybrid hit the streets. Each battery pack contains something like 220 or so individual cells made for Ford by Sanyo.

Between the Fusion hybrid and the Escape hybrid, about 190,000 Ford hybrids are in circulation, comprised of 43 million cells.

Five have failed.

Not five battery packs out of 190,000, five cells out of 43 million. And those failures were put down to a cell manufacturing issue since corrected, not an in-use drop in performance.

Those are damn good odds.

As for the electric motors, Ford reports that there have been zero failures among the 190,000 Ford hybrids in operation.

It would seem the only thing a hybrid owner need worry about is the usual stuff: changing the oil, looking after the tires, not leaving a light on so the regular 12-volt battery goes dead.

In fact we had a 12-volt battery failure in our Fusion hybrid about a year ago, but after that was corrected in the usual way the main hybrid battery pack turned out to be just fine, and continues to be to this day.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: The Long Time Ago Center Stack

October 26, 2011

Ford Fusion Hybrid center stack 1.jpg

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away, there was no MyFord Touch. Instead, there was a relic of a center stack like that on our long-term 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Ugly? Perhaps. It was low-tech and decidedly without style. But it was simple and it worked.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 16,350 miles

Bonus: Stormtrooper pic on the jump!

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Hybrid vs. Bi-fuel

April 28, 2011


Bi-fuel vehicles that run on both CNG and gas are big in Italy and other parts of Europe, as well as in emerging markets like Brazil, India and Argentina. These vehicles allow you to toggle between both types of fuel when you're at the pump. You can take advantage of CNG's clean-burning nature when it's convenient, but if you're not near a CNG filling station and need to fuel up, you won't be left stranded -- your car will rise to the occasion by throwing back some good old-fashioned gasoline.

I had an exchange recently with someone who was wondering why these bi-fuel vehicles aren't available here on the retail market -- he'd just gotten back from time spent in Brazil, where bi-fuel cars, trucks, wagons, vans and buses are a common sight. His feeling is that bi-fuel vehicles make a lot more sense than hybrids.

CNG never caught on here -- factors like lack of consumer interest, lack of government support and lack of adequate fuel-station infrastructure all played a part in that. But it seems like bi-fuel capability adds some measure of convenience and makes the whole undertaking a more reasonable proposition.

What are your thoughts as to why gas/CNG bi-fuel vehicles haven't taken off here? Do you think they make more or less sense than hybrids like our Fusion?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Valet Mode

January 18, 2011

ford fusion hybrid valet mode.jpg

Our Fusion Hybrid has a Valet Mode that allows you to limit functionality on the navigation system when handing the car over to a valet. When in Valet Mode, you need to enter a PIN code to get full use of the nav system. The thinking behind this is that since you've likely got a lot of personal destinations saved in your nav, this feature can keep your home address, for example, private.

Now if only they could come up with a feature that prevents valet-induced dents and dings.

Do any of you have a car with Valet Mode? Do you remember to use it when handing over the keys?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 11,198 miles

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: MyKey

December 30, 2010


With amenities like rear parking sensors, Sync and dual-zone climate control, our 2010 Fusion Hybrid is pretty nicely equipped when it comes to standard features. But one amenity that's not on this list is MyKey, a safety feature that's standard on the 2011 Fusion Hybrid and other Ford models.

Aimed at parents of teen drivers, MyKey offers technology designed to encourage safer teen driving. Parents can limit a car's top speed (to 80 mph) and audio volume, and they can also choose a setting that mutes stereo volume until front-seat passengers have buckled their seatbelts.

Ford just announced that an enhanced version of MySpeed will be available in certain models. This version offers four top-speed settings (80, 75, 70 and 65 mph) and allows parents to block explicit satellite radio stations.

Hmm. What are your thoughts on this type of technology? Do you think it helps teens become safer drivers?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Hybrid Tech in Non-Hybrids

December 27, 2010


This morning Ford announced that it's going to implement its Auto Start-Stop technology -- which is currently used in the Ford Fusion Hybrid as well as the Escape Hybrid -- in its non-hybrid cars, crossovers and SUVs sold in North America starting 2012.

With the auto-stall technology, when the car is at a stop, instead of idling, the gas engine is shut off. Apparently it won't change the way you drive but it improves the fuel economy by 4 percent.

