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Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan Hybrid

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  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Ford Fusion Kicks Tail among family-hauler hybrids

    Ford has a weiner.

    Ford has pulled off a game changer with this 2010 model, creating a high-mpg family hauler that’s fun to drive. That achievement has two components: First, the machinery is unexpectedly refined—call it Toyota slickness expressed with car-guy soul. Second, the electronic instrument cluster involves the driver, invites you into the hybrid game, and gives you the feedback needed to keep increasing your personal-best mpg number.

    Or you can say the heck with it and opt for a minimum-distraction display that shows little beyond the speedo.

    No matter which you ultimately choose, you’re welcomed to the game with green grass and blue sky, a dashboard notion so corny we would groan if it weren’t so vividly executed. Hybrid enthusiasts will select the expert screen. All eyes sweep to the power grouping that shows the level of battery charge beside two columns of discharge meters, one for power consumed to propel the vehicle, the other a sum of all accessory loads (lights, fans, air conditioning, stereo, etc.).

    How far can you go without the engine? That’s the game. Easy on the accessory loads, of course, but whenever you’re moving, the propulsion meter gives you an EV bracket. Keep your propulsion power within the EV bracket by modulating the “gas” and you’ll drive on the battery, up to 47 mph under ideal circumstances. Call it a video game to go.

    Under normal driving, the engine starts and stops far more often than in the other hybrids. It comes and goes stealthily. Your wife won’t notice, and you probably won’t, either, unless you’re really into the hybrid game.

    Nothing about the leather-lined test car, optioned up from its $27,995 base price to $32,555, seemed economy minded except for the mileage readings. On that score, the Fusion topped the others, turning in a 34-mpg score card for the overall 300-mile test run. It also finished highest in two of the three specialized tests, with a 34.3-mpg mark on the rural loop and 36.9 mpg on the city loop. Official EPA fuel-economy numbers are 41 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, roughly 720 city miles between fill-ups. For a four-door with civilized room for five, that’s a standing-O achievement.

    Though the Fusion gets out-hustled by the Altima and the Camry—at 3805 pounds, the Ford is the heaviest of the four—we think 8.5 seconds to 60 mph is just fine considering the fuel economy. All of these players were too tightly grouped in braking and roadholding to draw significant distinctions, but for the record, the Fusion did tie with the Altima at 0.80 g for top marks on the skidpad. The suspension feels nicely taut, well planted. The tires communicate more than the Camry’s and speak in tones more refined than the Altima’s.

    As in the Altima and the Camry, the power delivery of the Fusion’s CVT is hard to hold steady in cruising conditions. The test logs include many comments about “surging.” Engaging the cruise control deals with it every time.

    Ford really hit all the marks with this hybrid Fusion, combining excellent fuel economy with slick manners and an engrossing personality. Fun and fuel economy have finally gotten married in a mid-size sedan.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Likewise fewer and smaller battery packs storing less energy, which hurts fuel efficiency. It's a tradeoff. Their more "normal" drive got them 44 MPG. That 60+MPG figure was what they call an 'efficiency drive" which was a Honda-designed 16 mile loop (which means it was designed for the Insight to get REALLY good MPGs, probably with the hills set up so that it re-gens exactly enough battery power to get up the next one or something) and A/C was unnecessary.

    Basically we have to see what the EPA says. That's the ultimate level playing field, where the vehicles are tested under the exact same neutral conditions. Though i have to admit that Insight is one sharp-looking vehicle; MUCH better looking than the Prius. And I do like hatches.

