Nope, it’s not the Tesla Model S, lauded as CAR of the year (not just green) by everyone from Motor Trend to…many more. The award for Green Car of the Year came with a few caveats-primarily sales volume. Green Car Journal Editor Ron Cogan was adamant that this award be given to the car likely to get the most wheels to the ground. Sales volume matters a lot when determining which car will have the most significant impact in reducing CO2.
While the Fisker Karma and Tesla Model S, as well as CODA and others were considered, the 5 finalists were all cars with dramatically higher sales volume. And, coincidentally, prime real estate here at the LA Auto Show. When Cogan gave a brief memorial to Caroll Shelby, who was a judge in previous years, and stated that Shelby would be proud of this year’s winner, I knew the winner had to be Ford.
And it was. The Ford Fusion PHEV won over all the rest, mainly because of the variety of powertrain configurations available within the Fusion family. I’d also say the Gymkhana exhibit by Ken Block the day before combined with parental control options make this one a real winner.
With the Fusion, Ford has created a car that’s practical, sporty, economical, efficient, and appeals to a younger audience through their sponsorship of Ken Block and his hot rod Fiesta. If you can’t make it look as sexy as a Fisker, it’s just as worthwhile to make it seem totally bad-ass. There’s no better way to prove how bad-ass you are than with the loud squeal of tires as you clog up the immediate environment with the delicious taste of tire smoke.
And since it’s bound to appeal to teens with a taste for loud music and fast driving, parents can set the top speed governor and maximum volume as well, taking all the fun out of being a teenager with a car. But seriously, it’s a brilliant way to get teenagers excited about an economical, fuel efficient car, sponsoring a world rally racer and Gymkhana ingenue. Granted, the one you buy your kid won’t have 650hp, but he or she won’t notice the difference. This video makes me even want one, and I hate cars.
Now, for the practical stuff… The nominees were:
The Fusion features:
- Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (don’t tell your teen that)
- Starting MSRP of $21,700
- Five powertrains to choose from:
- 3 efficient gasoline engines
- 2 with eco-boost technology (combines direct fuel injection with turbocharging)
- 1 47 MPG hybrid with 188HP
- 1 PHEV expected to top 100MPGe
- Base model features a 175 HP 2.5L engine capable of up to 34MPG highway. (adjust at least 10% down if your teen drives like Block)
- One of my favorite features, below, is the light which shows how fully charged the batteries are on the outside of the car. This should be standard on all cars, as it’s easy enough for someone to walk up to an electric motorcycle and read that on the instrument cluster.
However, I have yet to see a car which makes this easy to see. As plug-ins become more popular, we’re having to fight for space at the local charging station. Plug-in owners don’t mind being unplugged when their car is full, but what’s missing is a simple way to communicate this to others who may be waiting to plug in. I had to unplug a Prius hybrid to plug the Brammo in here, and justified it because that Prius had two fuel sources.