By on May 27, 2014

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Forget the Ford GT. Pay no attention to all the Shelby or Roush branded Mustangs. This car, the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi, is the true halo car for Ford. Homages to the 1960s are easy. People are willing to pay extra for an enormous engine, outrageous styling and instrumented-test bragging rights. On the other hand, a midsize sedan propelled by technology with more computing power than all the slide rules in the Apollo program and sold for a price that’s less expensive than a year of tuition at many colleges is extremely hard.

The 2014 Fusion Energi is their moonshot.

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The second-generation Fusion was taken incredibly seriously by Ford, and it’s easy to tell. I think the success and critical acclaim of the first-generation Fusion surprised the company, and in developing the follow-up they wanted to grab the brass ring. All Fusions have a solid platform that’s got a bunch of high-strength steel in it. That makes it go down the road more solidly than any other midsizer. The competition feels limp by comparison. Jack covered this quite well on a Volkswagen-sponsored competitive drive.

The Fusion Energi mangles the English language because it sounds more impressive than saying “plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.” That’s what the Fusion Energi is, though, a plug-in hybrid that delivers a few miles of electric-only driving before defaulting to tag-teaming with the on-board 2.0 liter Atkinson Cycle four cylinder. The engine itself puts up 141 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque, unimpressive numbers that are the result of the “high-expansion” nature of the Atkinson cycle that trades performance for efficiency.

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The electric side gets going with a 117 hp (88kW) motor and 7.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, and its all corralled by a CVT that sucks less than you’d expect (in at least two senses of the word) because of the electric motor’s contribution to torque delivery.  As far as hybrid system integration – the thumps and shudders that happen as two different prime movers hand off propulsion duties, the Fusion Energi is exceptional. Maybe it’s just a trick of the quiet interior, but the Fusion Energi is encroaching on the leadership of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive, the long-established hybrid refinement champ, and you don’t have to suffer with a Camry to get it. Even the stop/start function is unobtrusive, a feature that can feel like grabbing hold of a paint mixer even in luxury cars.  With the Fusion Energi, Ford has done its homework and come up with a very well-behaved hybrid powertrain that sits in a jewel of a car.

One particularly nice touch with the Fusion Energi system is that you can select between full EV mode and hybrid mode. This was pretty handy for my commute, which starts off as highway for the first 20 miles and then spends the final 20 miles grinding through stop-and-go. I loved being able to conserve the battery’s charge until the slowdown. Fuel economy, observed at 37 MPG combined, was lower than the 108/92 MPGe EPA estimates would have you believe.

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The Fusion Energi takes 7 hours to charge on 120 volts and just a couple when connected to the  additionally-available  240 volt charger that Ford offers. Consider your parking situation to get the most out of this car. There is no garage at the Braithwaite homestead, so I lucked out weather-wise during the car’s stay. Otherwise, if you want to plug it in to charge during a rainstorm, you may be in for a zappy surprise. Without a garage, forget about the 220V charger.

The rigid structure was a big surprise to me. My experience with earlier Fusions had been largely positive – it’s always been a good car to drive – but you could see the seams, the areas of cost-savings. The second-gen Fusion is impressively well-crafted. Ford fussed over everything on this car and it shows. This is an American car that’s more finely burnished than the rest of the class, even the vaunted Honda Accord.

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Yes, My Ford Touch is here, but, surprisingly, it didn’t get much in the way. Maybe I’m more used to it now, or maybe Ford’s upgrades have made it less hateful. It’s still complex, but I had more issues with the capacitive touch buttons on the center stack than I did with anything driven by the touchscreen. Not having buttons makes the designers happy, perhaps, but it makes drivers crazy. Buttons that are harder to button make drivers distracted and therefore dangerous. Everything else in the interior is very well put together to the point where it would feel at home competing with the Lexus ES. That’s hyperbole, but careful finishing and high-quality assembly are evident everywhere. I was very impressed with how few corners were cut. Ford clearly invested time and effort in designing this car, and they’re not skimping on it in the build stage, either.

Just the door seals are interesting to examine, and they show attention to detail that’s evident throughout. The leather seats are very comfortable, though like every car writer, I’ll ask for more lateral support. The things you touch are nicely finished with low-gloss plastics and soft-touch surfaces. Design, from the stitching pattern on the seats to the classy sweep of the  dashboard and door panels, is premium in the interior of the Fusion. It feels luxurious.

