That performance beats both the comparable Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. The Fusion's fuel efficiency gain is part of an overall commitment announced by Ford last fall to be the best in class, or at least competitive, on fuel economy with new vehicles in every segment.
"We are making good on that pledge with hybrids, new high-tech gasoline engines, new six-speed transmissions and other fuel efficient technologies," said Barb Samardzich, Ford's vice president of powertrain engineering.
Ford also improved the overall performance of the four-cylinder Fusion, Samardzich said. The 2010 Fusion will have 175 horsepower, 14 more than the 2009 version, and increased torque.
"We set out to improve everything on the vehicle," Samardzich said. Ford said the base price for the Fusion S will be $20,870, not counting destination and delivery charges. It's expected to go on sale this spring.
In December, Ford said the hybrid version of the Fusion was certified by the EPA at 41 m.p.g. in the city and 36 on the highway -- making it the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan in the market.