    I may put this up against the I4 Fusion...though the Fusion has Sync. :shades:
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    The Fusion and Insight do not really compete. The Fusion is a mid-size (more than a foot longer and 1,000 lbs heavier) and so is roomier, faster and quieter. Trade-offs are much higher price and lower mileage. Yes, when pushed, the Insight "only" got 44 mpg. When driven normally, the Fusion got 34 (see post above yours). When driven for economy, the Fusion has seen high 40s. The Insight when driven that way, will go to mid-60s. Both are great figures for the respective size of the cars. But obviously and for good reason, the smaller, lighter Insight gets better mileage.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    It's going to be next to impossible for anyone to get 60-ish mpg in an Insight for any long period of time or of driving. The technology is the same as the HCH except that the e-motor is less powerful ( less capable ). Yes the vehicle is more aero and may be somewhat lighter but neither is going to jump the fuel economy from the low 40's to the 60 mpg range.

    After some months and millions of miles of driving I'd expect the Insight II to be just at or just below the HCH real world numbers of 43-45 mpg day-in and day-out.

    Now even if the Insight II does 'only' get 42-43 mpg overall it will exceed the FFH values overall by 10% or so. However the key point is that it will cost $8000 - $10000 less!!! The two vehicles are not targetted toward the same demographic segments.

    The Insight IMO will be a HUGE hit and put a real hurtin' on GM and Ford and Toyota and Mazda and Nissan because it will hit them squarely in the middle of their compact car segment where the Corolla, Focus/Fiesta, Sentra, Accent, Mazda3 and Cobalt live. Honda's gain in the Insight II will come at the expense of these non-hybrids, not the Prius or FFH or TCH.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    It's going to be next to impossible for anyone to get 60-ish mpg in an Insight for any long period of time or of driving. Well of course that is true, but you keep missing the point! It will also be next to impossible for the Fusion to get high 40s for any long period of driving. Mid-30s will be more like it...and that is darn good mileage for any mid-size.

    And no, the Insight will not put much hurt on the ICE compact sales, because while it is the cheapest hybrid, it still costs more than a Corolla or Sentra or Accent. You can buy a lot of gas with the difference in prices. In addition, there are at best only 100,000 available for US buyers. It's another choice and choice is good.
  • kdhspyder said "However the key point is that it will cost $8000 - $10000 less!!! " ... No, the Fusion Hybrid will be $27,000, and Honda says it is "trying" to bring the new Insight in at $20,000, so thats $7,000 diff.

    The Insight is a good compromise from a real car, I admit, for those that don't mind the skinny tires and SLOW acceleration (0-60 mph in about 11 seconds, a snail's pace). The Fusion Hybrid is a real car, not wimpy.

    kdhyspyder also said "The Insight IMO will be a HUGE hit and put a real hurtin' on GM and Ford and Toyota and Mazda and Nissan because it will hit them squarely in the middle of their compact car segment where the Corolla, Focus/Fiesta, Sentra, Accent, Mazda3 and Cobalt live. Honda's gain in the Insight II will come at the expense of these non-hybrids, not the Prius or FFH or TCH. "

    Actually, you can get a new Sentra right now for $10,000, half the price of an Insight. Comparably equipped, the Sentra with automatic and air, will come in at about $13,000, much cheaper than a maybe-$20,000 Insight.

    Still, as Ford's Fusion Hybrid deserves the most credit here for how they are stomping the Camry Hybrid, Honda and Toyota are providing the Insight and Prius that are cheaper to buy than a Fusion Hybrid, so kudos to them. The winner will be the consumer.

    All that being said, I'd still rather just buy a 4-cylinder Fusion with automatic and get my 33 MPG EPA hiway mileage, and save the $7,000 into a CD, the diff from a comparably equipped Fusion 4-cylinder and its Hybrid cousin. For some, they will want a hybrid, and if you do over 15,000 miles per year, you can make the difference up. However, with a hybrid, you will sacrifice braking, steering, and some safety performance with all those expensive, heavy batteries under your butt. With the addtion of direct injection and start/stop tech in a standard Fusion, you can boost the MPG another 10% anyway for an additional $900 of equipment, so hybrids just aren't the future for me.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    My understanding on the Insight II prices are that Honda will start them at $18500 and range them up to ~$23000. At $18500 that's right in the middle of the Corolla, Civic, Mazda3, Focus, Cobalt,Sentra pricing.

