I'm posting live from the North American International Auto Show today from Detroit. I know what you're thinking ... I'm a family blogger, right? Yup, I'm definitely not a car buff. But what I am is a mom with two young daughters who cares deeply about environmental issues. These issues influence the things I buy, whether it's a cantaloupe or a car. So when I got the invite to attend the show, I jumped at the chance to check out all of the car manufacturers' latest green models.

 

OK, full disclosure: The folks at Ford paid for my airfare and hotel (and they're feeding me pretty darn well, too) to attend this event. The trip came with no strings attached. I didn't have to write about any of the Ford models, but they did wake us up at the crack of dawn so we could get a sneak peek at the new Fusion. And when they told me that the plug-in version of the Fusion will get 100-plus mpg-e (miles per gallon equivalent), I really woke up.

 

Now, I'll leave the car tech stuff to MNN's car blogger, Jim Motavalli, but I will tell you about safety and family focused features of the new Fusion that I thought were noteworthy:

 

  • MPG-e: As I mentioned, the new plug-in hybrid will get more than 100 miles per gallon equivalent. That's huge, HUGE for me.  
  • MyKey: Ford feature (available on many newer models) allows parents to limit speed and audio volume to encourage teens to drive safer and improve fuel efficiency. Also reminds teens to buckle up.
  • MyFord Mobile: New app that let's you charge your car or check charging status from your phone or laptop.  Automatically charges car at off-peak times if possible, and tells you know how far you can go on your current charge based on your driving history.
  • SmartGauge: This cool new tool gives drivers real-time info about energy use so that you can change your driving habits (don't brake as hard or drive with the heat on full blast) to improve fuel efficiency.
  • LED-illuminated external charge port: This is minor, but I thought it was cute, too. The plug-in port will be lit with an LED light that gives you the status of your battery's charge.
  • Airbags and recycled seats: The new Fusion will come standard with six airbags and seats made from recycled plastic water bottles.
Still no word on the actual price of the new Ford Fusion, and that of course, is a huge factor as to whether or not I would actually consider buying this car. And the sneak peek did not include a test drive. That would be another biggie. But thus far, as a mom — a mom who cares deeply about environmental issues — I will say that I'm impressed.

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