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February 1, 2010
This is a guest post by U.S. News production coordinator Leandro Oliva.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the annual Washington Auto Show, where I scoured the showroom floor looking for green technology in the current and upcoming lineup of cars for the 2010/11 model year. While the auto show here in D.C. is not known to be the first place automakers unveil their new designs in the U.S. (that honor is usually reserved for the Detroit and L.A. Auto shows), there was nonetheless a very strong showing in alternative fuel and hybrid-electric models.
Among the American car makers, Ford carries the distinction of having its midsized Fusion Hybrid as the North American Car of the Year, offering a sedan with a very respectable 41 MPG city/36 hwy, powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery and a 2.5L Atkinson Cycle I-4 engine. While the 'rental car' styling of the Fusion is simply on par with the Toyota Camry and other vehicles in its class, there are thoughtful green features, such as its 100 percent "earth friendly" yarn upholstery and the use of recycled materials within the interior, which make it an appealing purchase for eco-minded consumers. Also on display were Ford's other hybrid vehicles, including those offered by its sister brand, Mercury. These include the small-sized SUV, the Escape, and its Mercury variant, the Mariner. Both models remain almost unchanged for 2010, with the exception of a few additional equipment offerings.