What do you think: Good idea or bad?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Rare Regenerative Braking

December 06, 2010

Ford Fusion Hybrid Regen Display.jpg

I really like our Long-Term 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, mostly because it retains the regular Fusion's FTD factor while getting impressive fuel mileage. I am, however, surprised at the lack of regenerative braking that occurs when driving it (the symbol for which is shown above).

Basically, if you are on the brakes you get regenerative braking like any other hybrid. Yet unlike just about any other hybrid I've driven, the Fusion Hybrid doesn't activate regerative braking/charging when the car is coasting. This is basically the opposite of the Mini E, (or the Nissan Leaf, if you drive it in "Eco" mode), where every throttle lift is accompanied by noticeable regenerative braking forces. Yeah, those are pure electric vehicles, but the Prius and Volt also engage regenerative braking while coasting.

I'm going to defer to the experts in Ford's engineering department. Maybe their calculations show that the loss of forward momentum from regenerative braking (when coasting) more than negates the increase in stored battery energy (except when the driver is intentionally slowing down by applying the brakes).

But that thinking does seem in conflict with most hybrids, which will absolutely engage charging mode when I cost down a long hill.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor at Large

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Keeping Me Toasty and Happy

December 01, 2010


I love our 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid's cabin and heater. So warm and cozy that I just don't want to leave. You see, this past week has been unbearably chilly. OK, the low '60s may be nothing to those suffering in colder climes but for someone like me who owns only one top and bottom set of silk long johns which are only broken out for going to Mammoth or Sacramento, it's fuh-reezing! Add to the fact that my 1930s apartment doesn't have weatherstripping around its doors and windows and I am not a happy camper.

So I was thrilled when the Fusion Hybrid was my car for several days. Score! Seat heaters! Plus, check out how easy that climate control system is to figure out. Yes, I crank up the heat to 81, in addition to having the seat heater on the highest setting. I'm of a tropical people.

And if you don't want to deal with navigating the touchscreen to turn up the heat, there are accessible and easy-to-figure-out buttons below the audio controls.

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Less App, More Machine

November 17, 2010

Fusion motion.jpg

If the Devil's in the details, then our Fusion Hybrid is a doomed eco-demon. Other automakers have incorporated similar touches, but the Fusion pulls them all together into a single "of course" moment.

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Barrelin' Down the Boulevard

November 17, 2010


One hip feature of Ford's SYNC is its ability to display album artwork. Now, most folks will greet this feature with indifference or mild amusement, but music nerds (guilty as charged) will love it. Art and images are stored in an internal database created by Gracenote, a subsidiary of Sony, makers of the branded audio system in the Fusion. Small world, yes?

Once you've stored music in the Fusion's "jukebox" application, you can access it via an onscreen 3-D browsing carousel similar to the Cover Flow function in iTunes, and tap the screen to select. Gracenote's voice recognition ability also allows you to call up artists by name or even nickname.

Here the system pulled metadata and art for this classic Tom Waits album within seconds of inserting the disc. And though Waits tends to favor GM cars in his lyrics - Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles appear frequently, and an early ode to a Buick Roadmaster ("Ol' 55") made a hit for the Eagles - he might dig the Fusion Hybrid. Could probably compose a piece around the bump and chatter of the regenerative braking system, or look for the heart of Saturday night with the SYNC nav system.

But even the raspy bard of the Sunset Strip might struggle to turn a poignant phrase about some batteries and a four-cylinder on the Atkinson cycle.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: iPod Fail

November 15, 2010

OG iPod SYNC fail.jpg

Turns out SYNC won't play nice with my 2004 vintage click-wheel iPod, at least not using a standard Apple USB/iPod cable. But for $50, I can get one of these cables that apparently allows older Pods that communicate via serial pin to interface with Sync. The product description suggests it actually establishes a data connection, but I'm curious to know if it's not simply audio carried through the Aux cable and power delivered via USB.

That is, can you still control your library through the Sync touchscreen interface?

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Give Me Back the Spectrum

November 12, 2010


Bass. Treble. What is this, 1968? Sitting around with my RCA Victor hi-fi, spinning the Animals in quadraphonic? Come on Ford, this is 2010. Can I at least get a midrange fader?

This configuration isn't limited to the Fusion Hybrid by any means. But it drives me bananas just the same, especially when the system touts its Sony design DNA (via monitor display) on power-up. Automakers could pack a 16-band graphic EQ in the virtual space at minimal cost if they wanted. No knobs or sliders occupying real estate on the faceplate. Just a simple sub-menu screen with touchscreen faders.

