By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
Unless there is a compelling need for a specific vehicle type or model, new car shoppers are confronted with difficult choices balancing between utilitarian, sporty, practical, economical and a dozen other attributes.
Choosing from Ford’s Large Fusion Family
Ford’s Fusion offers an interesting range of sedan types, assuming you have settled on a sedan instead of crossover, convertible or coupe. The Fusion pricing starts as low as $23,090 for the Fusion S and advances to a very well-equipped Platinum priced at $37,865. Along the model spectrum there are models with available all-wheel drive and a twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 that accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds. And the list of available or standard equipment run a full spectrum with features like auto dim headlights, moon roof, adaptive cruise control, heated and cool leather seating, blind spot warning, lane keep assist, remote start, parking assist, voice activated navigation and on and on.
On the other side of the Fusion coin is the practical and economical hybrid and the even more economical Fusion Energi, a plug-in hybrid.
Stylish Styling and Quality Controls
We recently spent a week in the 2018 Ford Fusion Energi. We liked the styling and were pleased with the way it drives. The handling is well balanced, it operates seamlessly switching between propulsion modes and the ride is well controlled and comfortably stiff. The quality interior has a good fit and finish plus the controls are conveniently organized and user-friendly. The steering wheel-mounted controls are especially well-placed. We would like to see the touch screen mounted a bit higher on the center stack to lessen the time the driver’s eyes are off the road.
Plug-in Hybrid Efficiency
Ford Fusion Energi takes the Hybrid one step forward to add Plug-in efficiency. The engine is a 2.0-liter 141-hp, four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine, with an electric motor like the Hybrid. Combined, the engine and motor produce 188 hp. Basically, it has everything the Fusion Hybrid has except you can plug it in to do the major battery charging, so it doesn’t rely exclusively on regenerative braking to charge. The Energi Lithium-Ion Battery is 7.6 kWh as compared to the 1.4 kWh battery in the hybrid. The battery is mounted in the forward part of the trunk and takes up about half the trunk space leaving eight cubic feet for luggage. That gives it about 10 miles electric only range, which is one of the shorter electric ranges in the category. Buff magazine testing lists a 0 to 60 mph time of eight seconds, which is about average for plug-in hybrids.
EPA Numbers and the Transmission
One downside for us is the CVT (continuously variable transmission) which feels somewhat out of touch and is too mushy for our taste. We’d much prefer an 8 or 10 speed automatic or even a CVT that simulates shifting steps. The only way the Energi can use engine braking or to hold a lower gear is to push the “L” (for Low) in the center of the console-mounted transmission shifter knob. The 2018 EPA numbers are listed at 97 MPGe on electric and 42 mpg on gasoline only. The combination of gas and electric power extends the range to 610 miles, according the EPA estimates. Ford says that gives it the longest range for a plug-in hybrid.
The Fusion Energi is available in three trim levels with base prices ranging from $32,295 to $40,295 for the Platinum edition.
Ford’s Energi Lineup
Since introducing the plug-in hybrid vehicle in 2013, Ford has sold nearly 30,000 Fusion Energi cars in the United States. Fusion Energi is one of six Ford Motor Company electrified vehicles, including Ford Fusion Hybrid, C-MAX Hybrid, C-MAX Energi, Focus Electric and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. By 2020, Ford plans to invest $4.5 billion in electrified vehicles, adding 13 new ones to its product portfolio. More than 40 percent of the company’s nameplates globally will be electrified by the end of this decade.
A Great Time to Buy
This is a wonderful time to buy a 2018 Ford Fusion Energi because Ford is offering some excellent incentives and think of all the expensive gasoline you’ll save. You’d be getting a high quality, well-designed sedan, that gets some very good fuel economy.