Last year, Ford refreshed the Fusion Energi with an exterior facelift along with several significant interior upgrades. Ford also added a more upscale Platinum model for consumers who are ecologically minded, but who also want to enjoy upgraded luxurious feature amenities.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Visually, the five passenger 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. That theme 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 Energi’s lines suggest forward motion, even when parked.
There are LED headlamps and taillamps, the front fascia features a wider, more angular grille, and Ford added chrome garnishes and LED fog lamps. The Platinum edition Energi 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 select the more expensive Platinum model get Medium Soft Ceramic toned, leather seats with contrasting antiqued Cocoa piping and matte finish wood trim accents.
The 2018 Ford Fusion Energi Platinum starts at $41,305. After adding in the destination charge and options, the price comes to $43,100 before available discounts and incentives.
The power source for the 2018 Ford Fusion Energi remains the same as before. That means you get 118 horsepower electric motor working in conjunction with a 141 horsepower 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle gas engine. In total, the system puts out a combined 188 horsepower. The Fusion Energi can travel at speeds up to 85 mph on electricity alone. 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 7.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack continues to provide the energy for the electric motor. The Fusion Energi provides a larger battery pack, over the conventional 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.
Drivers who are able plug in often and who commute only short distances in a reserved fashion can enjoy incredibly impressive fuel economy. If you choose not to plug 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 2018 Ford Fusion Energi is able to travel 22 miles on electricity along, unlike the regular hybrid. The external charge port features an LED-illuminated state-of-charge indicator.
The Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in 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. It’s even slower in it’s pure electric mode. But blasting over the road surface at break-neck speed isn’t part of the Fusion Energi’s mission statement.
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 Energi commands a higher price than it’s non-plug-in hybrid sibling, but local, regional and national EV incentives are available to significantly reduce the price tag, 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 the cars look good – better than many – and they drive well, delivering the latest in safety features, infotainment and connectivity technology.
On the whole, the 2018 Ford Fusion Energi Platinum turns out to be an attractive, practical and acceptably efficient mode of transportation in a reasonable price range.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Ford Fusion Energi
|Price as Tested:
|Engine:||Engine: 2.0-liter Atkinson Cycle I-4
Electric Motor: 88kW Permanent Magnet AC Synchronous motor
|Drivetrain (Layout):||Front engine, front-wheel drive|
|Horsepower:||Engine: 141 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Combined system output: 188 hp
|Torque:||129 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm|
|Transmission:||Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)|
|Suspension:||Front: MacPherson strut Short/Long arm design w/ stabilizer bar
Rear: Independent Multi-link w/ twin-tube, gas-pressurized shocks
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel discs|
|Tires:||Michelin X Green A/S 225/45 R18 all-season|
|Fuel capacity:||14.0 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||43 City / 41 Highway MPG
104 city / 91 highway MPGe
EV Range: 21 miles / Total Range: 610 miles
|Turning Circle:||37.3 feet|
|Curb Weight:||3,966 pounds|