    $13000 Sentra's are loss leaders at best. That's not truly indicative of the market price for this model. If so that would put the Versa well under $10000... Sorry can't buy it.
  • Yeah, I think I said Sentra was currently $10,000, but I think I mean Versa. I was confused. There was a big push by Nissan recently to have the lowest priced car in America, and the Versa came in at $10,000, a good buy.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    It is NOT in the middle of Focus, Cobalt, sentra pricing. It is very much at the high end of compact/subcompact sedan market. Sure, you can pay over $20K for a Focus, but almost no one does. And remember, the Insight is not as large or as roomy as a Sentra or Focus. It is subcompact in size (based on the Fit), has subcompact hp, wheels, tires, etc. It is more expensive precisely because of the hybrid equipment.
  • gregg_vw, I agree. I think you can get an '09 Cobalt with automatic, air, traction control, and ABS brakes as the only options, for about $17,000 (edmunds.com price). Thats actually kind of close to an Insight's projected estimated price in the future. There is not a great deal of difference in the prices, but there is about $3,000 worth!

    Bottom line, if a consumer can live with snail-slow acceleration in the Insight/Prius, either one, then those might be a good choice. The Fusion Hybrid (191 HP, 3700 lbs) accelerates 0-60 mph in about the same time as my '05 Freestyle (203 HP, 3900 lbs), which is 8.5 seconds, instead of the slow 10 or 11 seconds it takes an Insight/Prius to meander to 60 mph. Also, the Fusion Hybrid will handle best.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    I bought an 08 Suzuki SX4 Crossover last April with AWD, stability control, traction control, brake assist, keyless go, climate control, and all the usual power options, for less than 16K...and you think that an Insight at $18.5K to $22K is going to take over sales of FWD compacts (which do not have stability control, AWD, traction control, etc.) starting at $13K? Excuse me, but what are you smoking?
  • gregg_vw, Whoaa, slow down there Skippy. You must have me confused with kdhspyder (see posts above). I was just saying the Insight will be reasonably close to some comparably-equipped FWD vehicles out there. I cited $3,000 diff between a Cobalt and an Insight, and some may consider that reasonable. Prius sales have been good, and people have paid many thousands more for it than Corollas. I'm also saying many people will pay that to get in on the hybrid band-wagon. I'm more of the opinion I'd rather buy a $15,000 or so FWD small car that gets decent MPG before I'd want to pony up the extra thousands for an Insight or Prius.

    The subject of this thread is the Fusion Hyb. It will come in at $27,000, so people are going to have to add a lot to the normal Fusion's (comparably equipped) 4-cyl version coming in at a mere $20,000. This is somewhat of a problem for me, but not for many people who crave hybrids. The Prius/Insight discussion gives us some perspective on what people are willing to pay extra for all those batteries and electric motors in addition to a gas engine and transmission and extra computers to run it all and the extra weight, performance penalties.. whew!
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I bought an 08 Suzuki SX4 Crossover last April with AWD, stability control, traction control, brake assist, keyless go, climate control, and all the usual power options, for less than 16K...and you think that an Insight at $18.5K to $22K is going to take over sales of FWD compacts (which do not have stability control, AWD, traction control, etc.) starting at $13K? Excuse me, but what are you smoking?

    Your perception of the market is off, sorry. The Insight II is a Honda Fit with a $1500 hybrid option. The Honda Fit was sold out and oversubscribed @ $17000 MSRP until the recession hit us over the head. A $1500 option for 42-45 mpg day-in and day-out is a small upcharge and it fits ( ewwww ) right into the expectations of that buying segment.