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The carefully-tuned ride and handling feel more like a premium car from Der Vaterland than actual German competitors. Bumps are managed by the suspension to become non-events, underscored by the quiet interior. On the other hand, the suspension isn’t overly mushy at the altar of a smooth ride. Damping is excellent, so the wheels are under superb control. Hit a corner, and even with hybrid tires the Fusion is precise enough to be satisfying to even an enthusiast.

The Fusion Energi I drove was an SE trim, and your other choice is the loaded-to-the-gills Titanium. The Fusion Energi SE starts at $34,700, and mine carried options to drive the price up to $39,500. It’s hard to fathom what else the Titanium trim carries, given that there were features on this SE press car that I never, ever used (I can park very well myself, for example.) That said, the extra five grand went for things like the Driver Assist Package, Reverse Sensing System, Active Park Assist, navigation, rear-view camera and Intelligent Access with push-button starting.

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The way the Fusion stands out from the field is different depending on what car you’re comparing it to. A Camry feels aggressively built-to-a-price, the Accord suffers from horrible electronics for infotainment, The Sonata and Optima feel like they could use another round of final tuning and integration, and the Altima is off in its own little world where tinny-feeling cars with underwhelming dynamics are okay. Surprisingly, the Chevrolet Malibu, while not as engaging to drive, has been upgraded for 2014 to be the yin to the Fusion’s swaggering yang. When you’re not talking hybrids or plug-ins, the Fusion has the Mazda 6 to contend with. It’s a great-looking car that didn’t need to lift its styling cues from Aston Martin, and it’s more pleasing to drive without feeling flimsy. But we’re talking about the PHEV Fusion Energi, so there’s really no exact direct competitor.

The long and short of my time with the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi can be summed up thusly:

Costs modestly, looks expensive, feels expensive. The additional hybrid gear doesn’t mar the experience or alter it significantly. The trunk shrinks a little (and the seats don’t fold), so you some practicality. The fuel economy may not equal the confusing window sticker figures, but it’s one of the very few hybrids on the road that’s actually a delight to drive.

The 2014 Ford Fusion Energi is great because it’s a hybrid, not in spite of it. That’s crazy hard to pull off.

 

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103 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2014 Ford Fusion Energi...”


  • avatar
    FormerFF

    What you missed out on by driving the SE rather than the Titanium are Ford’s excellent sport seats, and upgraded Sony sound system. For $1800, you get those two items, plus the backup camera and rear sensors, and pushbutton start with touch to lock/unlock doors.

    I own one of these, have had it for slightly less than three months. I’m surprised you only saw 37 mpg in your gasoline only driving, on the one highway trip I’ve made so far I was able to get 42.3 mpg, traveling between 70 and 70 mph with a limited amount of A/C. I can’t give you a measured mpg in town, as I almost never make a trip that doesn’t involve battery use, plus I’ve only put gasoline in it twice, but according to the trip computer, on the few legs I’ve made on gasoline only, I’ve been averaging 45 mpg, and that is on a car that has less than 800 miles on the engine.

  • avatar

    If they can’t put in AWD and a V6 (like the 2015 Chrysler 200), why should I want it?

    A FULLY LOADED 200’s price ENDS where the Energi’s starts.

    In fact, the loaded 200 is $hundreds$ less.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      You wouldn’t.

      Not everyone is you.

      • 0 avatar

        One thing is for certain, it’s a hell of a lot easier to get a loan for a 200 over an Energi.

        I’ll let SALES FIGURES dictate success.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          In that case, the Camry is the hands down winner.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Why does it matter if its easier to get a loan for a 200 over a Fusion Energi?

          If you want sales figures to decide, show me how well the plug-in 200 sells. If you are just talking about midsize cars in retail, the Accord and Camry are for you.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            “Why does it matter if its easier to get a loan for a 200 over a Fusion Energi?”

            I wouldn’t find it easier to get a loan for a 200 over a Fusion Energi. If Chrysler must encourage sales of the 200 with subprime loan access, that’s not exactly something to highlight.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          I don’t think you need a loan to get a 200. The dealer nearby is knocking $9K off MSRP for a 2014. Whatever spare change is in your wallet should be sufficient.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Wow! That’s the kind of discounting usually reserved for Silverados! And those Magnum things Chrysler used to sell.

