The Welch family gains a second hybrid
Sean Welch - CleanMPG
- April 13, 2010
"Is it on?" With these words Jilean began her hybrid journey, preparing to pull out of the dealership on a test drive with me in the passenger seat and our daughter in the back seat. She had driven Jud Engel's Prius a few times two summers ago so this wasn't her first time behind the wheel of a hybrid, but this Ford Family Girl wasn't about to consider a Toyota for her next vehicle!
After owning an '84 F150, leasing three extended cab 4x4 Rangers, then leasing two AWD V6 Escapes, considering a sedan was a big step... but we need a bigger back seat than the one provided by the Escape and fuel costs are relentlessly rising yet again. Jilean had already decided she wanted a hybrid and loved driving the Escape... but that back seat in the Fusion is significantly larger. We test drove both, though the dimensions of the Hybrid Escape are identical to the non-hybrid version.
We took the Fusion out first. "I feel like I'm further away from the door. It is lower than the Escape but I don't feel like I'm sitting on the floor like I am in a lot of cars. This doesn't feel much lower than the SUV!" Her car is equipped with BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) and a backup camera but doesn't have the navigation unit. Putting the vehicle in reverse a 2" square video monitor for the backup camera magically appears in the left side of the rear view mirror. "That's neat! That Prius had the video in a big screen lower down but I like this better because it's where I already look." As for BLIS, "It is going to take some time to get used to but it gives me more confidence when changing lanes -- it's always been my paranoia that somebody will zoom into my blind spot when I'm trying to get over and I can't see them!"
Driving, the gauges were... well... engaging. "It says 60+... is it really getting over 60mpg right now??" Yup. It sure was! "Wow... it does a lot of EV in the city!" We noticed that for her driving style the Fusion Hybrid returned instantaneous numbers around 10mpg higher than the Escape Hybrid did.
Microsoft SYNC is a big hit, too. "I can dial my phone just by telling the car who to call?? I like that! I hate messing with earpieces that don't fit and wires that get tangled."
Jilean in her new Tuxedo Black FFH
What about that back seat? In the Escape the car seat was jammed in and it was very difficult to sit passengers on either side of it. The Fusion swallows the seat and seats two more people with ease. After picking up the car last Friday Jilean's father wanted a test drive -- it easily carried 4 adults and our 18mo old and returned 37mpg for the famed lead foot after some spirited driving on the highway. We have a happy occupant back there now!
Victoria in her new ride
How about cargo capacity? After getting the car seat installed we hadn't folded down the rear seats in the Escape at all. The hatch carries more than the Fusion trunk, but we don't need extra capacity except on trips up to the in-laws' cabin. So how do we deal with that? I had an idea and the dealership was happy to oblige. After verifying the solution wouldn't violate the "no towing" clause in the manual, it was a done deal.
Who says you need an SUV to carry more?
The trunk itself isn't exactly tiny either... I was able to fit my 62cm road bike into it after removing the wheels and seat from the frame.
Jilean is very satisfied with her new Fusion Hybrid! It is a comfortable vehicle with more passenger space, plenty of amenities, and nice driving dynamics. "I got 46 on the way home today! I did mostly EV on the back roads -- the lights are good for EV."
I think we've got a live one, folks.