    Yes if you look at the price through the eyes of the most hardnosed frugal buyer that won't buy unless the final price is sweating blood then yes the Insight @ $18500 is out of the question. But this is a HUGE HUGE market and if the Fit can be oversubscribed at $17000 MSRP the Insight II will also.....when the market recovers of course.

    Back to the FFH. This is the same good situation that Toyota has found itself in with the TCH. Fusion buyers range from $19000 to $30000. In this range there are enough who want to spend less on fuel to support the FFH. All buyers? Of course not. But there are enough.

    The good press that the FFH and Ford are getting will drive even more into the stores. Those that would consider a TCH at $27000 ( a very typical Toyota buyer ) will also shop this new guy on the block to see if the reports are true. You're viewing the pricing from the pov of a frugal I4 buyer looking to keep the cost of the vehicle as low as possible and still get decent fuel economy. Now look at it from the pov of a V6 buyer who wants some amenities, in fact would never drive or buy a base model, and normally expects to pay $25000 - $30000 for the vehicle. Now the FFH looks like a bargain. Look at it from the pov of one of the millions of Explorer owners who are now ready to dump their SUV that got 17 mpg. Those buyers always spent $30000+ for their wheels. Now for $30000 they get a loaded FFH and 38 mpg? They're in heaven.

    But it's a HUGE, HUGE market with a wide variety of price/value points.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Now look at it from the pov of a V6 buyer who wants some amenities, in fact would never drive or buy a base model, and normally expects to pay $25000 - $30000 for the vehicle. Now the FFH looks like a bargain.

    I think you're missing something here....if someone is looking for a V6, many are looking for power in most cases. Another large portion are looking for the artificial self-worth that comes from a "V6" badge. How many out of those two groups would consider a "greenie weenie" hybrid powertrain? THat is how some people think of hybrids still, you know (especially some of the ones who want that V6 badge).

    Admittedly, the rest, who are getting the V6 simply because that's the highest line trim out there would happily consider a hybrid powertrain as opposed to the V6, especially if the Hybrid trim matches the highest line as far as available options.
  • A V6 buyer is going to be very disappointed in Hybrid snail-slow accel. While the Fusion Hybrid is nowhere near as slow as the Prius/Insight, its not nearly as good as a V6 Fusion. I drove an '08 Fusion V6 recently (221 HP, 3300 lbs) and it was FUN. The Fusion Hybrid can't equal that driving fun. So, yes, the V6 people out there do seem to be looking for power, not fuel economy, 2 opposing things when shopping. As for me, my breaking point is 0-60 in 9 seconds. I just don't want a vehicle that is slower than that, since its just too slow to pass other cars, to merge on to a busy freeway, to go uphills (Rocky Mountains nearby), and to have some reserve power when loaded up with gear and people. My '05 Freestyle does it in 8.5 seconds with a sweet hybrid-like CVT, so its in my sweet spot for the balance between fuel efficiency and adequate power.

    In summary, the typical Fusion Hybrid buyer will see its relatively slow accel as acceptable, looking for a good handling, robost hybrid with great MPG.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I think you're missing something here....if someone is looking for a V6, many are looking for power in most cases. Another large portion are looking for the artificial self-worth that comes from a "V6" badge. How many out of those two groups would consider a "greenie weenie" hybrid powertrain? THat is how some people think of hybrids still, you know (especially some of the ones who want that V6 badge).

    That's where you err on the side of too little flexibility. This is a huge and diverse market. You are trying to pigeon hole everyone into tiny little places. I've been selling these since 2000. I've met thousands of real and potential buyers. There is no single size that fits all buyers. One of the reasons that some well-to-do people remain well-to-do is that they don't waste money unnecessarily. Getting a nice vehicle with nice amenities that also saves 50% of the monthly gas bill is a choice many many make. Some are just against paying Big Oil and the Mideast more more money than they have to pay. Some like the greenie aspect. But these buyers will not generally buy an econo-box or a strippie I4. They are used to nicer things and they are willing to pay for them.

