NEW YORK — There’s a lot riding on Ford’s new Fusion sedan: Not only does the company need to reclaim lost mid-size market share from the likes of Toyota and Honda, but it also needs to prove that it can appeal to consumers interested in eco-friendly hybrid and electric cars.

Ford’s off to a strong start with the hybrid version of the new Fusion, which has received a 47MPG rating from the Environmental Protection Agency for both city and highway driving. That’s fairly close to the mileage from Toyota’s Prius, which gets around 50MPG on average, and it bests other hybrid sedans like the Camry and Honda’s Accord.

“The new Fusion is part of our plan to offer vehicles with the very best quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design, and value,” Ford CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement today. “We are absolutely committed to class-leading fuel efficiency as a reason to buy Ford vehicles.”

The Fusion hybrid’s 47MPG mileage makes for simple and effective marketing. Today at a launch event in Times Square, the company had dozens of people holding up “47” signs and cheering on the figure.

Mulally joined TV personality Ryan Seacrest on stage to give away a new hybrid Fusion model, which ended up going to a speechless Canadian tourist.

To take on Chevy’s Volt, Ford will offer the Fusion Energi, a plug-in hybrid version of the car. The company estimates the Energi will see around 100-plus MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent).

Earlier this year, we got a look at the company’s first all-electric car, the Focus Electric. But where that car looked like something your grandmother would drive, the new Fusion line features an aggressive and sporty look that will turn heads.

On the non-hybrid end, Ford will offer a 2.5-liter standard Fusion (26MPG average), a 2.0-liter EcoBoost model (26MPG average), and a 1.6-liter fuel-sipping EcoBoost (29MPG average).

Photos: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat


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