From: Triple Pundit
Published March 4, 2009 08:13 AM

Could Ford become a Leader in Fuel Efficiency?

Last week, I wrote a piece about two recent reviews of the Ford Fusion Hybrid. Essentially, I wasquestioning the positive coverage, as most of it, in my opinion, seemed a bit lacking in substance.

However, looking back, I realized I may have come off as a sort of Ford-basher. And that was not my intention.

To give you an example of what I mean, in the previous article, I referenced a Car & Driver review of the Fusion hybrid, that indicated a 34 mpg fuel economy when given a 300-mile test run. This is not impressive for a hybrid, or even for a non-hybrid in some instances. What I did not reference, however, was the EPA rating, which is actually 41 mpg city/ 36 mpg highway. For the sake of objectivity, this should have been included, and I regret that it wasn't.

So when I found out that Ford was running an interactive webcast, I jumped at the chance to cover it. I figured this would give me an opportunity to ask some questions and ultimately provide you with more well-rounded coverage of the company's latest hybrid offering.

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The Ford Fusion Hybrid is actually a pretty decent vehicle. Of all the hybrids coming out of Detroit, this one does offer the best fuel economy. Also impressive is the fact that the vehicle can drive up to 47 miles per hour in all-electric mode. Now understand, this is not an electric vehicle, but the car can utilize this 47 mile per hour all-electric mode to ultimately squeeze out more miles per gallon. And that's really what we're after here.

In comparison to other hybrids on the road, the Fusion also offers a bit more room — which is nice, and necessary for those with large families or for those who carpool.

Overall, I'm happy to see Ford moving forward with its latest hybrid offering. I believe that the current economic and social environment has really pushed Detroit into a corner — forcing them to do something all of us know they should have done decades ago. And that's offer up some truly fuel-efficient vehicles.

But Ford's move toward greater fuel efficiency today doesn't stop with the Fusion.

You may already be familiar with Ford's Escape Hybrid. This hybrid SUV delivers 34 mpg city/ 31 mpg highway. Living in the city, and rarely driving more than a few miles per week, I can't say I have much use for an SUV. But when it comes to SUVs, no other major automaker has delivered this kind of fuel economy. And Ford's Plug-In version of the Escape is even more impressive. With an all-electric range of 30 miles, this could certainly be a winner for those who can't seem to live without their SUVs These are expected to be in production by 2012.

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