Ford’s Fusion will compete against the Chevy Malibu, Saturn Aura, and Toyota Camry in the hybrid department. Unlike its rivals, the Fusion comes with all-wheel drive and a smaller but more potent nickel-metal-hydride battery pack, which can boost efficiency up to 47 mpg. The sportier, more upscale look also features a raised hood, larger fog lamps, and soothing ice-blue background lighting on the instrument panel.
This is flat out “the best gasoline-electric hybrid yet.” Its closest competitor is the $107,000 Lexus LS 600h. Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, automatic on-off headlights, auto-dimming mirror, backup alarm, six-CD stereo, traction control, seating for five, and a continuously variable transmission.
With an EPA city/highway rating of 39/37 mpg, the Fusion beats Toyota’s Camry Hybrid “by a whopping 6 mpg.” This brilliant, user-friendly charmer also comes with a dashboard display of “Efficiency Leaves.” Drive frugally and the leaves grow. Make jack-rabbit starts, drive too fast, or brake too late and the leaves start dropping “like a Vermont sugar maple in October.”