    For whatever reason, when these buyers opt to choose a hybrid then $27000 is a bargain, $30000 is a normal to lower-than-normal price.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    I'm not talking about well-to-do people, or not just them, rather. But like it or not there are several people who shop for cars whose ego is measured in liters and cylinders, as well as HP and torque :shades: Those types are NOT going to see a hybrid as a value no matter what sales pitch you give them (ironically, they MIGHT have gone for the now-defunct Accord hybrid, except most wouldn't consider Hondas in the first place.

    I agree that it's a huge and diverse market, but in that market, the hybrids, while growing, are still a relative niche. Of course, when you get right down to it, every trim of every model is its own little niche (which fits in its own little pigeonhole with a few people) but that's beyond the scope of this thread.

    Some are just against paying Big Oil and the Mideast more more money than they have to pay. Some like the greenie aspect. But these buyers will not generally buy an econo-box or a strippie I4. They are used to nicer things and they are willing to pay for them.

    Granted. In fact, I think I mentioned that myself. But you've got whole other market segments that aren't even going to consider a hybrid, unless maybe it's a Corvette Hybrid. Or maybe a Camaro or Mustang Hybrid. Or something else with a lot of V6 badges, that go 0-60 in 7 seconds or less, with a cat-back exhaust and a grumble under the hood. That's just life.

    Then you have the others who like the general idea, but just decided that it isn't right for their driving style right now. Like me. :)
  • kdhspyder said "Some like the greenie aspect. But these buyers will not generally buy an econo-box or a strippie I4. They are used to nicer things and they are willing to pay for them. "

    Strippie I-4? You can comparably equip a Fusion I-4 with automatic, air, traction control, etc., and still come out $7,000 ahead of a similarly equipped Hybrid Fusion. To me, thats too much, economically speaking. For some other people that think with their toenails, it might make sense. In reality, it only makes sense if you drive a lot of miles per year, or you want to stick it to the Mideast terrorists and/or Chavez, both good reasons really.

    So, if you want to strap 400 lbs of batteries to your butt and pay $7,000 for the privilege, be my guest. I'm sure there will be some.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Yes there are certainly those that will not look at the FFH for a variety of reasons, not as much power as the V6, antipathy against the idea of hybrids, fear, normal reticence toward changes, etc.

    But since this is such a huge and diverse market there are also those buyers who hate Big Oil, hate the oil producers, want a loaded vehicle with very good power but excellent fuel economy, want to leave a smaller carbon footprint, love the idea of promoting new technology, are willing to give up some power for a lower overall cost, etc.

    All these variations are part of the buying public. You two may fall in the first grouping. There are however lots of buyers, enough to over-subscribe the vehicles, that fall into the second grouping. This is the brilliant marketing discovery that Toyota and Honda and Ford have made. There's money to be made here and in the end that's all that counts. This is just a business with the intention to make money and survive into the future.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Yes there are certainly those that will not look at the FFH for a variety of reasons, not as much power as the V6, antipathy against the idea of hybrids, fear, normal reticence toward changes, etc.

    Oh, I wouldn't say I'm in that group...if my driving habits were different and I drove more city, I'd certainly consider a hybrid..I am a gadget-head. But I'd want a bigger MPG increase than I'm currently going to get with 90%+ highway driving, before I shell out the extra up-front money that a hybrid would cost, that's all. Reasonable request. Like I said before, they're not a cure all and they aren't for everyone.

    You know what would be interesting? A web-app where people can plug in the models they're considering, and their driving habits (city% and hwy%, miles per year) and their local gas prices, and it would give them an approximation of their fuel costs per year for each vehicle. Come to think of it, shouldn't be real hard, either...some of the guys at work may be able to throw something together.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Yes you're right on that web app... I have one on my Excel archives.

