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Fusion & Prius Hybrid Vehicle Road Test

May 2, 2009 Hybrid Cars No Comments

Back-to Back Road Tests

hybrid-logos-combinedToday, I did a back-to-back road test with the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and the 2009 Toyota Prius.  In conclusion the Prius gets better gas mileage but the Fusion wins the Tribune vote for the car to drive.

Specific Technical Points

Both cars have electric air conditioning that keeps you cool, whether-or-not the engine is running, but the Fusion system performed better.  When driving, Fusion engine cut-in and cut-out are substantially smoother.  Fusion electro-hydraulic brakes are the finest that I have ever driven! 

Fusion electric power steering provided good roadway feedback and had good ressistance in general driving.  Add a modern interior and good mid-size dimensions and the package is very well thought out.

Escape Based Hybrid

fusion-frontFusion hybrid technology was initially developed for the Escape SUV and introduced to the market in 2004.  This system reportedly took five years for 100 engineers to successfully complete the hybrid powertrain.  These years of experience has helped to refine and improve reliability for the hybrid system in the Fusion. 

4WD Hybrid Fusion Possibility

Having installed the hybrid system initially in the Escape SUV and in a 4 Wheel Drive (4WD) platform provided Ford a great opportunity to observe product abuse that would be somewhat unlikely for a passenger car.  This 4WD experience might even result in a 4WD Fusion Hybrid in the future and 4WD is definitely a feature that appeals to a segment of the automobile buying market.

Fusion Recommendations

fusion-interior

Recommendations to improve the Fusion would include HID or LED headlamps as an option.  Customers who buy technology laden cars expect HID or LED headlamps as an available option. 

My road test assistant reported that the passenger seat was hard and not as comfortable as expected.  The rear seat has good headroom for a 6′ tall passenger.  I’m not too sure that the rear seat would be confortable for any extended period of time, however.

Prius Road Test

prius-side-viewPrius has super technology and this has been addressed for a long time.  Continuously Variable Transmission or CVT is not as smooth as the Fusion. 

When the engine would turn on and turn off it was very noticeable compared to the Fusion which you could still feel, but substantially less.

A Spartan Space Ship

prius-interiorSome of the Prius controls and instrument positions could be considered unique.  All controls work fine, although the Prius seemed a bit more like a Spartan Space Ship rather than the Luxury Sedan of the leather appointed Fusion.

2010 Prius Is Coming

The 2010 Prius will be arriving in dealerships within the next couple of weeks. 

Review of the 2010 product book clearly shows that the 2010 Prius will be substantially better in base form and in fully optioned form.  Tribune readers can look forward to this update.

prius-informationDid I say that the 2010 Prius was about to show up?  Well, reference to the product book would lead me to believe that the 2010 Prius is going to address this Spartan Space Ship situation

LED Headlamps

Of note is that the 2010 Prius will no longer have HID headlamps available.  In review of the product brochure this fact seemed hard to believe. 

However, halogen is the standard headlamp system and top of the line Prius V models will have LED headlamps.  This is very high-tech technology.  All models will have LED taillamps.

When the 2010 Prius shows up there will be two high-mileage impressive cars at the dealerships. 

 The 2010 Prius will be a much more refined product but the Tribune predicts that the Fusion will still win as the the best overall Driver’s Hybrid Car

Each car is a winner and each car has their own unique personality.  If you are looking for fantastic mileage then your selection between these two requires driving each.  At minimum that will be a very educational experience.

Random Photos From Automotive Tribune Site

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