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Ford Fusion Hybrid Delivering > 43 mpg US in City Test Drives

11 December 2008

As part of its launch activities for the new Fusion and Fusion Hybrid (earlier post), Ford hosted a media drive mileage challenge for the hybrid this week in Los Angeles, inviting a number of media outlets to see who could deliver the best fuel economy results in a route from Beverly Hills to Hollywood.

Full drive reports will be published by the various outlets later this week, but initial reported results from the city cycle mileage challenge indicate fuel economy of better than 43 mpg US (less than 5.47 L/100km) for the Fusion Hybrid.

So far AutoblogGreen has reported 43.1 mpg; Car and Driver, 43.6 mpg; and Jalopnik, 43.8 mpg US.

Although the EPA fuel economy ratings are not in yet, Ford says that the Fusion Hybrid is capable of 39 mpg US in the city cycle. The Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford’s competitive target, carries an EPA city cycle fuel economy rating of 33 mpg US.

(A hat-tip to Tom!)

December 11, 2008 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (30) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

Good show for Ford's second hybrid application.

However, it is unfair to compare a Fusion 2010 hybrid with an older Camry 2008/09 hybrid.

A better comparision would be a Ford Fusion Hybrid 2010 against a Camry Hybrid 2010 (to come to the market in 3 to 6 months).

The 6 mpg advantage claimed by Ford may very well melt to less than 1 mpg or to zero.

The 2010 Nissan Altima hybrid may also match Ford's Fusion.

Will Honda do as much (or better) with its new 2010 mid-size Hybrid?

Since the first 3 hybrids are almost identical in technology (i.e. Toyota's), size, performance, fuel consumption and prize; the choice will have to be made on quality and other personnal preferences.

It is very interesting to see 40+ mpg mid-size cars on the market.

Should CAFE be updated soon?

I've never owned a Ford, but I think I will look at this one, next time I'm shopping.

You can always count on Harvey to withhold credit from an American effort. It must be something in the water he drinks.

Annon:

Our last four Big-3 vehicles went sour (like lemons) after very few years and low mileage.

That's why we switched to Toyotas and stayed with that brand (and a Nissan Maxima) for the last 15-20 years. My wife will not move away from Toyotas. She had very bad experiences with the last two Fords.

The Big-3 car I appreciated the most was a Buick Sabre. The worst was a huge Chrysler 400. The best all around car we used was a very solid reliable, decent size Nissan Maxima.

We want to buy at least one PHEV in 2010. It may be a Volt, Honda, Fusion and most probably a Camry or Prius if they are available. We don't mind paying an extra $3k or $4K for better quality.

I agree that this seems a credible effort from Ford and know that there some new hybrids coming to market that seem substantially under this benchmark.
I too would like to see hybrids generally achieving about 20% better than we do.
I don't think this is unrealistic when we consider the efficiency figures for some non hybrid efficiency engines already reaching the market.

That said no one ever starts out at the top and one must be realistic at the early stages of large changes.

Time may find a loyal following for these if they warrant.

.

OK, it gets the same city mileage as my 30 year old, diesel, VW Rabbit that cost me $2000. Lets try thinking about solutions!

.

It is a decent effort on Ford's part. Trick is, how many are they going to make? 500 a month? 600? What does that do for anyone?

Nate H.
Dover, Ohio

I think a city cycle mileage challenge is a great way to help promote public education and acceptance of the new, cleaner generation of cars. We should have more of these done around the country to help with public awareness.

This marketing concept is an all-around win-win-win for interested parties involved. For the media, it allows them to really write about what matters: the new technology and how they are actually performing as used in everyday life. For the manufacturers, it allows them an true and unbiased avenue to showcase and market their new products, while keeping them honest at the same time. And for the consumers, it allows us to see real performance comparison in real life driving cycles without all the marketing fluff and chatter.

For me, and I guess for a lot of people, it's hard enough to research and purchase a conventional car. With these new hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles becoming available, a challenge like this would definitely help.

