Friday, January 22, 2010

2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid: A Traditional Vehicle Now Sipping Less Fuel

What's New:
In addition to the Mercury Milan receiving a major makeover for 2010, a hybrid powertrain has been added to the line up.

Must Have Goodies:
This well-built hybrid, garnering up to 700 miles on one tank of gas, can be outfitted with the following safety, convenience and luxury features: a Blind Spot Information System - with a cross traffic aid, which alerts drivers of objects in its path when changing lanes or backing-up; a rear-view camera; a power moonroof; an upgraded 12-speaker Sony Audio system/CD/DVDMP3 capable featuring Dolby DAEP 5.1 Surround Sound, kicking out 390 watts; a voiced activated Navigation system; leather-trimmed seating surfaces with heat; and a rear spoiler. Some of the options cited may be offered in a group discount package. See your local Mercury dealer for details.

What Rocked:
While hybrids aren’t new to Mercury, this is the first time the middle of the road domestic brand has offered a sedan with a hybrid powertrain. Unlike the first-generation Mariner hybrid, which was available in Mercury's compact sports utility vehicle, the Milan gets Ford’s next-generation hybrid system. Thus, it puts out better gas mileage and uses a smarter climate control system which monitors the cabin’s temperature and only runs the gas engine as needed to heat the cabin.

The hybrid we tested was comfortable on road trips, both roomy and fun-to-drive, but not in a sports car kind of way. As you can imagine, the goal of driving any hybrid is to rack up as many miles as you can on one tank of gas, while attempting to drive as fuel-efficient as possible. To help accomplish this goal of fuel-efficiency, the driver can select among four information driving modes on the instrument cluster all of which have to do with hybrid power flow and fuel economy. One of the driving modes include animated leaves and branches -- the more economically you drive, the fuller your shrubbery becomes on the instrument gauge.

Unfortunately, since we had to turn our test vehicle in early, we were only able to accumulate 600 miles, with still many miles to go, before the fuel gauge warning light appeared. Too bad we couldn’t have kept the vehicle for an extra day or two to prove Ford’s theory. And while most of today’s hybrids allow drivers to operate in electric mode up to 25 mph, the Milan allows drivers to operate upward of 47 mph, before the gas engine kicks in. The longer the Milan hybrid can operate in electric mode, the less gas it will burn and the more miles the vehicle will be able to achieve on a tank of gas.

What We Disliked:
The only concerns that we had were related to the seats. Although Mercury upgraded the seats in the second-generation Milan, adding more support and smoother bolsters, the front seats still lacked adequate lumbar support for the back. And with the rear seat being fixed, we were unable to reach the cargo area via the usual 60/40 split seats available in most sedans these days.

Any Juice:
With this being a hybrid, don’t expect this to be a race horse like with Ford’s Mustang GT. However, this hybrid comes equipped with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, which is capable of producing 156 horses underneath the hood.

The Verdict:
For the 2010 model year, Ford reworked the Milan inside and out, offering a new more upscale import-like appearance. In addition to these major changes, the Milan and its sister (the popular Fusion) have added a hybrid powertrain for 2010.

So, if you want to go green, and drive a vehicle which doesn’t look like a bubble, you’ll love the new Mercury Milan hybrid. Besides the hybrid system and a few notable changes on the instrument panel, the Milan hybrid remains true to form, looking just like its non hybrid counterpart.

Pricing for Mercury’s hybrid starts out at $28,905 and can easily climb to $34,885, if you decide to add on all of the options cited in the “Must Have Goodies” section of this review. And there is an $850 tax credit available on all Ford and Mercury hybrids purchased by March 31, 2010 to help offset the price of the vehicle, since it costs slightly more than the Toyota Camry and the Nissan Altima hybrids. (The IRS no longer offers a tax credit on Toyota hybrids, since they have met their hybrid production quota).

Furthermore, the Mercury offers better gas mileage than its other traditional hybrid sedan competitors. Moreover, unlike its competitors the Milan is available with Ford’s SYNC system, which allows for a hands free, voice-activated texting and other high-tech features for driver’s to engage in, while driving. So you can have a traditional looking sedan with a hybrid powertrain without sacrificing, power comfort or room.

Hybrid Competition: Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry and Toyota Prius

To configure a Milan Hybrid or another vehicle, visit our New-Vehicle Pricing Guide, which is located in our Car-Buying Toolbox on the right side of this page.

1 comment:

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