Now arriving in dealerships across Canada, the 2010 Fusion Hybrid introduces a new Ford technology called SmartGauge that swaps traditional dashboards with a customizable LCD screen.

The screen indicates how “green” you are driving by adding leaves to a tree. “The more economy driving you do, leaves grow,” said Christine Hollander, communications manager at Ford of Canada. “You can have up to maximum of 23 leaves on your tree.”

The hybrid model is also the first to feature Blis with Cross Traffic Alert, a blind spot information system that beeps and lights up indicators in your side mirrors when a car is approaching as you back up or hidden in your blind spot.

The hybrid is packed with other Ford technologies, including a navigation system, reverse view camera and Sync for hands-free operation of your cell phone, listening to music, accessing the GPS system and adjusting the climate.

Eco-friendly features include a regenerative breaking system, which takes the heat released from braking to generate power and recharge the battery.

“The fuel economy is 4.6 litres per 100 km in the city and 5.4 on the highway, which gives it a combined of 5 litres per 100 km, which makes it the best mid-sized sedan in terms of fuel economy in Canada,” said Hollander.

SmartGauge is available exclusively on 2010 Fusion Hybrid. “Because it’s a hybrid, people want to drive green … this gives them insight on how to drive more eco-friendly,” Hollander explained. Blis with Cross Traffic Alert and Sync are standard or optional features on other Ford models

Hollander gave us a first-hand tour of the car’s interior at Ford of Canada headquarters in Oakville: