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cmattson

2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid

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INTRO

I *always* go to the auto show; the exception being the year by son was born (he would've been 3 weeks old at the time). I end up sitting in virtually every model and make at the auto show. My 2003 Suburban has been a very trusty vehicle. It's accumulated very little miles (68,xxx), but it is starting to get old. With that in mind, I decided to make a point of looking at Ford's Expeditiion - just to get an idea of how it compares to the new Suburban (and my existing old model). Turns out I couldn't find it on the floor, so I stopped at the Ford kiosk and asked 'one of the bobos'. Turns out I was talking to Ford's auto show coordinator; fresh off a flight from Dearborn. Turns out that they didn't have an Expedition at the show; they had scaled down production with the high fuel costs and were switching production to another facility. That combo-platter meant they just didn't have one available to get to my local Mpls Auto show. At this point, he asked if he could acquire my contact info (name, address, e-mail). He wanted to e-mail me a Ford test-drive eCertificate. Take a test drive of a new Ford before 5/31 and I'd get a $50 MasterCard from Ford. I recieved the e-mail, and being a typical male, left it sitting in my archived mail folder until last Friday, 5/29.. when I visited the "North Country Ford Mercy Lincoln" dealership to test drive a Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan; which had peaked my interest from my viewing of them at the autoshow.

DEALERSHIP:

"Sales Consultant" Alex Mohanna met me walking the lot. I introduced myself, told him that I wasn't interested in buying a car right now, was interested sometime in the next 18 months, and wanted to drive a Fusion or Milan. I told him my preference was the I4 or hybrid as I have a lengthly daily commute. While he disappeared to get the keys, I walked the lot and looked at the rest of the Fusions and Milans they had. They had about 8 vehicles (total). Not sure if that's because they are selling that fast or if production hasn't ramped up, or if that's a combination of those two. Alex came back, started up a Metallic Black Milan hybrid and drove it over to where I had wandered. He hopped out and told me to look him up when I got back. He took my printed eCert e-mail and had it filed out with all of the details by the time I had brought the car back. He was pleased that I liked the car and made no attempt at selling/negotiating -- basically taking me at my word that I wasn't interested in purchasing a car right now. I was very impressed by his casual approach. Kudos to North Country and Alex Mohanna.

2010 MERCURY MILAN HYBRID:

EXTERIOR:

One of Merc's distinguishing features over the Fusion is the availability of metallic paint finished in multiple colors (black, red, blue, white). The metallic black finish of the car I test drove was particularly striking. It looked classy. Overall, the 2010 Milan hasn't dramatically changed from the 2009 in appearance. Still has the waterfall grill, but it now has more of a chrome accent. The car's styling has been refreshed, not redesigned. It you liked the appearance of the old one, you'll probably like this one as well.

INTERIOR:

The Milan had black leather seats with tan accents. Tastefully done. Comfortable and supportive. Center stack isn't anything special, but it isn't bad either. Very functional. The center stack has plenty of buttons (think: radio controls (w/sync and Sirius), driver and passenger hvac controls, heated seats, etc) and I could see where a new owner could feel that it's a bit 'cluttered', the controls are logically placed and I think that within a month of ownership, you'd have no problem navigating them. I didn't play with the sync system (sorry!). Controls have a nice feel to them and are silky smooth in their operation. NOTHING feels cheap about this car. Even the power sunroof seems to (quietly) glide open. The closest thing I could find to a 'dislike' was the plastic covering the center stack. It didn't seem cheap so much that it seemed cheap-as-compared-to-everything-else-in-the-car.

First impression of the car is 'wow'. My brother owned a loaded 2006 Milan Premier V6. It was a nice car - but it wasn't a car that felt like a true luxury car; it felt like a Ford Fusion with leather seats and a sunroof. The new Milan FEELS like a luxury car. The door shuts solidly, the lack of interior noise is one of the first things you notice. Controls glide like silk. The car is noticeably improved over the previous generation. The Milan was outfitted with Ford's object-detection system. Lights embedded in your side mirrors illuminate when someone is in your blindspot. Back up within a certain number of feet (seemed to be somewhere around 2-3 feet) of an object and a tone chimes to let you know there is something behind you. Both systems worked well; weren't intrusive and did their job w/o issue.

DRIVING IMPRESSIONS:

Turn the key forward, the dash lights up and that's it. The gas motor doesn't turn over so there is no audible que to tell you that the 'car is on' other than the dash lighting up, the radio turning on, and the air blowing. Put it in gear and it pulls ahead like a conventional gas-powered car. Stomp on it, feather the gas, slow down, speed up. Come to a stop. All of it feels normal. If it wasn't for the gauges, you'd have to really work to determine whether the engine is on or off, whether you are electricaly propelled or gasoline propelled. It's really that seamless. Truly fantastic.

The gauges make you feel like you are driving a video game - and it's fun. Dual color, HD LCD screens flank your center speedo. When you turn the car on, the gauges cascade outward away from the speedo. Cool visual. A gauge indicates if you are in EV mode or not. Another one depicts a tree. Drive frugally and the tree sprouts more leaves. Beat the tar out of it and it looses leaves. When you shut the car off, the gauges 'collapse' back into the speedo and you are presented with a report on your trip: miles, time, average fuel economy. Sounds flaky? It's actually quite fun.

The electrically assisted 4cyl seemed quite zippy. I currently drive an '06 G6 with the 2.4l - and the Milan has more acceleration than the G6 (but not considerably more). It's certainly not V6 like, but it's not a dog either. The steering is light - as you could expect from electric steering. It's very similar to my G6 - so I felt right at home navigating with it. The car is heavy with the extra hybrid components. You don't notice it as much with braking, but you can feel it push out in the corners when you take a few fast turns. It's not terrible, it's just not the hybrid's strong point.

The trunk was truncated in depth. I'm guessing the batteries are housed behind the rear seats, eating up a bit of the trunk. You could easily fit multiple suitcases in the trunk, you just aren't going to have the full space of a conventionally powered Milan, or the access that fold-down rear seats would offer you.

OVERALL:

I was *extremely* impressed by multiple things about the car. Because of the seamless transition between EV and gas and the battery having a 10yr/150k warranty on it, I'd have little reservations about buying this hybrid. Other than price, this really is a no-compromise hybrid. The fit and finish work on the car is nothing short of excellent. My expected 5-10 minute test drive turned into an hour and a half, where I brought the car home, had my wife drive it, etc. It's that stunning. First Ford I've ever thought seriously about purchasing. It feels light years ahead of my G6.

Edited by cmattson
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Forgot a couple of important details:

Price on the hybrid, as tested: $31,300. North Country Ford has it listed as $30,923.

Link has photos:

http://ncford.lutherauto.com/New-Inventory...toryId=27839798

Link to sticker:

http://fordlabels.webview.biz/webviewhybri...&orgid=3562

Hybrid gas mileage is 41/36

Conventional Milan I4 mileage is 23/34.

Is the hybrid worth it? The math probably says no:

90% of my annual 22,000 miles in highway. I get roughly 28 or 29 mpg (about 1-2 mpg less than epa) on my G6.

Figuring the the conventional I4 and the hybrid:

Conventional: 32 mpg on 22,000 miles = 687 gallons/year

Worst-case Hybrid: 34 mpg on 22,000 miles = 647 gallons/year

Best-case hybrid: 41 mpg on 22,000 miles = 536 gallons/year

As best, I'd save 151 gallons/year.

Gas at today's $2.59/g = $391 savings/year

Gas at Mpls' high point of $4.09/g = $618/yr

If you take the current $1700 hybrid tax credit away from the $30,900, you'd still have a car roughly $2500-$3000 more expensive than a loaded I4 Milan. At the savings listed about, it would take you anywhere from 4-6 years to break even.