    The inputs needed are
    Actual aquisition cost..
    Rebates or Tax Credits if any
    Local Taxes and Fees
    Insurance
    Est Maintenance

    Length of ownership in mo's or yrs
    Monthly or annual mileage driven

    Cost of fuel with an escalator for the length of ownership, then averaged. If you go to GasBuddy.com or EIA.doe.gov you can get a feel for where the price of gasoline is going and create an inflation factor. My own is $.50 per gallon per year. 2008 was an extreme aberation on both sides, top and bottom.

    Fuel Economy, EPA and best guesstimate on real world circumstances.

    RESALE VALUE!!!!
  • kdhspyder said: "Yes there are certainly those that will not look at the FFH for a variety of reasons, not as much power as the V6, antipathy against the idea of hybrids, fear, normal reticence toward changes, etc. "

    I'm not in that group, as you accused me of. The group I'm in says why pay $7,000 more for the batteries/electrics in a Fusion Hyb than a comparably equipped plain Fusion that still gets 33 MPG hiway. My group also doesn't like the decrease in braking performance, handling, and steering from hauling around the extra 400 lbs of batteries/electrics over a plain Fusion. My group also doesn't put on over 15,000 miles per year, which means its very difficult to recoup the extra $7,000 cost sooner than about 8 years.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Well then don't buy the FFH! It is not for you (or your "group."). But please understand that some of us are not figuring things the way you do, and "difficult to recoup the extra $7,000" may not be part of the buying decision. You buy a car for the reasons you lay out, but you must realize that other people buy cars for reasons that may not fit how you calculate things. Enjoy your 33 mpg Fusion--it's a great car--but not everything can be broken down to cost per mile, and anyway not everyone agrees how to calculate that. A simple statement that you have looked at the pros and cons and made your decision will suffice. It doesn't matter if I don't agree with your calculations. Once you decide, who cares if I don't share your view?
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    You know, that's really something the Feds should take up, maybe as part of fueleconomy.gov or something. You know if one of the manufacturers does it it's going to be rigged. Maybe we can get Edmunds to do it. Nexpart and Nexcat are pay-for-play so we couldn't realistically do it.
  • gregg_vw said "Well then don't buy the FFH! It is not for you (or your "group."). "

    Thank-you! I'm free now, because of your permission.
  • bobgwtwbobgwtw Posts: 187
    Seems to me everyone's leaving one very important factor out of these discussions - depreciation or residual value. Depreciation is the largest single cost of owning a car; and so far the hybrid's are depreciating at a significantly lower rate than the gassers.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Yes this is true. It's one of the key costs in owning any vehicle. It's why back in post #202 I emphasized 'RESALE VALUE'. Depending on how long one keeps the vehicle a good portion of the 'hybid premium' is recovered upon resale. OTOH if the vehicles are kept for a long period of time like 10-12 years or until they are run into the ground then there is no 'recovery of the hybrid premium' ..but.. the savings in fuel costs over that 12 yr period are greater than the extra paid upfront.

    Then there is the ridiculous situation of last summer where 1 y.o. hybrids were selling at higher prices than NEW hybrids at MSRP. Not only was there no depreciation but after one year there was significan't appreciation. Highly unusual? Yes but that was the situation for the better part of 3-4 months.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    you are welcome...don't mention it
  • bigtbigt Posts: 413
    The Milian HB uses only batteries while you stay under 47 mph. Does anyone know how many miles you can drive in this mode before the gas engine kicks in to recharge the batteries? I read somewhere that it is only 1-3 miles. If this is true then isn't sort of a joke about getting great carbon free electric mileage?
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,699
    That's not exactly true. It is *possible* to go up to 47 mph but you have to be really careful. A little extra throttle and the gas engine has to kick in. Remember that these are not electric vehicles and don't have the battery power necessary to run for long distances. The battery allows the gas engine to be turned off at slower speeds or while stopped. The only thing a hybrid buys you is better mpg than a non-hybrid. It is NOT a substitute for a gasoline engine.
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