Is a 5-band equalizer too much to ask? Bass and treble works, but it's like bringing home a tomato and garlic clove and asking for marinara.

I asked Doug Newcomb, our Senior Editor of Technology, about this. He speculated that most automakers just simply don't want people monkeying with factory audio calibrations. Most OEM audio engineers tune a system for a certain benign sound, looking more for consistency than individuality, he said.

For 90 percent of car owners, that's probably enough. And dealers don't really want customers coming back to them lost in a sea of 250 Hz midrange and fuzz, unable to hear Celine's vocals clearly.

The other 10 percent of us want the spectrum back.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: How Full Is Our Bush?

November 05, 2010

ford fusion bush 2.jpg

Pretty full.

But I was surprised at how quickly it grows and wilts in a short period of time. The Fusion's bush isn't a long-term representation like our Honda Insight's Nintendo forest. It's highly dependent on how you're driving right now. You'll note that our bush was fuller with a lower fuel economy number (above) than it was the night before with a better fuel economy number (after the jump). I guess I was driving more economically when I pulled into work this morning than when I pulled into my garage last night. At the same time ...

Ah, who gives a crap. A bush in the gauges? Really? What's next, a bush glued to the dash?

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 9,678 miles
(Yes, the Fusion is back. STRANDED! update coming later)

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Touchscreen Schmoo

September 09, 2010


Yeah, touchscreens are intuitive, but they're also kinda icky--especially if you're sharing said car with people other than family. Just sayin'.

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 6,789 miles

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: It Hates Me

June 29, 2010


I admit I have a black thumb. I can't grow anything. I try and try but nothing will grow for me. Lemon trees commit suicide. Oregano chooses herbicide.

Last summer I watered fake plants for about three months before I realized they were fake. That was the longest I ever kept anything alive. Or so I thought.

Into my life comes the Ford Fusion Hybrid. See this previous post.

I mean, come on. I'm down to the stems?

Is 31.8 mpg really that bad? I'm insulted.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Cabin Feels Upscale

June 05, 2010


Here's the deal: I don't like the exterior styling of 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. It's not personal. I've never liked the look of the Fusion, before or after the refresh. It's way overdone. But I forget all about that once I'm inside the car.

Partly, this is due to how the Fusion Hybrid drives: It feels like a real car, rather than a hybrid-badged simulation of a real car.

But I also really like the interior of the Fusion. It's spacious, of course, given the car's longish wheelbase (107.4 inches) and relatively wide track (61+ inches), but the execution on the design also deserves major points. There's an upscale feel in here that reminds me a bit of the Volkswagen CC. The black chairs with contrasting white stitching don't just look good, they feel good. And apart from the clackety, low-buck shifter, all vinyls and plastics in this car are up to par and nicely finished.

Oh, if I had it my way, I would have insisted that the Ford interior designers cleanup the excessive use of small buttons on the steering wheel and center stack. But apart from that, the cabin feels quite contemporary -- from the large, colorful, high-resolution navigation screen to the slick TFT displays in the gauge pack.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 5,500 miles

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Nav With Voice Command

June 01, 2010

Let's see if it's easier to set a destination using voice commands.

Personally, I'd rather use it the old-fashioned way. It seems to be as many steps. But it does save you from typing in the street name. As long as it understands you when you speak, it is faster.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Setting a Destination

May 31, 2010

Let's see how easy it is to set a destination in the Ford Fusion Hybrid's navigation.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Screens Galore

April 21, 2010

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid greet screen.jpg

Who would have thought that getting a hybrid would also bring so much entertainment? Bordering on too-much-info, our 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid features a kaleidoscope of data to help you keep a running tab on the multi-faceted drivetrain. Until the new MyFord Touch setup arrives on the 2011 Ford Edge, our Ford Fusion Hybrid's colorful and functional displays represent the current state of the art.

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Leaves Are Fading

April 19, 2010


I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Well, my Dad would say I'm a lead foot. But I'm really not.

I noticed whenever I drive the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, at the end of my trip I see the display leaves and stems disappear one by one. It's like I'm some kind of plant killer. I'm driving around with a weed wacker attached to my tires.

When I drive the Honda Insight hybrid, I get the green glow on the speedometer a lot. It's not like I'm speeding around in the blue. So, I want it on record that I am not a hybrid abuser.

Fusion, what does it take to please thee?

The leaves, they are fading:

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Ready Telltale (x 2)

February 04, 2010

Ford Fusion Hybrid Ready telltale.jpg

After starting up our long-term 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid yesterday, I noticed something:

What's that green telltale in the lower right corner of the meter cluster? It lit up after I keyed the ingnition on.

