Ford's refresh of its Fusion midsize sedan includes a more rounded front end and more prominent three-bar grille. But the biggest update is the inclusion of a hybrid version, using a power train similar to that found in the Ford Escape Hybrid.
This hybrid power train uses a 2.5-liter four cylinder gas engine coupled to an electric motor and battery pack. The batteries are charged from the engine and regenerative braking. Ford adjusted the variable cam timing to allow twice the amount of electric-only operation from the previous generation Ford Escape Hybrid.
The hybrid system has also been tuned to allow speeds of up to 47 mph during electric-only operation, about 10 mph more than the Ford Escape Hybrid. The nickel metal hydride battery pack is 30 percent smaller, yet its cells hold 20 percent more power. The car is estimated to get 38 mpg in city driving.
The Fusion Hybrid comes with a user-configurable LCD instrument cluster, called SmartGauge, providing a variety of gauges to monitor power train operation and economy. Some of the available virtual gauges encourage economical driving, such as giving a visual reward for soft starts.
Ford is also making its impressive navigation system with Sirius Travel Link and Sync available in the Fusion Hybrid. Sirius Travel Link gives drivers information about fuel prices near their location, traffic accidents, and weather conditions. Sync provides MP3 player and Bluetooth cell phone integration.
The Milan is the Mercury version of the Fusion, with a slightly nicer interior. It gets the same update treatment, including the addition of a hybrid model featuring the same power train as in the Fusion.