The new Ford Fusion - recently voted Green Car of the Year - just got greener as the US Environmental Protection Agency certified the new Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid at the equivalent of 2.36 litres per 100km.
That says Ford, makes it the America's most fuel-efficient sedan - but, given the current debate about EPA-certified fuel-consumption figures that couldn't be replicated in the real world, we feel that such a claim does nothing more than make the car (and Ford) a target for every consumer group with an axe to grind.
This is actually Ford's fifth alternative-fuel vehicle to be launched on the US market in the past year, and is expected to accelerate the company's record hybrid sales pace, including its highest monthly hybrid sales month yet in November.
The Fusion Energi has a two-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and an electric motor, with a combined output of 140kW, fed by a lithium-ion battery and will go on sale in the US early in 2013 at prices starting from $39 495 (R336 500).
The Energi is all about innovative technologies, aimed at both new and existing hybrid owners, such as SmartGauge with EcoGuide, which provides customisable displays, including instantaneous fuel economy readings and coaching functions to help drivers understand and improve optimise their fuel efficiency.
Sync with MyFord Touch offers multiple ways - including voice commands - for drivers to manage phone, air-con, navigation and entertainment functions, with additional functions for monitoring information such as battery state of charge.
EV+ combines GPS with proprietary software algorithms developed by Ford engineers to learn frequent destinations and give drivers more drive time in electric-only mode.
Nevertheless, the bottom line is likely to be how close the Fusion Energi can get to that ambitious fuel-consumption figure in actual driving. As soon as we know, so will you.