I like this Fusion Energi largely because it’s based on the standard Fusion, a great starting point. It’s high-quality, comfortable, and looks good inside and out.
The powertrain is just OK. It drives like a "normal" Fusion, a good thing. Without looking at the instruments showing power output and such I couldn’t really tell when it was in electric-only mode, or when the engine was running or when both were working. So it’s smooth, in other words. Power is decent, sapped largely by – you guessed it -- the CVT. The ride is tuned toward comfort and the extra battery weight is barely noticeable. The stop/start works fine – couldn’t really feel it. As we’ve mentioned before the batteries do whack half of the trunk space.
My biggest beef, as with most other hybrids I can think of, is brake feel. With regenerative braking the car is just not smooth. The Energi’s brakes felt mushy and provided inconsistent stopping power. Maybe I need more practice.
I found the seats simply outstanding. I usually reserve such praise for Volvo’s seats but these are right there with them.
Supposedly the Energi goes 20 miles on electricity, though not when it’s 12 degrees out; something to consider if you live in the snowbelt.
The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid now gets an EPA estimated 610 miles of available range. While the previous Fusion Energi plug-in spanned 550-miles, the new Fusion Energi's ...
OTHER VOICES: The regenerative brakes on this car ruin the whole experience. They have about four inches of spongy, pushback feel and then they grab, hard. On slick surfaces it goes from nothing, with the little regen gauge spinning, to full antilock. I could not get used to it, though on dry ground it’s a lot less noticeable.
Otherwise, the Fusion is great. I’ve loved the look since it was refreshed in 2013 and normally, it feels like a ton of car for the money. Now, this one is $40K, so it doesn’t feel like such a bargain, but it does offer 40 mpg and 104 mpge. Of course, the Volt is about the same price, and you get 50 miles of range instead of 20.
This Fusion can go 610 miles on a full tank of gas and full battery. That’s probably way more than most people can stand in a car without stopping for food or bathroom breaks.
Like the Volt, the Fusion feels zippy with the electric power. It’s quick off the line and will hold at 80 mph on the freeway without a problem. I didn’t really notice the CVT, because I was expecting some sort of weird powertrain combo. CVTs feel much less offensive in plug-in hybrids.
It’s a mid-heavyweight at about 4,000 pounds, so it feels solid and planted over broken roads. It doesn’t skip sideways over bumps around corners either. There are no clunks from down below, and the cabin is surprisingly quiet too.
In fact, the cabin is probably the best part about this car, besides maybe the sheetmetal. The seats, like Wes said, are muy comfortable. The rotary shifter is a little weird to get used to, but it reacts like you’d expect it to. It stops at D, with the same amount of detents as a standard automatic shifter. Outward visibility is good and there is plenty of room in the back seats. The trunk space is small with the battery back there, so keep that in mind when traveling with friends.
The base Fusion starts at about $23K, the Hybrid starts at $26K, and if those brakes bother you, you may have to stick with the non-electric Fusions. At least that’s what I would do.
The Chevrolet Volt isn't the only version of GM's plug-in hybrid; across the Atlantic, the car is sold as the Opel Ampera and the Vauxhall Ampera. But is the second-generation Volt about to
I don’t want to pile on about the brakes, but stopping is the most jarring part of the Fusion Energi driving experience. It’s a little like the all-or-nothing feel of old drum brakes. Depress the pedal. You’re not really slowing down. Push a little more. Still nothing. Progress further down the pedal travel…just a bit…until at some arbitrary point, whoops, there goes your coffee.
We often talk about brakes when they’re good and linear. Well, here are some distinctly non-linear ones. I’m not sure how much of it is weather conditions, as Jake suggests, and how much is simply getting to know the car. After a herky-jerky drive home, I woke up the next morning and enjoyed a smooth, electric-assisted drive into work -- frankly, it didn’t take long for me to learn how to stop the damn thing while maximizing regen braking.
Basically, the Fusion works best if you drive like Hank Hill. That is, you gotta pretend the gas pedal (and the brake pedal) is an egg. Easy, smooth, slow, with lots of looking down the road to maximize coasting/regen time. That’s how you keep those goofball animated “efficiency” leaves growing on the instrument cluster.
Perfectly happy in traffic, at least once you’ve mastered the brake pedal, the Fusion Energi is less suited to open-road hauling. It’s not that the car lacks composure at expressway speeds, it’s just that -- if the onboard efficiency metrics can be believed -- steady-state cruising at 70 or 75 mph seems to quickly drain the onboard battery pack and cut into your overall green driving score (again, per the onboard driving coaches). So, if you’re not tapping the brakes (gently!) on a daily basis, this probably isn’t the right setup.
Once you adapt to the car, and understand its limitations, it’s more than liveable -- a testament to the Fusion it’s based on. And as much you’ll hate to admit it, when the brake coach says that (laws of thermodynamics aside) you’ve recovered 100 percent of your energy at a stop, you’ll feel at least a small flicker of accomplishment.
Is this the fuel-sipping sedan for you, though? Let’s assume you need a fuel-efficient commuter that will spend a lot of time in stop-and-go traffic or city driving. Short of brakes and the need to install a home charging station to enjoy the full benefit of the Fusion Energi’s plug-in hybrid powertrain, the only real sacrifice you’ll have to make here is diminished trunk space -- that's where the battery pack is.
Yet with green tech advancing rapidly, the whole package feels, at times, half a beat behind. If you were really intent on cutting down on those trips to the gas station, and you can make due with a slightly smaller vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt’s substantially greater (53-mile) EV range and slightly lower pricing make it the more obvious choice.
Options: White Platinum Met Tri-Coat paint including 17-inch premium painted Luster Nickel wheels ($595); enhanced active park assist ($995); adaptive cruise control w/ stop & go ($1,190); voice-activated touchscreen navigation system ($795); Driver Assistance Package including lane keeping assist, blind spot monitor w/ cross traffic alert ($1,320)
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