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Ford lives up to the hype with the Fusion Hybrid

DailyTech has talked about the Ford Fusion Hybrid on two previous occasions. With each article, the car has grown even more impressive.

When DailyTech first visited the Fusion Hybrid, Ford boldly predicted that the vehicle would top the Toyota Camry Hybrid in the city by 5 MPG. A month later, we reported that auto journalists were able to extract 43 MPG from the Fusion Hybrid in city testing while a Ford engineer managed an even more impressive 46 MPG.

For once, it appears that an auto manufacturer is actually living up to the hype. The EPA has officially released mileage figures for the Fusion Hybrid and the vehicle does better than even Ford's initial projections of 38 MPG. In fact, the vehicle is rated at 41 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway -- 8 MPG and 2 MPG better respectively than the Camry Hybrid.

The Fusion Hybrid is able to achieve high ratings in the city thanks to its fuel efficient 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, CVT transmission, second generation hybrid system, and a lighter and more powerful battery pack.

"It's not just one thing, but thousands... We've optimized the heck out of that vehicle, it's individual components," said Fusion Hybrid program leader Praveen Cherian.

Ford's Fusion Hybrid can travel up to 47 MPH on battery power alone and will start at $27,270.



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RE: Nice
By whirabomber on 12/24/2008 8:27:58 AM , Rating: 1
On average don't Japanese cars come with longer manufacturer warranties (5 years vs 3 for American cars)? If so, I can see why the extended warranties would be cheaper for Japanese cars. I had one on my Dodge Ram 2500 that was written in a way that the extended warranty took over after 3 years despite the Ram at that time having a 70k power train warranty.

My assumption was that if I had been able to keep (lost job, got a lower paying one, gas prices jumped $0.75/gal) past the initial 3 years that if anything went wrong engine/transmission wise the extended warranty company would just say that is covered under the 70k power train warranty and have the dealer fix it. So essentially with the longer Japanese warranties and funny extended warranty "coverage" wording, I can see how Japanese cars cause less of a loss for such companies.

I never had an American car I didn't like. I had 2 Japanese cars I didn't: 2k1 Honda Civic which had a factory bug that wasn't going to be fixed - the gas gauge would randomly peg past empty and past full, and a rear window that kept fogging up and required acid washing to remove via a reluctant dealer. The second car was a 90's Nissan Sentra that belonged to my ex. She got what she paid for - tin foil thin body panels, an engine a tad larger than my dad's riding lawn mower (I had to turn the AC off to make speed on exit ramps), and tires that claimed a 60k life but had to be replaced at 25k because they wouldn't stick in the rain (slid sideways down an exit ramp when I hit it going an exceptionally fast 15mph and it was just a spring misting).

Of course Japanese cars aren't without their defects and when chronic defects emerge the press gets oddly quiet. For instance the not overly publicized issues with the 2003 Lexus RX330 AWD (not 100% on the year and model) electrical systems requiring several factory recalls, my 2k1 Civic EX "Honda known issue" fuel gauge issue, etc. The media is pretty quite when the Japanese car companies screw up.

The media and myself are at odds when it comes to Japanese cars anyways. Every Japanese car I've looked at have boxy boring sterile interiors that lacked any character that are made of materials that reminded me of cheap plastic silverware. Even the "high end" cars like Lexus (woo cheesy wood grain like materials add to the crappy Toyota interiors). The American cars have warm cozy interiors (96 Sunfire's reminded me of a luxury jet fighter interior, 2003 Cougar's was a work of art, and my current ride PT has just enough throw-back design to keep me from getting bored). I guess I just like interesting interiors so that I can enjoy the ride as opposed to the super linear import design (my EX had more straight interior lines than a stack of cardboard boxes).

Exterior-wise my views are pretty much the same - all Japanese cars look exactly the same. A 4 Japanese compact looks just like any other 4 door Japanese compact. I don't know how people choose which one to get. My estimate is they just buy from the dealer that has the color they want in stock (Toyota has the shade of blue I want so I'll just buy a Toyota).

If I were to commit a crime, I would get a Japanese car to do it. All I would need to do is shave off all the tags, paint it black, and no one could give the police an accurate make or model of the get-away car.

American cars I could not get away in. A Chevy looks like a Chevy. A ford looks like a ford. A Chrysler looks like a Chrysler. I couldn't blend in with as well. Each manufacturer and car has enough character to be identified (mostly as the Edge looks like a Lexus SUV clone) as an American car of a specific model. A charger looks like a charger and not like a Taurus or Impala.

I'll keep my American fanboy tag and wear it proud.


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