Prediction: The ranks of hyper-milers will grow withFusion Hybrid volume.
We know what you’re thinking. Hyper-milers are geeks who have turned throttle modulation into an extreme sport. And why feather the accelerator when you can floor it?
But the ’10 Fusion Hybrid’s gauges are so, well, engaging, they challenge you to go green – even if the predominant color is azure.
On either side of the prominent analog speedometer are liquid-crystal displays that can be configured like tabs to show various vehicle-performance categories, such as battery status and real-time fuel economy.
Such feedback is the price of entry for hybrids. But the resolution here is extraordinarily crisp, which makes for easy assimilation.
Although, there is a shallow learning curve.
Just when you get accustomed to the tachometer’s vertical readout, it disappears. Poof! Replaced by a battery-discharge graphic.
However, when your brain catches up with the car’s power-control module, it all makes wonderful sense. A hybrid doesn’t need a tach when you’re driving in electric-only mode – a feat the Fusion can achieve even at plus-40 mph (64 km/h).
And the transition is as slick. Like toggling between windows on a PC.
Arguably, the cluster’s most inspired graphic element is the gas gauge. Opaque light is made to resemble fluid falling in a graduated cylinder.
If these effects are not enough to charm your inner tree-hugger, the Fusion Hybrid’s system, dubbed SmartGauge with EcoGuide and supplied by Johnson Controls Inc., features “Efficiency Leaves.”
Beside the fuel-economy indicator is a virtual planter that reveals whether or not you have a green thumb, or foot, as it were.
Stomp the accelerator and watch a tree wither and die. Nurse the pedal and it grows wild, filling the screen with foliage.
With such driving aids, it’s not hard to imagine a day when hyper-milers represent mainstream motorists.