For the 2017 model year, FOMOCO refreshed their Fusion Hybrid lineup with an exterior facelift along with several significant interior upgrades, and adding a more upscale Ford Fusion Platinum Hybrid model for consumers who are concerned with the environment, but who also want to enjoy a higher level of luxury content.
The 2018 Ford Fusion Platinum Hybrid moves forward, featuring LED headlamps and taillamps, a wider front fascia, a more angular grille, chrome garnishes and LED fog lamps. The rear fascia and lower decklid are enhanced as well. The Platinum edition 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 as standard fare.
Actually, there are two hybrid versions of the Fusion ? a standard, non plug-in electric Fusion Hybrid, and the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in electric hybrid. Also available are non-hybrid Fusions. On the non-plug-in side, there are four trim levels: Hybrid S, Hybrid SE, Hybrid Titanium and Hybrid Platinum.
Consumers who select the more expensive Platinum Hybrid model get Medium Soft Ceramic toned, leather seats with contrasting antiqued Cocoa piping and matte finish wood trim accents.
All members of the Fusion stable display exterior modifications that reflect more of a Ford image with fewer Aston Martin-like cues.
BLENDED POWER SOURCE
The front-wheel drive power source of the Ford Fusion 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 can be propelled at speeds up to 85 mph exclusively on electricity. The EV mode allows the driver to limit the gas engine?s operation to only extreme power demands, such as passing situations or in negotiating steep grades.
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.
Visually, the five passenger Ford Fusion Platinum Hybrid is considerably more attractive and appealing than several of its competitors, projecting 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 Fusion Hybrid?s lines are suggestive of forward motion, even when stationary.
My 2018 Ford Fusion Platinum Hybrid wore a Burgundy Velvet metallic exterior finish and featured a Medium Soft Ceramic interior featuring Cocoa piping and trim accents. The base sticker was set at $37,275., while the final tally came to $38,770. after adding for the metallic paint, rear inflatable safety belts and the Destination and Delivery charge.
The 2018 Ford Fusion Energi Platinum Hybrid provides a pleasantly smooth and quiet ride quality in its electric mode when driven in a responsible and sensible manner, Tipping the scale at nearly two tons, the combined 188 horsepower in its hybrid mode is not dragster-like, and is even slower in it?s pure electric mode. But blasting over the road surface at break-neck speed isn’t part of the Fusion Hybrid?s primary focus.
When the gasoline engine kicks in, it is a seamless transition. Tires are the low-rolling-resistance variety and place the emphasis on fuel economy rather than grip, so racetrack 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 select the Low Gear setting.
The 2018 Ford Fusion Hybrid costs less than its Fusion Energi plug-in electric sibling and local, regional and national EV incentives are available to significantly reduce the price tag even more, bringing the cost more in line with non-hybrid Fusion models.
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, delivering the latest in safety features, infotainment and connectivity technology.
Bottom line, the 2018 Ford Fusion Platinum Hybrid turns out to be an attractive, practical and acceptably efficient mode of transportation at an affordable price. Other players in Ford?s electrically-assisted vehicles include the Focus EV, the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Ford Fusion Platinum Hybrid
Base Price: $37,275.
Price as Tested: $38,770.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter ?DOHC, 16-valve Atkinson Cycle inline 4-cylinder hybrid electric vehicle with ECVT auto Trans powersplit.
Horsepower (bhp): 188 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 129 @ 4,000 rpm ? gas engine.
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 Charge-Depletion Mode)
Transmission: Electronically controlled -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 and Regenerative Braking.
Tires: Michelin Energy Saver A/S 235/45 R18 94V mounted on 10-?V?-spoke alloy wheels, machine face, with anthracite painted inners
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Length Overall: 191.8 inches
Width: 72.9 inches ? w/o mirrors
Height: 63.9 inches
Curb Weight: 3,899 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 top speed.
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.