At first I thought it showed that the car is being powered in pure electric mode. But then the internal combustion engine (ICE) kicked in and that telltale stayed lit. So that's not it.

Hmmmm. It kind of looks like an Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) headway icon. You know, to control the interval to the preceding vehicle. But our test car doesn't have ACC. But I stabbed at the Cruise master On/Off switch on the steering wheel anyway to power it off. Again that green telltale stayed lit.

OK, enough semi-educated guessing. Time to RTFM.

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Video Dash Demo

February 02, 2010


You asked for it, you got it. This demo of the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid's TFT video instrument panel was all the more easy to make because the system actually has a built-in Demo mode.

I'm making menu selections via two steering-mounted buttons to get the demo started. At the end, I use them again to replace the dreaded economy leaves with a bar graph that's more to my liking.

The demo cycles through four available gauge layouts known as, in increasing level of detail, Inform, Enlighten, Engage, and Empower. Yeah, I know. And I bet there are folks over at Ford that muttered "If only!" when they were told they couldn't spell Inform with an "E".

Be that as it may, this is most definitely the way dashboards will go in the future. There are simply too many interesting possibilities. And I can see all sorts of personalization possibilities if something like this is opened up to developers. Think Google Desktop customization. What would you put on your instrument panel?

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 2,910 miles

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Retro Future Combination

February 01, 2010


I heard a song on the Broadway radio station this morning that was written in the 1960s. The lyrics were about what summed up each decade of the Twentieth Century. The 1920s roared, the 1930s screamed, the 1940s were all about war, etc. Then it speculated what the 1990s would be like. They sang about having robots to pick the cotton. Huh?

There was a time when this photo would have looked so modern. Wow, a push-button code to unlock my car. But now this seems so retro, in a Disney Tomorrowland kind of way.

Our Fusion Hybrid is not keyless, so even if you use this combination lock, you still need the key. So why not just push the button on the key fob to unlock the door? The only benefit I can see to this feature is if you lock your keys in your car. You can punch in the number and voila, you're saved.

Have any of you owned a car with the number combination on the door? And if so, did you use it regularly?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 2,830 miles

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Rave Reviews

January 29, 2010


At the end of my evening commute, the Ford Fusion Hybrid gave me a review of my trip.

I traveled 20.3 miles averaging 40.7 mpg. That beats our team average of 33.5 mpg.

Cue applause.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Reverse Camera

January 27, 2010

Ford Fusion Hybrid Reverse Camera.JPG

Among the many technical goodies stuffed into our long-term 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid is a reverse camera to aid parking maneuvers. It's not uncommon for these reverse cameras to deliver a low quality, distorted view, though the car makers have been getting better at calibrating them in recent years.

The Ford Fusion Hybrid's camera is quite good. It includes the line graphics to help you judge distance and angle, and it provides both a wide angle view around the edges but a distortion-free view in the central part of the image.

How wide is the angle along the edges? Wide enough to clearly read our "Edmunds.com" license plate.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 2,748 miles

See full article and comment.

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 ...

See full article and comment.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Jammed Parking Lot Tango

January 11, 2010

ford fusion CTA.jpg

Our new Fusion Hybrid is loaded with technology to make driving safer. (Photo by Andrew Reed)

I headed for the most crowded parking lot I could find in the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid to test the Cross Traffic Assist (CTA) feature. As you back out of a tight parking space you get a beep and a message on the dashboard saying that a car is coming from the right or the left. The system uses radar devices in the rear bumper that scan for vehicles coming at a right angle to your car.

The warning buzzer is rather loud and at one point there was so much parking lot traffic that it went off repeatedly. Still, an annoying buzzer is a lot better than a crumpled fender so I'd have to say that this is a great feature. The alternative is just to inch out until you can visually scan the area. By then you might be getting a different kind of warning buzzer -- another driver's horn.

Our new Fusion also has a blind spot warning system which is greatly appreciated on the jammed freeway I take to work. If a car is in your blind spot a yellow dot appears on the side mirror. It's a good way to double check that all is clear.

The Fusion is a pleasure to drive, very quiet and roomy with a useable trunk (though not deep). It's going to be a great addition to the fleet and a real contender in the category of hybrid mid-sized sedans.

Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 2,014 miles

See full article and comment.

Leave a Comment

Past Long-Term Road Tests