Ford took top honors this year by winning the Fleet Car of the Year award with the 2011 Ford Fusion/Fusion Hybrid.
Sponsored by Automotive Fleet and Business Fleet magazines, the award is given annually and voted on by fleet professionals. Qualified fleet professionals cast their votes online for one car and truck out of 74 cars and 13 light-duty truck nominees, representing all of the major domestic and import-badged vehicles.
"We're very pleased Fusion is being recognized with this important award," said Eric Guenther, general marketing manager - Ford North American Fleet, Lease & Remarketing Operations (NAFLRO). "Fusion was developed with fleet customers in mind, and we're confident it offers the best design, safety, and value in the industry."
The Ford Fusion all six-speed transmission lineup is available with I-4 and V-6 engine choices and a Hybrid model and Sport version.
New features for 2011 include MyKey, available rain-sensing wipers, and HD radio. Integrated blind-spot mirrors have been added to cars without the optional Blind Spot Information System. Ford SYNC communications and infotainment system can now be integrated with the available touchscreen voice-activated navigation system.
"Fusion is a total solution for fleet managers and drivers. It looks great, offers incredible driving dynamics, and delivers very low operating costs. Top that off with outstanding resale value, and you have a winning combination," Guenther said.
Powertrain Offerings Expand on Capability
The 2011 Fusion's fuel-efficient powertrain lineup includes a 2.5L I-4 engine that achieves an EPA-estimated 23 mpg city/33 mpg highway with 175 hp and 172 ft.-lb. of torque. The I-4 engine is available with manual or automatic transmission.
The Duratec 30 3.0L V-6 engine produces 240 hp and 222 ft.-lb. of torque and is flex-fuel capable. The engine can produce up to 250 hp when using E-85 fuel.
The Fusion Sport features a 3.5L V-6 engine that offers 263 hp and 249 ft.-lb. of torque with regular unleaded fuel. The Sport model has standard 18-in. wheels and upgraded suspension tuning.
New for 2011, I-4 automatic models are available with SelectShift manual gear control. SelectShift comes standard with both of the V-6 engines.
Options for V-6 engines include front-wheel drive and on-demand all-wheel drive.
The Fusion is equipped with Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) with Pull-Drift Compensation, as well as a front anti-roll bar and rear suspension link, which help enhance steering, handling, and ride.
Various sound-absorbing features such as the acoustic windshield, thick front-door glass, inner and outer dash absorbers, revised sealing baffles, and interior headliner absorption materials help reduce noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH).
Fusion Hybrid Increases User-Friendly Efficiency Features
The Ford Fusion Hybrid can operate up to 47 mph in pure electric mode, with a city driving range of more than 700 miles on a single tank of gas.
The Hybrid's SmartGauge with Eco-Guide helps owners optimize performance of their hybrid with a user-friendly tutorial mode.
The SmartGauge also features two high-resolution, full-color LCD screens on both sides of the analog speedometer that can be customized to show different amounts of information, such as fuel and battery power levels, and average and instant mpg.
SmartGauge also features efficiency leaves, an element that "grows" leaves and vines on the screen to illustrate efficient driving.
Drivers have the option to choose one of four different data screens to display the desired level of vehicle information during a drive. These data screens include:
● Inform: Fuel level and battery charge status.
● Enlighten: Also displays electric vehicle mode indicator and tachometer.
● Engage: Also displays engine output power and battery output power.
● Empower: Also displays power to wheels, engine pull-up threshold, and
accessory power consumption.
All screens are capable of showing instant fuel economy, fuel economy history, odometer, engine coolant temperature, gear used, and various trip data. Another SmartGauge feature is the engine coolant temperature indicator, which turns green when engine conditions are warm enough to allow engine pull-down.
Differentiating it from the gas-powered Fusion, the Fusion Hybrid features 17-inch, eight-spoke wheels, eco-friendly seat fabric made from postindustrial 100-percent recycled materials, and a standard 110v power outlet.
2011 Fusion Widens Standard and Available Product Features
The Personal Safety System is one of many of the 2011 Fusion's available features, and includes dual-stage front air bags for the driver and front seat passenger, seat belt pretensioners, load-limiting retractors, seat position sensing, and crash severity sensing.
Additional options include a tire pressure monitoring system, AdvanceTrac with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), and brake-actuated traction control.
The 2011 Fusion also offers an SOS Post-Crash Alert System that flashes signal lights and sounds the horn in the event of an accident. The LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) system can also be included on rear seating positions. Dual front air bags, front seat-mounted side air bags, and side curtain air bags are also available.
Additional standard and available technology and connectivity features include SIRIUS satellite radio, voice-activated navigation with SIRIUS Travel Link, and iTunes song-tagging ability.
A rear view camera system to aid rear visibility while backing up is also available, as well as integrated blind-spot mirrors, steering wheel audio controls, a capless fuel-filler system, and ambient lighting that allows the driver to change the interior lighting color palette.