Good point, Nate. Up until now there haven't been enough hybrid model choices, and most of the time availability has been poor. In a couple of years there will be more model choices, but will you be able to actually buy the new models?

Harvey, instead of updating CAFE, which does nothing to change purchasing decisions or driving behavior, we need to increase the gas tax. I'm hoping Obama will move in that direction. He recently said something to the effect that it's not a good idea right now, so he didn't rule it out for the future. He needs to save his political capital for other battles.

If congress forces Detroit to make high-mileage cars and then allows/encourages low fuel prices they'll kill the US auto industry for sure. With gas prices below $2/gal I'll be watching how truck & SUV sales trend vs hybrids.

"OK, it gets the same city mileage as my 30 year old, diesel, VW Rabbit that cost me $2000. Lets try thinking about solutions!"

As if mpg was the only issue. I have an idea for you to try. Park a 2010 Fusion Hybrid in a garage, start the car, and measure how long you can tolerate being in that garage. Next, try the same procedure with your Rabbit.

I am continually amazed by some of the comments on this site. How do you think that Rabbit does in a side impact crash test? Yeah, I'd say there have been a few improvements here and there!

“OK, it gets the same city mileage as my 30 year old, diesel, VW Rabbit that cost me $2000. Lets try thinking about solutions!”

How about a new VW TDI running on used French fry oil?

Harvey,

It's not 1980, 1995, or even 2000...the Big 2 are building very different cars now in quality terms, often besting many/most of your beloved imports. The cars that do not are mostly relics of the past, such as the Ranger, Cobalt, etc., that were not developed under the current quality programs.

To extrapolate your experience to millions of cars is short-sighted, as the quality of cars does not just depend on the company, but many other sub-factors which make particular plants often stand-outs in quality. Toyota has had brand new Tundras blow engines and axles, Prius' slide backwards down hills when the traction control and hybrid system couldn't cooperate, and Nissan perenially gets trumped by some or all of Detroit in quality ratings (which you clearly don't bother to look at), so you got lucky there I guess? (No disrespect to Nissan [/Renault], but their recent offerings' strong points lie elsewhere than quality, both measurably and noticeably)

I don't cut them any breaks, I personally believe Chrysler is dead, GM probably needs Chapter 11, and Ford will likely need a bailout too. I've built 3 (three) EVs myself - but its getting old. (I used domestic parts, and they were 100% reliable...does that change your perception of domestic cars? lol) Its great to know you'll blindly pay $3-4K for a quality gap that scarcely exists anymore in products which don't exist yet either. Many others will choose not to - and your pie-in-the-sky EV predictions will not materialize nearly as fast as you continually claim on the boards.

I would note that he is a different poster than the original Anon as well

I'm a different poster from Anon I meant.

joooooooooookes

We have a Ford and a Chrysler garage down the street and almost nobody even bothers to stop to look anymore. Discounts, up to $15K, don't seem to help enough.


The local Toyota and Honda garages are still doing OK. The Nissan Versa and Altima are selling well.

I'm not alone paying a bit more for better quality and reliability.

Look at the sale figures for the last 12 months.

Chevy's new Malibu and Ford's Fusion may be welcomed exceptions but they are not selling well around here.

Facts are difficlt to disclaim.

Well, I don't really differ from HarveyD's point of view. The Domestics Bailout Circus Act will cost them, frankly, more in sales than they would probably care to imagine. Even if their quality is "better" than it was.

I am guessing here, but I really do believe that possibly 50% of people who were "thinking" of buying Domestic have now turned to more stable auto companies with their money. Its not going to be a good 3-6 months for the Domestics.

There is no way GM and Chrysler will survive this nonsense without bankruptcy. That will make a very interesting March-July 2009.

Nate H.
Dover, Ohio

Jokes:

You are mixing-up initial quality and long-term reliability. Detroit made good effort to improve initial quality, coming close to Japanese and passing Europeans brands.