            But, still, I have better uses for the change in my pocket.

    • 0 avatar
      Winston Braithwaite

      But this is the Fusion Energi. You know, the most-efficient plug-in hybrid version of the Fusion.

      So yes, a V6 200 with all the equipment is priced lower. It’s also not carrying a hybrid drivetrain.

      Sounds like you want something that this car is not.

      Given the state of turbocharged 4 cylinders, and the benefits to platform rigidity, balance and fuel economy that come from using a more compact powerplant, you can be totally satisfied without a six.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        BTSR cannot be totally satisfied unless its an SRT V8.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        I doubt that the Pentastar carries much of a weight penalty over the Energi’s 4-cyl engine, plus electric motor, plus hybrid control module, plus battery.

        Although the Energi isn’t turbocharged, since you brought it up, I’m willing to compare the cost of the extra fuel consumed by the 6 to the cost of replacing the turbo when (not if) it fails after the warranty runs out.

        • 0 avatar
          Winston Braithwaite

          That’s not the point I was making. Hybrids aside, the state of forced induction four (and three-cylinder) engines bring platform and chassis-tuning benefits without a performance penalty.

          Hybrids are a special case

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Turbo charged 4s can’t replace a v6. Until manufacturers figure that out and go back to positive displacement superchargers, even on their 4s, like gm and ford had in the 90s on their 6s, just say no to forced induction.

        • 0 avatar

          nickoo

          I believe a 4-cylinder with turbocharging which is lighter than a V6 can replace a V6 – but only if the car itself isn’t very heavy – or a class of car expected to tow heavy loads (i.e. a Wagon)

          The 2.0T in VW models and the 2.0T in the Hyundai Sonata made me a believer.

          SEE! I’m not just about big V8’s!

        • 0 avatar
          jetcal1

          Nickoo,
          Turbocharged engines by their nature are more efficient over superchargers. And when driven and maintained with a little thought are both more powerful and economical (Fuel consumption only) compared to higher displacement engines. I will grant you maintenance is higher, but I run synthetic oil anyway. (Both my turbocharged cars have gone over 150k with no T/C work, and the one T/C’d aircraft I maintain is 300 hours past OEM recommended TBO.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      Actually, you could probably get a Charger with a V8 for the price of an Energi.

      Personally, I’d rather do burnouts than plug my car in a socket.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    The unanswered question here is: what is the real advantage of the Energi over the “standard” hybrid, which is considerably less expensive and presumably has all of the virtues of the Energi (other than it’s rather limited EV range)?

    The best looking mid-size car, by far, IMHO.

    • 0 avatar
      Winston Braithwaite

      I think the electric-only capability *is* what gives the Energi an advantage over the standard hybrid.

      Being able to go 20 miles without using the engine is pretty awesome.

      I’m not personally a fan of hybrids, but I love EVs. I wish there were more EV-only range with the Energi, but the Energi has the capability to at least cut the average commuter’s fuel bill in half, if not better.

      My commute is nearly 100 miles/day (round trip) so a diesel is probably the smartest choice for me, given the mix of highway and residential roads I’m on.

      That said, the Energi, with its ability to go electric-only when the DRIVER desires is great, because I don’t have to torch all my electric range on the highway, where the gas engine is pretty efficient.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        That’s it. My commute is between 24 and 28 miles round trip, depending on the route I take. In the morning, the first five miles are slow, so I use the battery. The middle part is a little quicker, so I switch to hybrid mode. The last couple of miles are slowish, so it’s back to battery. Traffic’s worse on the way home, so I usually go battery all the way. Slow traffic is vastly more pleasant without the engine running, there’s no vibration, it’s quiet, and the torque delivery of the electric motor is perfect.

        The fuel cost of running electric is very low. Depending on the time of day that I charge, it’s between 1.5 and 4 cents per mile, with most of it being in the 1.5 cent range. Plus it’s nice to know that very little of your fuel budget is going to support oil despots.

