Ford Fusion Hybrid: Editors' Choice

Let's get this out of the way: we love the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. We like it so much, that we slapped our Editors' Choice award on it.

This should come as no surprise, as the Fusion is mechanically identical to our previous Editors' Choice winner, the 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid.

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2.5-liter gas/electric hybrid engine

Under the hood, rests the Fusion's 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle gas engine, mated via a planetary gear set to an electric engine. The Fusion is able to run under gasoline power, full electric power, or any combination thereof.

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eContinuously variable transmission

Putting power to the front wheels is a continuously variable transmission or eCVT (the "e" is for "electric").

The Fusion's power train is a no-frills system without paddle shifters or sports modes like the Honda Insight, or multiple hybrid power train modes like Toyota's hybrids. Just put it in Drive and go.

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Up to 47 emission-free mph

Ford claims that its electric component allows the Fusion Hybrid to operate on all-electric motivation up to 47 mph. After making more than a few city trips without ever igniting the gasoline engine, we're inclined to believe this.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh P. Miller/CNET

Ample spacing for four

Before it was a hybrid, the Fusion was a rather comfortable sedan. Its rear seats have a good deal of legroom for two adults or three children.

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You shall not pass!

Because of the electronics housed in the rear bulkhead, the Fusion hybrid must use fixed rear seats. As a result, it loses its trunk pass-through.

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As part of a Driver Vision package, our Fusion was equipped with BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) which uses two radar modules to detect moving objects in vehicle's blind spot (extending 10 feet behind the vehicle).

If the system detects an obstruction in the blind spot, an LED is illuminated in the appropriate sideview mirror.

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Cross traffic alert

The same radar array is used to power the rear proximity sensor, which detects obstructions behind the vehicle when reversing and sounds an audible alert as the distance closes, and the cross traffic alert, which scans the road to the left and right of the vehicle when reversing out of a parking spot to alert the driver to oncoming vehicles.

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High quality cabin

Our Fusion was equipped with an optional leather-trimmed interior with heated seating surfaces. The interior is quite handsome and high quality, although some prospective buyers may take issue with the faux-metal pieces on the center stack.

Like many Fords in this generation, color-selectable mood lighting for the footwells and cupholders is a bit boy racer-esque, but still a nice touch.

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Steering wheel controls

The steering wheel features controls for the SmartGauge instrument cluster, cruise controls, and audio system. However, the button you'll be getting the most mileage out of is the Sync voice command button.

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SmartGauge cluster

Sitting just behind the steering wheel is the SmartGauge instrument cluster. This configurable pair of LCD displays flanking a physical speedometer displays as much information as the driver needs to operate the vehicle efficiently or very little information to remain distraction free.

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Premium Sony-branded stereo

Our Fusion is equipped with an optional Sony Premium Audio System. The system features 12 speakers (including two subwoofers) with 390 total watts of amplification, Dolby 5.1 Surround, and Sony DSP processing. Available sources include an MP3-capable six-disc in-dash CD changer, Sirius Satellite Radio, USB digital and analog auxiliary audio input, and AM/FM radio with RDS.

When equipped with navigation, the unit loses its multiple-disc changer and gains a hard drive with 10GB of storage space for ripped audio.

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Standard USB/aux-inputs

Ford Sync by Microsoft is standard on the Fusion Hybrid; it comes standard with a center console-mounted USB input with iPod compatibility, as well as an analog auxiliary input. The USB input can also be used to upgrade the Sync system with new features as Ford/Microsoft makes them available.

Next to the audio inputs is the 12-volt power supply and on the back of the center console is a 110-volt three-prong plug.

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Backup camera option

Hidden in the rearview mirror is the tiny monitor for the backup camera (also part of the Driver Vision package). This display features distance indicators, but no trajectory lines. When you're not reversing, the display disappears behind the reflective mirror.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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