Journalists crank out high MPGs from Ford's latest hybrid

Ever since the economy imploded a few months ago, it seems as though gas prices have been steadily declining as well. Whereas gas price were flirting with $4.00 a gallon during the summer here in North Carolina, gas is now as cheap as $1.47 a gallon in some areas.

Despite the lower gas prices which could possibly be here only temporarily, there is still a demand for fuel efficient cars. Last month, DailyTech told you about the upcoming 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid which will do battle with Toyota's Camry Hybrid.

The Ford Fusion Hybrid uses a modified 2.5-liter four cylinder engine in conjunction with a revamped hybrid-electric system. Although the hybrid system is based on the unit used in the Ford Escape Hybrid, this version has been tweaked for greater power output and fits into a more compact space.

These improvements to the drivetrain in addition to the ability to drive up to 47 MPH on battery power alone led Ford to proclaim that the Fusion Hybrid would achieve at least 38 MPG in the city -- 5 MPG better than the mid-size champ Toyota Camry Hybrid. Highway mileage is equally impressive at an estimated 37 MPG.

Although Ford expects the 38 MPG city rating to hold up once the official EPA numbers come down within the next few weeks, early testing by auto journalists shows that the Fusion Hybrid is already surpassing the 38 MPG figure. Gil Portalatin, Ford's Hybrid Applications Manager, was able to extract 46 MPG out of the Fusion Hybrid during a "mileage challenge" between Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Writers from Car and Driver and Autoblog were able to achieve 43.6 MPG and 43.1 MPG respectively for the city loop.

Although these are still early numbers from a pre-production model, the results are still impressive for a mid-size sedan. The Fusion Hybrid also gives Americans some hope that Detroit can build fuel efficient cars that are worthy of our dollars.

Ford's Fusion Hybrid will be priced from $27,270 -- Toyota's Camry Hybrid and Nissan's Altima Hybrid are priced from $26,150 and $25,480 respectively.

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