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2010 Ford Fusion

$19,695 to $28,355
22 City - 31 Hwy

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Ford has been learning some rough lessons these days. With the once-profitable pickup truck market falling apart this year, the company has had to focus its efforts on building smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. Set to debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show next month, Ford released details on the new 2010 Ford Fusion. With an all-new look and more competitive powertrain options, the new Ford Fusion is better equipped to take on the Chevrolet Malibu and Toyota Camry.

The 2010 Ford Fusion, and its twin the Mercury Milan, will receive an exterior update after . The new Fusion’s look conveys a more aggressive look and includes a "power dome" hood and angled, horizontal headlights that portray a scowling glare. The three-piece blade grille that was introduced on the original Fusion, and is now incorporated on almost all Ford vehicles, has grown larger and adds to the Fusion’s angered expression with the inward slanted “eyebrows” above the headlights. With Ford only releasing one image of the new Fusion, it’s unclear as to what updates have taken place in the hindquarters or on the inside, but expect redesigned, taillights and fascia, as well as some instrument panel updates. Microsoft’s famed SYNC® system will most likely find its way into the new Fusion’s cabin.

In addition to a much more aggressive design for 2010, the new Fusion will also be available with a hybrid drivetrain to compete better against the Toyota Camry and Chevrolet Malibu, which both offer hybrid models. The new hybrid system improves on the one already used in the Ford Escape Hybrid with the ability to operate at 47 miles per hour in electric mode only, which helps to provide for an overall range of 700 miles of city driving on a single tank of gas. Powering the Fusion Hybrid is a 155-horsepower, 2.5-liter I-4 mated to an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission. The base Fusion will use this same engine with a six-speed automatic providing the shifts. This should help the Fusion compete against the Malibu LTZ, which was the first passenger car to mate a four-cylinder engine to a six-speed automatic transmission. The goal of this combination is improved fuel economy through lower shift points.

Not all of the effort has been put into improving fuel economy. An exclusive option on the Fusion that won’t be available on the Milan is the addition of the Fusion Sport, which is powered by the same 263-horsepower, 3.5-liter Duratec V-6 found in the Ford Flex. It is not yet clear what design cues will help set the Fusion Sport apart from other Fusion models, but the addition of a sporty model should help improve overall sales. Rounding out the engine options, Ford's proven 3.0-liter V-6 features 240 horsepower.