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Ford fit, finsih, and build quality is just there.

Nice looking car, wouldn't mind a fusion for a family car myself.

Chris

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I keep pondering the 'value' in purchasing a hybrid and I think I've boiled it down to this:

Even if it takes 4-6 years to break even, most people finance and own a car for 4-5 years anyhow. Would you rather have your money go to Ford or Exxon-Mobil? Maybe a hybrid isn't such a bad proposition after all. Comments?

Edited by cmattson
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Forgot a couple of important details:

Price on the hybrid, as tested: $31,300. North Country Ford has it listed as $30,923.

Link has photos:

http://ncford.lutherauto.com/New-Inventory...toryId=27839798

Link to sticker:

http://fordlabels.webview.biz/webviewhybri...&orgid=3562

Hybrid gas mileage is 41/36

Conventional Milan I4 mileage is 23/34.

Is the hybrid worth it? The math probably says no:

90% of my annual 22,000 miles in highway. I get roughly 28 or 29 mpg (about 1-2 mpg less than epa) on my G6.

Figuring the the conventional I4 and the hybrid:

Conventional: 32 mpg on 22,000 miles = 687 gallons/year

Worst-case Hybrid: 34 mpg on 22,000 miles = 647 gallons/year

Best-case hybrid: 41 mpg on 22,000 miles = 536 gallons/year

As best, I'd save 151 gallons/year.

Gas at today's $2.59/g = $391 savings/year

Gas at Mpls' high point of $4.09/g = $618/yr

If you take the current $1700 hybrid tax credit away from the $30,900, you'd still have a car roughly $2500-$3000 more expensive than a loaded I4 Milan. At the savings listed about, it would take you anywhere from 4-6 years to break even.

i bought my tau x from north country.

i would say at 90% hwy its tough to justify the hybrid, the only thing is if gas hits 4 bucks its at least mentally a nice thing to have the hybrid.

the base milan / fusion in auto or manual should exceed 30 on the highway, maybe even hit 35, and so in that regard i think because the mpg on the base car is so good (best in class) you really aren't achieving anything financially.

if 90% of your miles were in town, it may be a different deal.

having driven an 010 fusion as well, i can vouch for your statements on the quality of fords revised twins. they are the real deal. solid and quality and refined.

Edited by regfootball
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If you're trading in a car that gets 18mpg combined, you'll also get $3500 tax credit once cash-for-clunkers kicks in.

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If you're trading in a car that gets 18mpg combined, you'll also get $3500 tax credit once cash-for-clunkers kicks in.

I am wondering if they will do this...

Chris

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having driven an 010 fusion as well, i can vouch for your statements on the quality of fords revised twins. they are the real deal. solid and quality and refined.

Agree 100%.

Chris

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i bought my tau x from north country.

i would say at 90% hwy its tough to justify the hybrid, the only thing is if gas hits 4 bucks its at least mentally a nice thing to have the hybrid.

the base milan / fusion in auto or manual should exceed 30 on the highway, maybe even hit 35, and so in that regard i think because the mpg on the base car is so good (best in class) you really aren't achieving anything financially.

if 90% of your miles were in town, it may be a different deal.

having driven an 010 fusion as well, i can vouch for your statements on the quality of fords revised twins. they are the real deal. solid and quality and refined.

The base model's mpg is good, but if you step up to the SE or SEL four-cylinder, mileage drops and it's worth considering the hybrid again. I was looking at a 2010 SE manual and was surprised that it actually doesn't exceed 30 mpg on the highway.

The hybrid is also more powerful than the base four-cylinder.

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Would you pay more for the V6 to get better acceleration?

Why not pay more for the hybrid 4 to get more acceleration and better fuel economy than either the V6 or I4?

