OK, the Fusion Hybrid is only a year old, so what's the difference between buying a used one rather than new? A lot, actually. No matter how popular the car, you'll always be able to save some money buying used versus new. And since there are only minor differences between the 2010 and 2011 models, if you're lucky enough to find someone willing to part with their hybrid, snag it while you can.
There is a narrow window to make a really good deal here, because the rapidly changing face of Ford and its products is pushing the value of its used cars higher each year. Need proof? Although it still trails the Prius in terms of its ability to hold value, the Fusion Hybrid's five-year resale values now rival the Camry Hybrid and are not far from the smaller Honda Civic Hybrid.
Why you want it
The Fusion Hybrid embodies all the good qualities of the gasoline-powered Fusion and bolsters them with an eco-friendly drivetrain that makes it one of the most fuel-efficient sedans in its class. Offered only in four-door form, the Fusion Hybrid is sort of the anti-Prius, offering the security of a lockable trunk, along with styling and handling that display a more mainstream appeal. Outside of the fact that the engine shuts down every time the car comes to a stop, the driving experience behind the Hybrid's wheel is not far removed from that of its gasoline counterpart. Firm steering, good brakes, minimal body roll, plus a comfortable and quiet cabin are the hallmarks of the Fusion Hybrid, as is stellar fuel economy rated at 41 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The car also features Ford's latest technological innovations, like the über-cool LCD instrument cluster's animated vine that sprouts new leaves as you drive more efficiently, and the marvelous Sync entertainment and communications system that allows voice control of iPods and cell phones.
Notable features and options
There is only one trim level and it comes nicely equipped. Standard equipment includes dual-zone automatic air conditioning; keyless entry with external keypad; the Sync entertainment and communications system; power mirrors, door locks, windows and front seats; folding rear armrest with integrated cup holders; Ford's Reverse Sensing System rear park assist; a 110-volt outlet; Sirius satellite radio (requires subscription), and a premium sound system with six-disc, MP3-compatible CD player. Standard safety equipment includes four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes; AdvanceTrac electronic traction and stability control; plus front, front side and side curtain airbags. Optional equipment includes a power sunroof; the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS); a 390-watt Sony 5.1 Surround Sound audio system, and a hard drive-based voice-activated navigation system with Sirius Traffic and Travel Link features.
2010: The Fusion Hybrid is new for 2010.
2011: HD radio is added to the available navigation system, while blind spot mirror inserts are made standard on cars not equipped with the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS).
Engines and performance
The Fusion Hybrid employs a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine and a 93-kilowatt electric motor. So there are two power sources under the hood that can work individually or together, depending on speed and power demand. A highly efficient CVT (continuously variable transmission) sends power to the front wheels.
At highway speeds, the gasoline engine does most of the work, but around town, the electric motor powers the car; the gasoline engine assists when extra urge is required or when the nickel-metal hydride battery pack needs recharging. The batteries also recharge when the car is decelerating, a process known as regenerative braking. Unlike most hybrids, which only operate in pure electric mode up to 25 mph, the Fusion Hybrid can run solely on battery power at speeds up to 47 mph, which explains its inverse EPA fuel economy figures that have the city rating higher than the highway number.
As for its driving characteristics, the Fusion Hybrid behaves very much like a standard four-cylinder Fusion. The Hybrid's electric motor is almost all torque, which is easily felt as it kicks in to help with passing and rapid acceleration. Ford says the Fusion Hybrid can run from zero to 60 mph in less than nine seconds. It takes some time to get used to the near-silent operation of the electric motor and the way the system shuts down whenever the car comes to a complete stop, but other than that, we have found no downside to choosing the hybrid model over its gasoline sibling.
Recalls, safety ratings and warranties
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued the following recalls for the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid:
2010 models have a recall for cars with manual seat recliners that could cause the head restraint to move forward during an accident, risking injury to the occupant.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs have been carried out and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety-wise, the Fusion Hybrid receives high praise from both the NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The government gives the Fusion Hybrid five stars (its highest rating) in driver and front passenger frontal and side impact crash tests; rear seat occupant protection scores slightly lower with four stars. The IIHS gives the Fusion Hybrid a Good rating in its frontal offset, side impact and roof strength tests, earning it a Top Safety Pick rating.
The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid offers a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty for the hybrid components, which include the high-voltage battery, CVT, the DC/DC converter, high-voltage battery connector, fan assembly, thermistor temperature-sensing probe, hybrid battery pack sensor module (HBPSM), and the battery energy control module (BECM). Ford also offers a Certified Pre-Owned program which allows the purchase of extended warranty protection through your Ford dealer.
Word on the web
We looked into what Fusion Hybrid owners have to say by researching their comments on sites such as CarCompliants.com, FordFusionForum.com and ConsumerReports.com. Outside of a few posts regarding the fixed rear seat (it doesn't fold down, limiting cargo capacity) and the poor grip levels of the somewhat soft low-rolling resistance tires when driving aggressively, people seem generally satisfied. In its evaluation, Consumer Reports gives the Fusion Hybrid good to excellent marks in all categories, covering its charts with lots of little red circles and semi-circles (their best rating). Some of the funniest postings are from owners who have developed a sort of hybrid-induced pleasure when driving past a gas station in the process of raising its prices.
We really like this car, but if you need to carry large objects (or just enjoy the idea of being able to carry large objects), then the massive hatch and folding rear seat of the Toyota Prius must factor into your final decision. If cargo space is not a concern, however, then the Ford Fusion Hybrid's cool styling, amazing suite of technology, entertainment equipment and impressive fuel economy puts it at the top of our hybrid must-have list.
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Toyota Prius Hybrid
Nissan Altima Hybrid
Honda Civic Hybrid