“2017 Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in Electric Hybrid”
Refreshed Fusion Energi adds Plush Platinum trim
For a number of years, the Ford Fusion Energi Hybrid has been rated as one of the best plug-in hybrids available. That ranking could well become a thing of the past, as more and more manufacturers are producing entries in both the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid arena.
There are actually two hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion – the standard, non plug-in electric Ford Fusion Hybrid, and the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in electric hybrid. There are also non-hybrid Fusions available.
For the 2017 model year, Ford has refreshed the Fusion Energi with an exterior facelift along with some significant interior upgrades, and the addition of a more upscale Platinum model for consumers who are ecologically minded, but who also want to be pampered with luxurious features.
In terms of 2017 exterior modifications, the entire Fusion stable projects more of a Ford image with less Aston Martin influence.
There are new LED headlamps and taillamps, the front fascia is new, and features a wider, more angular grille, chrome garnishes and LED fog lamps. The rear fascia and lower decklid are also new, and the17-inch wheels have been redesigned. Interior upgrades include a restyled center console featuring a rotary-type gear selector and repositioned cupholders with more space for a longer armrest and improved open storage area access in the lower dash. Ford’s improved Sync 3 infotainment system with navigation comes standard on Energi models. Consumers who opt for the more expensive Platinum model get Medium Soft Ceramic toned, quilted leather seats and stitched, thickly padded leather in antiqued Cocoa atop the dashtop and on the steering wheel.
The Energi’s front-wheel power source remains the same with a 118-hp electric motor working in conjunction with a 141-hp 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gas engine that puts out a total of 188 horsepower. The Fusion Energi can be propelled at speeds up to 85 mph on electricity alone. The Energi’s EV mode allows the driver to limit the gas engine’s operation to only extreme power demands, as passing scenarios or in ascending steep hills.
A 7.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack continues to provide the energy for the electric motive force, drawing its charge while underway from a second motor/generator driven by the engine and from the regenerative braking system. An external electrical source handles recharging duty when plugged in to a charger. The Energi provides a larger battery pack, over the conventional non-plug-in Fusion hybrid. EPA ratings for the 2017 Fusion Energi when using both gasoline and electric power are 95 MPGe city, 81 MPGe highway, and 88 MPGe combined. For drivers who are able plug in often and who commute only short distances in a reserved fashion can enjoy incredibly impressive fuel economy. If never plugging in, the Energi simply becomes a 42-mpg hybrid, that’s no more efficient than its standard and lighter weight hybrid sibling that offers the same EPA combined rating. The Fusion Energi is able to travel 22 miles exclusively on electricity, unlike the regular hybrid.
Visually, the Ford Fusion Energi is considerably more attractive and appealing than many of its competitors. It projects a sleek, aerodynamic profile, with the upward sloping hood flowing into the sharply raked windshield, which continues over the gracefully curved cabin into the flowing rear window that culminates with the short deck and its integrated spoiler lip.
All of the car’s lines are smoothly curved, suggesting rapid forward motion, even when parked.
My 2017 Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid came in Platinum trim, with a Magnetic metallic exterior finish and a Medium Soft Ceramic interior featuring Cocoa piping and trim accents. The base sticker read $41,120. While the final tally came to $39,995. after factoring in the Destination and Delivery charge and significant Energi discounts.
SUMMARY: When driven in a responsible and sensible manner, the Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid provides a pleasantly smooth and quiet ride quality in its electric mode. Tipping the scale at almost two tons, the combined 188 horsepower in its hybrid mode is not a dragster, and, it’s even slower in the pure electric mode. But hurtling through the atmosphere at break-neck speed isn’t what the Energi is all about.
When the gasoline engine kicks in, it is a seamless transition. The tires are the low-rolling-resistance variety and place the emphasis on fuel economy rather than grip, so race track maneuvers are likely to trigger chirps or squalls, and possibly an intervention from the stability-control system. Braking seems on the sensitive side of the equation at slower speeds, but familiarity takes care of the issue. Another approach is to press the Low Gear button atop the shift dial.
The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi is higher priced than the non-plug-in Fusion hybrid, but local, regional and national EV incentives can significantly reduce the sticker price, bringing the cost more in line with non-hybrid stablemates.
The Hybrid and plug-in hybrid playing field is rapidly becoming more crowded, with several new players entering the game. The Fusion hybrid lineup isn’t necessarily the most efficient, nor do the models offer the most cargo space, but they do look good (and better than many) and they drive well, provide the latest in safety features, infotainment and technology.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Ford Fusion Energi Platinum
Base Price: $41,120.
Price as Tested: $39,995.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter –DOHC, 16-valve Atkinson Cycle inline 4-cylinder Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with ECVT auto Trans powersplit.
Horsepower (bhp): 141 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 129 @ 4,000 rpm
Electric Motor: 88kW Permanent Magnet AC Synchronous motor, 7.6 kWh Lithium-Ion battery with 35 kW Battery Peak Power. Total combined system horsepower=188 (195 in VCharge-Depletion Mode)
Transmission: Hybrid E-CVT.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front -Four-wheel, independent MacPherson strut Short/Long arm design with stabilizer bar.
Rear – Independent Multi-link with twin-tube, gas-pressurized shocks.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs with ABS, Advance Trac® with ESC.
Tires: Michelin Energy Saver A/S 225/50 R17 V mounted on 5-“V”-spoke silver painted alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Length Overall: 191.8 inches
Width: 72.9 inches
Height: 58.0 inches
Curb Weight: 3,986 lbs.
Turning Circle: 18 ft. 8”
Fuel Capacity: 14.0 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 43 mpg city / 41 mpg highway 104 city / 91 highway MPGe / EV Range=21 miles / Total Range=610 / Projected Electric Mode=85 mph
Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.