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2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid Road Test Review

2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid Road Test Review

by Martha Hindes

2012 Green Car Buyer's Guide - Top 10 Picks

Chevrolet Cruze Eco

Infiniti M35h

Chevrolet Volt

Toyota Camry Hybrid

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2012 Green Car Home

Wishing never gets you anywhere, right? You'd really like to drive a hybrid car and breeze past those filling stations that rule the road when you're nearing empty. But you don't want to give up that kick-back reaction when you feel like tromping the accelerator. Or sufficient stretch room for five to relax and play with sophisticated, on-board electronics. And it would be really neat to drive all the way to work without making a sound. Not possible? Maybe you haven't met the 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid.

The midsize gasoline/electric-powered, front-drive sedan from Ford isn't a newbie, by the way. It's been around since 2009 and now resides as a second generation pro, with tweaks here and tucks there for 2012 to give it more polish and panache. This isn't your mother's reject that's grown long-in-the-tooth after years of looking rather oddly off-beat as it ambles through a planet-tending restriction on fun. It's an honest-to-goodness handsome sedan that should look fitting in any executive parking spot.

Ask Ford why, and officials might grow smug explaining that not only does Fusion fulfill such a wish list, but it's about as earth-friendly as one can get for a hybrid. They'll also likely share the tidbit that it's been kicking the backside of anointed Asian competition in the process, especially in import haven California.  And consider that when they claim their advanced battery technology means an 8.5-million-to-1 chance something would go wrong and can prove it, that's got to be confidence.

For 2012, the Fusion Hybrid goes on a smidgen of a diet, losing a few pounds with a shift from the former nickel-metal-hydride to more advanced lithion-ion battery -- the guts of the technology that lets it all happen. Any dieter knows the result: Less weight to tote around equals more energy.

Combining a 2.5-liter four-cylinder (regular fuel) gas engine with an electric motor pumps out a respectable 191 horsepower to draw upon as combined or two separate power sources for that extra kick when cornering or blasting off from an imagined pit stop. The electric/gas combo means there's no plug-in recharge cable. Instead, slowing or stopping regularly sends regenerative energy back to the battery. City driving can yield speeds as high as 47 MPH on electricity alone and EPA estimates put mileage at 41 city/36 highway/39 combined. The Fusion's gauges will coach one to hypermile when being properly earth conscious.

A few downsides relate to other hybrids. Trunk space is good, but not great since it shares space with the battery. Like other advanced electric/gas vehicles it comes with a cost that can mandate a calculator to determine if fuel-savings payoff is worth it, especially since federal tax credits no longer apply. Figure on spending $29,395 for starters. While Ford's SYNC is standard, you can add navi and other good stuff for a few thou more.

But for those late night forays you don't want your nosy neighbors to know about... Consider that the Focus Hybrid can sneak home at 3 a.m. and snuggle into its parking spot without making a sound to wake them up. How cool is that.

For more info on the Ford Fusion Hybrid, click here.