        If you have a longish commute, there’s probably no reason to lug the extra batteries around, they’re probably not doing you that much good. If your commute is 40 miles round trip or less, and at least 20 of those miles are on surface streets, this is a good car for you.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The fact that you can choose when to use EV mode is a great feature of the Energi cars. However using the EV mode on the hwy is the better choice as the hybrid operation is most efficient in slow speed/stop and go operation, at least if you know how to drive it correctly.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I think it depends on your commute. I crunched the numbers on a C-Max Hybrid vs a C-Max Energi. My commute it too long for the sweet spot in the Energi’s EV range, and I didn’t like the lack of trunk space. I could not fit a small stroller or duffel bag in the C-Max Energi’s trunk.

      If you live in an area where the electric company will subsidize a charger, that may be another benefit. I looked into that too.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        bball40dtw: “I think it depends on your commute.”

        Very true. Or you could say, “driving profile.” My commute is too short to spend a lot of money for a hybrid. But we spend far too much time on monthly intercity travel and a value-priced high-efficiency hybrid saves us some money.

        bball40dtw: “I didn’t like the lack of trunk space.”

        A problem, to be sure. All the PHEVs take a bite out of the cargo space, except maybe the Prius PHV which just eliminated the spare tire to make room for the battery. Personally, I like having a spare tire, even if it’s only a donut good for just 50 miles. Some tire problems can’t be fixed with sealant.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          The Prius PHEV probably does a better job with its battery for two reasons: it’s a dedicated hybrid with battery storage space built in, and because it has a much smaller battery pack than any of the other PHEVs. EPA battery range is 11 miles, and I understand that during the EPA cycle its engine did come on once because of the limited amount of torque available from its electric motor. The Ford, Chevrolet, and Honda PHEVs will all go highway speed on battery only.

      • 0 avatar
        Nicholas Weaver

        I’m in the same boat. But with an 80 mile round trip and (unreliable) plugging in at work, I need at least a 40 mile electric only range at a minimum, but the Volt in comparison to the Fords is a dismal place to live.

        If it was a 40 mile pack instead of a 20 mile pack, I’d be driving one already. Instead, I might just bite the funkyness bullet and get an i3 ReX.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I think if you put this drivetrain in a small SUV you’d have something. No fold down seats and smallish trunk diminish the utility of this car.

  • avatar
    imag

    Interesting you should mention Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive as a benchmark for refinement. I always felt like it was annoyingly conspicuous in its operation. I have driven quite a few Prii, and I constantly had to try to ignore the endless shuffling between electric, gas, and regen.

    I have actually heard that the Fusion hybrid is much better, but I haven’t driven one. I am curious what folks who have driven both think.

    • 0 avatar
      Winston Braithwaite

      Well, since the Toyota Hybrids could make even Job cry enough tears to irrigate the desert, I like the Ford Hybrids (all of ‘em – CMax included) better than anything Toyota is making right now.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        WB: “Well, since the Toyota Hybrids could make even Job cry enough tears to irrigate the desert,”

        Huh? I can tell when the engine starts and stops but it’s hardly obtrusive. It seems the system constantly shifts between charging and regen but you only notice that if you have the display set to show power flow. Solution: change the display to something else.

        • 0 avatar
          Winston Braithwaite

          The HSD system itself isn’t the issue, it’s the overall feeling of “blah” an enthusiast will often get sitting in a box of mainstream.

          The Toyotas are great cars for people who don’t care about cars and actually HATE driving.

          If you LIKE driving, you’ll HATE driving the Toyota

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            I hate driving? Thanks for letting me know.

          • 0 avatar
            Winston Braithwaite

            Driving a Toyota Hybrid makes me happiest when the trip is over, FWIW.

            Great cars by objective measures.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            You do know that the Ford and Toyota Hybrids use the same basic type of drive system right? The difference of course is in the programing and Ford does do a better job of that at least in regards to hiding the fact that the engine is shutting off and starting up.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            The Camry is weak these days, but the Avalon is a good car, and isn’t any more “boring” than any of the mainstream Fords.

            The Land Cruiser, Tacoma, and 4Runner are also fun in their own way. Then there is the FR-S and the handful of F-sport Lexuses.

            Honestly, I don’t think it’s cool to throw the “you must hate to drive and don’t even like cars!!!” shade at Toyota owners. Especially when we’re talking about a Fusion and not a Lotus or RX8 or something.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I’ve not driven the Toyota, but I’d say the Fusion’s drivetrain is nearly seamless. If the road you’re driving is rough, or if you’re at highway speed, you’ll need to check the energy monitor to tell when it switches from electric to hybrid.

    • 0 avatar
      stodge

      I have to agree – I have a 2012 Camry Hybrid and the start/stop feature is intrusive, sometimes very much so. The engine vibrates for 20-30s before the engine switches off, kinda like a rough idle. For me, the worst part is when I’m driving in the 60-80km/h range in traffic. This is usually the range where the engine will start and stop when I’m at a near constant speed. So the engine has to start and stop very frequently as I lightly regulate the throttle to match driving conditions. Very annoying as each start/stop isn’t smooth. On the other hand, the torque is fantastic – I can wheel spin with eco mode switched off while acellerating up an on-ramp at 50km/h. And I can drive fast (not stupidly so, just to keep with traffic instead of hyper-miling) yet still get excellent economy.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    This car is mediocre at best. Styling is a mess, interior lacks refinement, it’s been recalled many times, and it’s just another appliance in a sea of white refrigerators.

    Ford got a good, solid base hit with this car…..Honda got the home run. The new Accord is a FAR better car in every single way. Maybe now with Big Al gone, Ford will be allowed to make the Fusion compete.

    • 0 avatar
      Winston Braithwaite

      Have you driven them both?

      The Accord is very good, that’s for sure, but the Fusion left a more premium impression than the last few Accords I’ve been in. I would also MUCH prefer the Ford infotainment than Honda’s complete mess of a system.

      Disagree that the Accord feels any more refined interior-wise.

      Recalls – well – would you prefer they cover it up, instead?

      • 0 avatar
        Z71_Silvy

        Ford already has a long history of doing that. There is so much swept under the rug over there it’s insane.

        Another fantastic reason to see Big Al leave.

        • 0 avatar
          drw1926

          Z71, biased much? And you’re really going to go there regarding things getting “swept under the rug”, especially in light of GM’s current f*ck-ups? You’ve got chutzpa, if nothing else.

          You sound like a Chevy fanboy who’s jealous seeing favorable comments regarding a Ford vehicle, so you countered it with basically “everything about the Fusion sucks”.

          Alan Mulally is the best CEO Ford has had since forever. I’m not sure what your hard-on is with seeing “Big Al” leave.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        What about those of us who don’t care about infotainment because we hate the distractions when we’re driving?

        I don’t usually use the radio, don’t bother listening to music, and if I can’t operate the climate controls blind then I think they’re poorly done. I don’t like the idea of touch screens to take my eyes off the road.

        I realize that would make me nearly as unusual a consumer as BTSR, but really, I don’t want endless sat nav options, don’t care about satellite radio, don’t want text messages read to me when I’m driving, and don’t need to do internet searches when I’m driving (I already figured out where I was going before I turned the car on).

        I realize this has no point as a rant and will stop now, but I just wanted to note that some of us hate infortainment systems, we’re not luddite senior citizens, and we do actually purchase cars.

        My own idiocy aside, the review was nicely written, and the rest of it was insightful, so thanks for the good work!

        • 0 avatar
          Winston Braithwaite

          You’re not alone. I like systems you can operate without having to look. They’re becoming harder and harder to find, and I don’t think they’re the mark of “cheap” cars or something.

          Elegant design is worth a premium. What we have right now is overly complex design that’s actually detrimental to driving and being priced at a premium.

          That said – as someone who’s evaluating cars against their peer group, I have to consider what the other players in the same class are doing.

          On that note, some infotainment systems are better than others – MyFordTouch isn’t my first choice, and more galling, I would NEVER opt for the touch-capacitive buttons that only half work. That’s flat-out hazardous, IMHO

        • 0 avatar
          LALoser

          Agree with J Sushi and Winston. Have you seen the number of buttons on a steering wheel these days?

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      THe Plug in Accord styling is the worst of all the Accords. That said C&D found the following about the Accord vis a vis the Fusion E:

      1) Accord is quicker 0-60 7.7 v 8.6

      2) Accord gets better mileage, electric or gas

      3) Accord is faster through the slalom

      4) Accord has higher skid pad numbers/better roadholding

      5) Accord stops better

      6) Accord is much quieter

      7) Accord costs less

      8) Accord is direct drive, Fusion is CVT.

