Overview of Recently Launched Hybrid Cars
Hybrid cars might not be selling very well right now, but it doesn't mean that new models (either brand new or redesigned versions of already-existing hybrids) aren't coming out. Today we check out some of those newer hybrids to see what they have to offer people who need a car (if you're going to buy a car anyway, a fuel efficient hybrid can help you reduce your carbon footprint and lower smog-forming emissions, but if you don't need a car, there are greener forms of transportation...).
Ford Fusion hybrid car. Photo: Ford
Ford Fusion Hybrid
The first thing Ford wants you to know about the Fusion hybrid is that it gets better MPG than the Toyota Camry hybrid. While the Fusion hybrid uses more recent technology than the Camry hybrid, which was introduced in May 2006, it still gets good enough mileage (41/36 MPG) to make the Camry hybrid look a bit like an under-achiever.
The most notable feature of the Fusion hybrid's parallel gasoline-hybrid powertrain is the ability to move up to 47 MPH in 100% electric mode, for up to 2 miles. This really helps for urban driving. It's just too bad that the range isn't slightly bigger and a plug-in option isn't offered (according to a NHTS survey, More Than Half of All Vehicles' Trips to Work in US are 11 Miles or Less).
Ford Fusion hybrid car interior. Photo: Ford
Here's a shot of the interior of the Ford Fusion hybrid.
Ford Fusion hybrid car, driver's instrument cluster. Photo: Ford
In the photo above, you can see the Ford SmartGauge instrument cluser, which we wrote about here: New High-Tech Ford Hybrid Instrument Cluster 'Rewards' You for Efficient Driving.
So what's special about this instrument cluster? First, you get two relatively high-resolution color LCDs on each side of the analog speedometer. They can be configured to show more or less details. It's kind of like a video game with different levels of difficulty, from easy to hard. [...]
Long-term fuel efficiency can be displayed in two ways--either as a traditional chart or using an innovative display that shows "growing leaves and vines" on the right side of the cluster. The more efficient a customer is, the more lush and beautiful the leaves and vines, creating a visual reward for the driver's efforts.
Mercury Milan hybrid, the Ford Fusion's fraternal twin. Photo: Ford
Mercury Milan Hybrid
The Mercury Milan hybrid is more or less a re-skinned Fusion hybrid. The interior and exterior have a different look that might appeal more to some people, but the powertrain is basically the same, and so the fuel economy numbers are the same (41/36 MPG).