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We have right now a beautiful dark green Milan Hybrid. It stickers for $33k.
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fusion/milan in autoblog was recorded pretty high, not sure the number exactly, but over 50? hybrids can do better than advertised mileage in many situations. if your driving habits change, hybrid will always be there as a plus in the situation. looking at it from a practicality standpoint, since a family vehicle should be first and foremost practical, there's no reason not to get a hybrid. the gas mileage will always be there to stand up for you and make costs seems artificially lower [though the outset price of the car is higher, that one is easier to forget about than the constant reminder of fuel costs]. plus the added benefit of getting a vehicle that has more fun quotient and is more engaging in a technical manner.

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My Fusion 4cyl/5-speed manual only broke 30mpg on long highway runs. About 15 of the 20 miles I drive to work is highway, and even then I only averaged 28mpg. Turning at 4000rpm at 65mph in 5th didn't help at all.

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Satty the 2010 has a 6 speed manuel, a Spanish transmission. You will like!
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Satty the 2010 has a 6 speed manuel, a Spanish transmission. You will like!

Yeah, not having a 6-speed (or a non-retarded 5-speed) was a terrible move on Ford's part. I'm surprised the take rate on the manual was high enough to justify keeping it around, the whole clutch/transmission was EPIC_FAIL. Maybe they fixed it later, since mine was an early build.

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What you really needed Satty was a car like the SVT Contour.

THAT is a drivers car....a not well known drivers car...but a great drivers car.

Chris

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Satty the 2010 has a 6 speed manuel, a Spanish transmission. You will like!

I would like very much with V6 and tight nimble suspension, yes.

Chris

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The base model's mpg is good, but if you step up to the SE or SEL four-cylinder, mileage drops and it's worth considering the hybrid again. I was looking at a 2010 SE manual and was surprised that it actually doesn't exceed 30 mpg on the highway.

The hybrid is also more powerful than the base four-cylinder.

all the four popper autos have the same engine and tranny. why would they get different mpg?

which i thought was 34 mpg highway....best in class.

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We have right now a beautiful dark green Milan Hybrid. It stickers for $33k.

in due time, there will be incentives on the 010 like every other ford fusion in the last couple years. an SE quick spec with auto that would sticker for 24k or so would prob be able to be bought for 20 grand. the cheapest hybrid wont leave the showroom for less than 27, 28k.

that buys a lot of gas.....or a nice TDI Jetta, if one is obsessed with mpg.

now if they actually lease the hybrid cheap, then maybe it becomes cost effective.

of course blu, you know where my mind is with fuel efficient cars lately.

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Yeah, not having a 6-speed (or a non-retarded 5-speed) was a terrible move on Ford's part. I'm surprised the take rate on the manual was high enough to justify keeping it around, the whole clutch/transmission was EPIC_FAIL. Maybe they fixed it later, since mine was an early build.

i test drove an 07 fusion manual SE recently. it shifted fine, and had power. what was odd, it kind of had a gear whine in 5th or something and yes it ran pretty high rpm in 5th. overally though it wasn't appalling unless the noise was a defect or something.

but yes, the 010 6 speed is much better. shorter throws, great clutch, better engine, more power, much quieter. 6th gear on the freeway very low revs.

Edited by regfootball
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What you really needed Satty was a car like the SVT Contour.

THAT is a drivers car....a not well known drivers car...but a great drivers car.

Chris

one of the most fun cars I have ever driven.

what fusion needs, a 2.5 ecoboost 4 / manual with a tight suspension and cat quick steering.

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all the four popper autos have the same engine and tranny. why would they get different mpg?

which i thought was 34 mpg highway....best in class.

SE and SEL four-cylinder autos get 31 mpg highway. The S is sort of like an XFE model - lighter wheels, lower rolling resistance tires, and I think taller final drive.

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The 2010 Fusion S has 16" aluminum wheels on 205/60VR16 all season tires and the same final drive as the other 4cyl models. Its not an efficiency model, just the price leader. The Hybrid has the same 17" tires as all non-S and non-Sport models.

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