      Last time I looked the Accord outsold the Fusion 2-1 among retail buyers. The Fusion outsold the Accord something like 20-1 or more among fleet buyers.

      That said I’d take the Accord Hybrid, which is a much better value and overall winner of 2014 Canadian Green Car of the Year.
      http://www.canadiangreencaraward.ca/

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        The plug in Accord is in limited production and is only sold in two states. The base price of an Accord plugin is $5000 more than a Fusion Energi SE, and $3000 more than a Fusion Energi Titanium. Despite having similar sized batteries, the Fusion can go approximately 50% farther on electricity only than can the Accord PHEV. In that same Car and Driver comparison, C&D’s editors preferred the Fusion.

  • avatar
    michal1980

    currently leasing the cmax energi. this last tank I’m over 800 miles without gassing up. I dont have a light foot so my actual mpg’s currently suck.

    For my typical day to day tasks the 20 mile range is good. I can get to work, target, homedepot, etc on a charge. A 40 mile range however would cover 90%+ of my trips. so far no real issues, a seat sensor somehow got pulled free so it went for service, but thats minor.

    Doing far better then the regal gs I got rid of after 16 months.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “Doing far better then the regal gs I got rid of after 16 months.”

      I’m interested in the GS. Would you mind expanding on your experiences?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I would be too. I can usually spot the GM value buys but I’m thinking the Opelfied Regal is fools gold.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          “…but I’m thinking the Opelfied Regal is fools gold.”

          Pourquoi?

          They don’t seem to be a great value when purchased new, at least according to MSRP, but they really come down to reasonable levels after 18-24 months.

          Personally, I think they’re priced too high from jump. That depreciation drop kinda bares that out but many who could’ve ended up with something else got a GS and are happy with the decision.

          Please divulge what you know about the car formerly known as the Insignia. After all, we’ve got ways of making you talk.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I honestly have not heard nearly a thing about them good or bad. The only anecdotal bit of data I have was from the GM techs when I was at the dealer last spring to look at Verano. The two of them (one late 20s/30s and a much older gentleman) complemented my Grand Prix and “wished the new Buicks were as reliable”. I asked what was wrong with the new ones, evidently the “new ones” were frequently in for warranty work, usually engine or computer related. I asked if they were the turbo models to which the both replied “mostly”.

            I don’t run into many wholesalers anymore but the two I occasionally talk to have told me in terms of Buicks they mostly deal with older ones, but of the new crop only Lacrosse and Enclave. I asked about Regal and they just don’t seem to be buying/selling them. I agree they are incredibly overpriced from the get go and even the 15s/16s they do 2yo is still too rich for my blood. V6 Lacrosse trades for nearly the same, which would you rather have as a Buick aficionado?

  • avatar
    mars3941

    You write how great the Fusion is regarding body structure, fit and finish, handling and drive ability yet you tear apart the big brother Lincoln MKZ to the point where Ford was so pissed off I read they wouldn’t let you have access to anymore of their products. What is with you people? Just because you don’t care for a particular car or model you report on it based on your personal negativity rather than the positive features of that particular car itself. We have 2 MKZ’s in our family, one’s a hybrid the other with the V6 and find both outstanding automobiles.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The scathing review of the MKZ was written by Derek, not Winston.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I don’t doubt the Lincolns are fine cars. But are they $10k or $20k better than a Fusion? If not, why not just own the Fusion?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Bingo. The only reason to own one over the other is lack of V6 in MY13+ Fusion and the fact the earlier V6 was a rarity.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I test drove and priced out both. If you compare features, there is more like a $2k-$5K difference in price. When I looked at lease prices, they were within $15 of each other on a montly basis. If I were going to buy a Fusion Titanium and load it up, I would just buy an MKZ. The interior materials are nicer, as are the seats. For $3000 more than a loaded Fusion Titanium, you can buy an MKZ with the 3.7L V6. That would be my choice, and without the panoramic moonroof.

        With comparable equipment the Fusion Titanium is $38K before discounts and the MKZ V6 is $41K.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “With comparable equipment the Fusion Titanium is $38K before discounts and the MKZ V6 is $41K.”

          I can’t decided which one of those figures is more ridiculous. Prob the Fusion as the previous MSRP was like 38 for Zephyr, and they would be doing 21K in a year.

