The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid has gotten lots of attention recently for going 1,445 miles on a single tank of gas—that's 81.5 mpg—in a hypermiling stunt. But how does the Fusion perform in the merely caffeinated world of normal driving? I decided to test the car's mileage myself.
Last week, I took to the clogged streets of Los Angeles to find out how well the Fusion holds up. Ford claims that the $28,000 car gets 41 mpg in town, 36 mpg on the highway, and 39 in combined driving. I drove a 10-mile route of hills, highways, and stoplight-littered roads, all the while doing my best to preserve fuel efficiency with smooth driving.
Fuel efficiency is made relatively easy with the Fusion's LCD EcoGauge dashboard, which displays the average mpg and tells you whether the car is running as a hybrid or on pure battery power. A plant animation on the dashboard grows leaves when fuel efficiency is up, and becomes barren when a leadfoot hits the pedal. It's a slight distraction, but allows the driver to gauge fuel efficiency with a quick glance down at the dashboard. If it's too distracting, you can just shut it off.
The car was both quiet and smooth during the test drive, with no vibrations when the gasoline engine came onboard to give the Fusion a boost. That's something few other hybrids can claim. In the end, my average fuel efficiency came out to 33 mpg—not up to Ford's predictions, but not terrible, either. One test-driving journalist in my group reached 43 mpg, proving that Ford's claims can be beat by non-professional drivers. And while most drivers aren't ever going to reach 81 mpg, the Fusion is fuel-efficient enough for the price to make it a worthwhile purchase.