Long-term reliability is trade mark of Japanese cars, and Detroit has loooong way to go to prove to public that their cars can run without problems for 15 years and 250K miles, as Japanese cars usually do.

Good point Andrey, we will see how the vehicles from the Big 2 of the past 5 years or so with high initial quality fare in the long term. You mention long-term reliability of Japanese cars - specifically 15 years and 250K miles. Will first the first generation of automotive lithium ion battery packs last that long in any cars, domestic or import? I think that is way more of a question mark than these recent domestic offerings of high initial quality likely having relatively high long term quality as well.

When PHEVs are introduced, the battery will of course be the real question, as the hybrid designs are actually fairly mechanically robust such as the Hybrid Synergy Drive, the GM/Chrysler/BMW 2-mode system, Honda's, and almost any other parallel hybrid, and series hybrids too for that matter, since a traction motor and generator shouldn't be trouble-makers.

At this point you can see by the fact that hybrid sales overall ( which of course many would be quick to point out the Big 2.11 own little of) have dropped harder in fact than the sales of the Big 2.11 themselves. The law of receding horizons emerges in the recession unfortunately, as gas prices tumble.

As much as I like EVs, by my #s (vary by individual of course), the best value is probably not even a hybrid, just an ICE car with good highway MPG and a downsized engine, given my intensive spending on fuel would likely only be on road trips, not city driving. Shame price of gas wasn't higher - also a shame the effect that would (could?) have. A short range EV should make a nice cheap second car no matter what, though.

Interesting and notable because this is the highest mileage US car ever created

Finally, a big 3 car that's worth buying! It's good on gas, roomy, safe, has a good reliability history and will probably hold its value. Now if Ford would only crank 'em out in the 100K's. If the US government would underwrite 5% consumer loans on these cars, we'd be making progress all around.

Andrey:

I fully agree with you on reliability of Japanese cars. Our Toyotas (and the Nissan Maxima) are living proof but our previous Big-3 vehicles were the opposite.

Jokes:

The very high reliability of the Toyota Prius is an excellent demonstration that current batteries can last 10+ years and 350 000+ Km.

I have no doubt that well designed future advanced Lithium batteries (with appropriate battery management system) will also last that long, specially those used in Toyota's (delayed) PHEVs.

A Chevy Volt may also be interesting but will high all around reliability be there and will GM be around in 10+ years?

Sorry if I sound pro-Toyota but we have been disappointed too often with previous Big-3 units poor reliability.

Many claim that Big-3 2008/2009 models are much more reliable. It may may true but isn't it a bit early to conclude. Problems normally start after 60 000 miles.

Fusion and Malibu did not just come out in 2008/2009.

Excellent Ford. Finally Big-2 have learnt to make hybrids. All they have to do is apply this system in a smaller hatch / wagon to compete against Prius & Insight.

Fusion can easily thrash Camry and Altima if its priced affordably.

I hope GM also applied their 2-Mode hybrid in mid-size vehicles like Malibu, G6, etc.

Jooookes, can you provide links to your EVs?

To find out how the Fusion Hybrid will really perform, we need to match it up with others using a common benchmark, like the EPA City/Highway mileage standards. Having as many people try to drive it as gently as possible and then picking the top number doesn't really give us anything much to go on.

Why do people say they had a bad experience with one of the Detroit models 15-20 years ago, switched to a Toyota and wouldn't buy a domestic car, yet haven't even visited a domestic showroom since then? Get your head out of the sand, drive a new domestic, (For Hybrid Fusion in March 2009) and then make the comparison. There are some great domestic models but you have to look at them and drive them to compare. Remember Toyota does have a service department because their cars break too. With my Honda with 70,000 on it I replaced both rear wheel bearings ($600.00), an alternator ($500.00) and oil pump ($400.00). Import parts are expensive. So at least look at a new domestic before you make an armchair decision.
Jeff

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