There haven’t been many reasons to step foot into a Mercury dealership in recent years. Ever since the departure of the last generation (1999-2002) Mercury Cougar, Mercury vehicles have existed solely as rebadged and slightly reworked Ford vehicles. For 2010, the Mercury Milan gets a significant exterior redesign that gives the car a more upscale look, but even more importantly, a new fuel-efficient hybrid drivertrain will now be an option. When the Milan, along with the Ford Fusion were launched in 2005, the midsize sedan market was a much different place than it is today. Since 2005, all of the major players in this segment, such as the Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Camry and Mazda MAZDA6, have all had complete redesigns and raised the bar for style, performance and fuel-economy.
Unlike the 2010 Fusion, the cosmetic changes are limited primarily to the front of the car. The new front end features a larger version of Mercury’s signature waterfall grille and headlights that are oddly similar to those of the outgoing Ford Fusion. From the rear, changes are minor with new taillight lenses and a cleaner fascia design. The four-cylinder model gets two exhaust outlets mounted on the right side, while the V-6 gets a sportier dual exhaust setup with chrome accented exhaust tips. Other than specific badging and 15-spoke wheels, there are no visual differences between the hybrid and non-hybrid models.
Most of the changes inside the 2010 Milan are limited to the instrument panel and center console area. A more streamlined center stack now features a larger screen for the optional navigation system. Drivers of the new Milan Hybrid will instantly notice the unique instrument cluster that Ford calls the SmartGauge with EcoGuide. The new cluster features a large centrally placed speedometer and replaces the tachometer and other gauges with two large information screens that help the driver optimize the car’s fuel economy. Spreading like wildfire across Ford vehicles, the new Milan also now offers the Microsoft Sync system. For added safety, a Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert and a reverse camera system are now available in the 2010 Milan.
The biggest news for the 2010 Milan is the addition of a hybrid powertrain option, but all powertrain components are enhanced for 2010. Engine options include a larger base engine, the 2.5-liter inline-4, and an enhanced 3.0-liter V-6 that now offers increased performance and fuel economy. Unlike the 2010 Ford Fusion Sport, however, the Milan won’t get the more powerful 3.5-liter V-6. As is the case with most new Ford vehicles that are being released, the 2010 Milan features Ford’s Easy Fuel Capless Fuel-Filler System. Like the 2008 Chevy Malibu LTZ we recently tested, the base Milan now gets a six-speed automatic mated to the 2.5-liter engine. The new Milan has yet to be tested by the EPA, but Mercury expects its new entry-level sedan to get best in class fuel economy with 34 miles per gallon on the highway.
For improved fuel economy, the 2010 Milan hybrid is expected to deliver up to 40 mpg in the city – beating out the Camry hybrid by 6 mpg and the mild hybrid versions of the Saturn Aura and Chevy Malibu by 14 mpg. Ford’s new hybrid system allows the Milan to travel up to 47 miles per hour under electric power only with a total range expected to exceed 700 miles.
Since most of the structure of the 2010 Mercury Milan is carried over from 2009 model, expect most of the crash data to stay the same or improve. The 2009 Mercury Milan received five-star ratings for front-impact protection of both passengers when tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), while the side-impact test produced a five-star rating for front passengers and a four-star rating for rear passengers. Rollover avoidance for front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive Milans were rated at four stars and five stars, respectively. The new Milan should come with similar standard safety equipment as the 2009 model that includes:
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