Ford doesn’t want Mercury dealers to sell Ford-branded models but the brand’s uncertainty has dealers thinking otherwise

Ford doesn’t want Mercury dealers to sell Ford-branded models but the brand’s uncertainty has dealers thinking otherwise

Debuting alongside the new Ford Fusion at this week’s Los Angeles Auto Show will be its Blue Oval corporate cousin, the new 2010 Mercury Milan and the Milan Hybrid. Featuring new styling inside and out, plus a range of updated engines, the latest 2010 Milan is set to arrive in showrooms in the first half of next year.

The changes to the exterior design were focused on the grille, and front and rear fascias. The chin was pulled forward and the fascia was pulled down to give the car a wider and sportier look.

The current car’s two-tone look on the interior continues as a Milan signature, with satin-aluminum accents and a wood finish around the center stack. An improved seat design with a new perforation pattern has been added as well. The seat contour itself was revised, with more side support to help create a softer seat overall.

Powering the car will be one of two new fuel-efficient petrol engines, a 2.5L Duratec four-cylinder with 175hp and a 3.0L V6 with 240hp. Milans equipped with four-cylinder engine are expected to deliver at least 3 mpg better on the highway than the Honda Accord and 2 mpg better than the Toyota Camry.

Also new to the range is the Milan Hybrid, which features a 155hp 2.5L petro four-cylinder mated to an electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission. Like the Fusion Hybrid, on which it is based, the new Milan Hybrid offers class-leading fuel economy – beating the Toyota Camry Hybrid around town by up to 5mpg – and comes with the new SmartGauge and EcoGuide fuel-efficient driving aids.

SmartGauge with EcoGuide features two, high-resolution, full-color liquid crystal display (LCD) screens on either side of the analog speedometer that can be configured to show different levels of information, including fuel and battery power levels, average and instant miles-per-gallon.

The advanced powertrain allows the Mercury Milan to operate longer at higher speeds in electric mode. The hybrid vehicles can operate up to 47mph in pure electric mode, and a single tank is expected to carry the car more than 700 miles around town.