There seems to be a lot of Fusion going on at Ford. Since the latest generation of Ford?s best-selling sedan was totally redone from the ground up for 2013, Ford has made it available in eight different models including gasoline, hybrid and most recently plug-in hybrids.
We recently spent some time in the pinnacle model of the Fusion lineup, the Ford Fusion Energi Titanium, to see what this high mileage plug-in electric hybrid was all about. Ford is the first company to offer a model in all three of these powertrains.
The first thing that sets the Fusion apart from other high-mileage cars is the styling. This is a car that turns heads. Meet one on the street or highway, and the first thing that comes to mind is Aston Martin. The grille has a strong resemblance to an Aston Martin, and until your mind (or at least our minds) processed the fact that the chances of seeing an Aston Martin coming at us in our neighborhood is about as rare as seeing the Northern Lights. After you get past that stunning grille, the rest of car looks pretty good, too, with the swept back roof line, strong character lines and sculpted rear fascia.
The Fusion Energi may be a full-fledged ?economical? car, but the interior says sport sedan with bolstered seats and the driver-focused cockpit that feels more like something out of an aircraft than five-passenger sedan. The center stack angles out from the dash to give the driver easier access to audio, climate and communication controls and flows into a higher console which further contributes to the cockpit feel. The area also has extra available storage space.
Using cleaver design features like moving the instrument panel closer to the windshield, designers were able to open up the interior space. It?s interesting to note that the Energi model has the largest interior space of any of the Ford sedans, 103-cubic feet. On the down side, the Lithium-ion battery takes up about eight cubic feet or half of cargo space.
New for the 2014 model year, the Ford Fusion Energi is powered by a 141-hp 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine with a 118-hp permanent magnet AC synchronous electric motor. Combined, Ford rates the total sustained system power at 188-hp. The engine is coupled with an efficient Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). The electric motor is fueled by a 7.6 kWh Lithium-ion battery which can propel the Fusion on electric-only power for about 21 miles. We actually went several miles further, but we live on a hill and the car benefited from that mile-long and 200 foot drop in elevation. Conversely, on the way back up the hill it spends about four miles of range to go the same mile. Charging the battery with our 120-volt outlet took about seven hours for a full charge.
A 0 to 60 mph run takes 8.6 seconds in the combined hybrid mode and 14.6 seconds in the electric only setting. Ford lists the top speed at 102 mph or 85 mph for electric only but for obvious reasons, we didn?t try to check the numbers.
The EPA rates fuel economy at 91 mpg city and 81 mpg highway using a combination of gasoline and electricity. The combined gasoline only fuel economy city and highway is estimated at 43 mpg. On a 200 mile loop from our home, which is at about 250 feet above sea level, driving to Timberline Lodge at the 5,960 foot level of Mount Hood and back, we averaged 39.7 mpg. On a full tank of gas and with a full battery charge, the Energi has a potential range of 620 miles.
The Ford Fusion Energi is enjoyable and very comfortable to drive. The cabin is spacious and well appointed, especially the upper level Titanium model we were testing. It?s equipped with more upper-level features like leather sport seats, premium audio and other cosmetic enhancements.
For 2015 Ford has dropped the price of the Fusion Energi for 2015 by $4,000. The base price is now $37,325, including the destination charge. Adding our favorite options like Driver Assist Package, Active Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, moon roof, voice activated navigation, rear inflatable seat belts, heated and cooled front seats plus a heated steering wheel and the price goes up to $42,880. However, Ford is offering some major incentives can drop the price back under $40,000 making it one of the most economical and luxurious cars on the road.
Other Ford Fusion models start as lows at $23,225 for the S, $27,300 for the Hybrid SE and $35,525 for the Energi SE plug-in hybrid. And gasoline powered SE and Titanium models are also offered with optional all-wheel drive.