The current Toyota Prius still has no rival on a mpg-to-mpg comparison, though by 2012 that may change. The next Ford Fusion Hybrid could get as high as 48 mpg in the city, putting it on par with the Prius.
This report comes from Ford Inside News, which also lists a number of other new products the Blue Oval is said to have in the works. Ford will also introduce the 1.0 liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine dubbed “Fox” into the European built B-Max subcompact MPV (yes there is such a thing, apparently.) The next Ford Escape (based on the Vertrek concept) may lose its hybrid model, but gain a 1.6 liter EcoBoost engine for even better fuel economy.
By far the biggest deal though is the next generation Fusion Hybrid, which looks to unseat the current hybrid king, the Toyota Prius. As I’ve already mentioned, the Prius is in danger of losing its MPG Crown if it doesn’t push for bolder gains in fuel efficiency. And Ford isn’t the only automaker Toyota needs to worry about. Hyundai, Nissan, GM, and the rest of the world’s automakers are gunning for that fuel efficient slice of the sales pie.
Ford plans to pump up the Fusion Hybrids mpg ratings with a new eight-speed e-CVT transmission, and I’m sure they have more tricks up their sleeve as well. Expect a longer all-EV range, higher EV top speed, and of course more mpgs. Which leaves me wondering; will we see an EcoBoost hybrid anytime soon? The two technologies would seem to compliment each other naturally, and add a little more excitement to the hybrid lineup. Unlikely, but maybe not.
I also wonder if the new Ford Fusion can crack the magic 51 mpg highway rating that the Prius also lays claim to. If it can, we could see a new segment leader among hybrids, a car that looks like a car but gets the fuel efficiency of an egg. Can the Fusion topple the Prius? Will there be a new segment leader? How will Toyota answer this challenge?
Stay tuned, as I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of this latest hybrid drama.
Source: Ford Inside News