  • avatar
    Marko

    A dealer is offering $199/month leases on the Energi in my area (with about $2,500 down) in my area. I’d be seriously tempted if I were in the market.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    “Everything else in the interior is very well put together to the point where it would feel at home competing with the Lexus ES. That’s hyperbole…”

    No, it isn’t. I’m not a Ford fan, but I did find the Fusion Titanium to be about on par with the Lexus ES.

    • 0 avatar

      I found that Regal GS has a nicer interior than Fusion Titanium but bought Titanium for other reasons. MKZ also has higher quality interior than Titanium but I am sure it is better than GS. I would by MKZ but like how Fusion is designed better. When turbo kicks in Fusion is very fast and stable. Hybrid and Engergi are too slow for me. I actually test drove MKZ Hybrid and it sucks, because it is slow and noisy. May be Fusion is comparable to Lexus (which I never considered), I do not know but doubt that quality of materials are better.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    I would definitely choose the accord plug in or better yet, the accord hybrid over this due to its superior drive train layout. However it is still a very nice car.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    What is electric only range in the real world?

    Curious.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      When I was driving one, I would get 18-20 miles of EV range. I would drive in EV mode when I drove my daughter to daycare and then onto I-75, which would be stop and go. When I got on I-696, I would turn EV mode off, then turn it on again when I got off the freeway. If that was my everyday commute, I would buy a Fusion or C-Max Energi. Unfortunetly, I have to drive to Flint, Saginaw, Bay City, Toledo, and Northern Michigan on a regular basis. The hybrid does much better on those drives.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Totally depends on the average speed and use of climate control. I figure 22 miles is a good average. If it’s cold, you’ll get less depending on how cold it is, and using electricity to heat the car can reduce the range by 20%. Since the engine produces waste heat, you’re better off using some engine power during your drive if it’s in cold weather. A/C is less demanding of the battery, particularly once the cabin is at a normal temperature.

      In cold weather, I use the preheat function to bring the car’s interior up to temperature before I leave. During the first four or five miles where I’m on battery only, I use the seat heaters, then in the middle of my drive since I use the engine anyway I use the cabin heat the rest of the way. Once the engine is warm it provides heat for quite a while even if you are on battery only. On the way home, if the day is sunny I usually only use the seat heaters, if not, I use the engine at the beginning and middle of the trip. The extra engine use uses more fuel. In the summer I can make the 28 mile round trip on .15 gallons (plus the battery), when it’s cold both ways it’s more like .22 gallons.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    There is no danger of plugging in the 220v power cord. Just like EVs the 220v conductors are not live until it is plugged in, the car communicates with the wall unit and tells the wall unit to energize those conductors. The wall unit is not a charger it is just a smart switch controlled by the car.

  • avatar
    carguy

    While an EV only mode is very cool it is also a very expensive upgrade that is even more unlikely to pay off than a hybrid powertrain. I like the Fusion but when optioned to nearly $40K it really is a very nice $24K car with $15K worth of options.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Payoff for my driving profile, without the Federal tax incentive, figuring gasoline at $3.50 per gallon and electricity at current prices is a little more than six years. With the incentive it’s about three.

      Electric miles are very cheap.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I drove a Fusion, granted it was a couple of years ago. I found it to be as appealing as driving a Camry. I use the Camry as my ‘standard’.

    I’m a fan of hybrids and EVs. But, I totally disagree with the amount of tax dollars thrown at them. Globally.

    Hybrids are more restrictive for use than using a diesel. If you live and drive in a very urban environment they would suit. EVs as well.

    As the author pointed out the car was only good because it sat in a freeway parking lot for 20miles.

    The Achilles heel for these vehicles is longer distance and higher speed driving. This unfortunately makes EVs and hybrids not the best choice for most of the driving we do in Australia, US or Canada.

    I do give Ford credit for this vehicle. I just hope the costs of this vehicle is fully passed onto the customer, so no one is subsidising this vehicle.

    It seems the future of the motor vehicle will be tailored very much to exactly how many miles you need to drive to and from work everyday.

    If you need to operate outside of the ‘box’ you’ll have to find an alternative way of travel.

    It almost sounds like public transport.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Did you drive this Fusion or the previous generation? The 2013 model year was its first year.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @bball40dtw
        I might heading over to the States in a few weeks, I’ll go out and hire one.

