No kidding yellow Ford flags are out there around LA and the Valley. They aren’t the directions to some super secret meeting place for Ford owners, rather they marked a driving route for a media event hosted yesterday (and today). Apparently our friends at Ford thought the media types could not read a map or turn by turn directions so they tossed them up along the route as an extra precaution.
The purpose of this event was to evaluate the new Ford Fusion Hybrid. In hybrid lovin’, CO2 conscious Los Angeles this car should get plenty of attention with its impressive numbers: 41MPG a healthy 8MPG better than its nearest competitor the Toyota Camry Hybrid.
The media drive was a straight forward and fun event. The group of us was teamed up to drive the new Fusion and see what sort of numbers we could come up with. Prizes of course would be awarded to the team that got the best mileage numbers.
I opted to not drive the heavily decorated test car and went for the more discreet model. At first I was jazzed to hyper-mile it and see what numbers I could bring in. I watched climb from “0” to low 30’s MPG in a few blocks. Then the inner juvenile delinquent pointed out that this car actually feels solid. It drives like a sport sedan, not at all what I was expecting.
As soon as our driving coach left the car my driving partner, Josh Hancock and I decided to hell with the MPGs and see what this car could do. We are ever so glad we did. We quickly learned this was much more than a high MPG car, it was also a drivers car.
My next leg was up Laurel Canyon from the city side of the Hill. Light traffic meant I got to run it through some good twisters and test out how well it handled. Superbly is the hyperbole that comes to mind. One would not know it was an electronic steering set up rather than the usual engine based power steering. Never a bump steer or wallow in a corner.
My MPG took the big boost on the downhill coast and brake to the Boulevard in Studio City. There we joined the bump and go lunch hour traffic and made it to our yellow flag designated pit stop for drivers change. At that point Josh took over the wheel and I served as vlogger control/navigator.
With Josh at the helm we got our first test for Freeway merging and we were again pleasantly surprised by the un-hybrid like zeal during the sprint. No stress or drama it just zoomed up to speed on the uphill ramp to the 405 South from the Boulevard. The transition from electric to gas was not noticeable during the run up the gears, what was noticed was the pleasant growl from the engine at each shift point.
Josh was considerably more spirited in his driving along Sunset than I was on Laurel Canyon. Nice sweeping curves with horrendous patched over potholes along the right lane didn’t upset the car or illicit any shudder. Nice solid car.
In the end we didn’t win the mileage derby, but again we didn’t expect to. What we did learn though is that even with spirited driving the car still managed to reward us with well into the 30MPG range over the course of the route. This would indicate that with normal driving and some hypermiling techniques the EPA estimate of 41MPG is entirely possible to achieve if not exceed.
Among the niftiest and unique features of this car is ability to run the A/C in hybrid mode as they have an all electric A/C instead of the engine compressor reliant system used in other hybrids. What this means is that on hot steamy days like yesterday you can run the A/C and not give up MPG due to running the gas engine constantly to stay comfortable.
In my not so humble opinion it is the perfect Hybrid for the person who doesn’t want to look like the stereotypical hybrid driver but just wants a regular car you can drive normally and get great mileage. For complete details on the Ford Fusion Hybrid visit Ford.com.