        It will be interesting to see how they perform.

        I’m not a big fan of US chassis and suspension tuning, or lack of.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          You won’t find a Fusion Energi at the rental counter, maybe you might find a regular hybrid but it is highly unlikely to find one of those at the rental counter either.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Hybrids are not more restrictive in their use than diesels. In fact if anything they are less restrictive since there are still some stations out there that don’t offer diesel.

      The reality is that in the US despite the fact that we have a vast network of highways the average person does more time at lower speeds and in stop and go traffic where a hybrid shines. With a modern diesel that meets 2010 US emissions standards a diesel stinks in stop and go traffic since idling and low speed operation requires more frequent and/or longer DPF regen cycles. For example my car which will display its average speed typically shows 32-33 MPH.

      If you want to see that a hybrid is more cost effective than a diesel in the US you only need to look at the Jetta which is available in hybrid and diesel versions as well as standard and forced induction ICE variants. The Hybrid despite the fact that the VW hybrid system is far from state of the art is far more efficient than the diesel.

      A friend of mine had a 2010 Jetta TDI and his average MPG was 42.5 which he concluded cost about the same as a gas engine that got around 38 MPG based on a multi year analysis of the price he payed for diesel and the price paid for gas for his wife’s SUV. Meanwhile my wife has a 2010 Fusion Hybrid that in the summer averages 41.5 MPG on cheaper regular gas and that is with about 60-65% hwy miles. In the winter it does drop down to 37.5 MPG. So operating the Fusion Hybrid with more freeway driving than average is more efficient than a VW diesel.

      No matter how much you wish it diesel is not an efficient power choice for cars and light trucks in the US even if it is in your part of the country.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Scoutdude
        Geez, the way you are talking you’d almost think you wish V8 pickups didn’t exist and everyone in the US live in an urban environment and should drive a best a Smart car or Prius and maybe even a diesel midsize pickup. Those darn full size 1/2 ton pickups are just too big ;)

        Consistent?

        I beg to differ with you. There are diesels out there doing better than many EVs, this would indicate a diesel will have a hybrid for breakfast.

        A friend of mine his son worked for Toyota and told me that a guy lived in Newcastle, and worked in a northern Sydney suburb which was around 130km away.

        He owned a Camry and also bought a Prius. The wife was supposed to drive the Camry locally in Newcastle for work and him the Prius to Sydney for work. This was probably to save the environment and save on petrol money.

        In short it didn’t pan out the way he thought. The Prius ended up using more fuel than the Camry on the Newcastle to Sydney run down the Freeway.

        I rented a 1.4 diesel Yaris in France last year and averaged 5 litres per 100km. I drove in the Pyrenees, autoroutes at or over 130kph and around cities, villages and rural roads.

        5 litres per 100km is around 56mpg a Prius doesn’t achieve this, especially freeway driving. It doesn’t have all of that unnecessary electrics and crap that costs a fortune to buy and maintain. I think in the medium term we should encourage more diesels by having a fair regulatory regime.

        You see hybrids and EVs are great. But we don’t need to re-invent the wheel yet. Diesels more or less run on existing technology, I would think this would be cheaper than a EV or hybrid.

        The expensive costs of these feel good vehicles is actually very apparent with the socialist rebates when buying one..

        Gas engines emit to many particulates in comparison to a diesel, actually around 10 times more as well as having a higher CO2 footprint as well for the same level of performance.

        I can for see diesel becoming a better and cheaper option in intitial cost and FE than a gasoline Hybrid or some EVs.

        For vehicles I think the taxes, rebates, regulations, etc should be equal between all form of energy.

        Real and true competition. May the best vehicle win.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          I never see the diesel becoming better and cheaper in initial cost and FE than a gasoline Hybrid and certainly never than a EV, in the US.

          You can’t compare what a euro diesel that is smaller than a regular Prius gets for MPG. The Prius C in US spec will get 50+ MPG on the hwy and with fuel prices in the US that will have a lower fuel cost than a Yaris that gets 56 MPG on diesel if it could get that MPG still meet US emissions standards.

          The Ford/Toyota Hybrids do not cost a lot to maintain, in fact they are cheaper to maintain than a standard ICE powered vehicle. The fact is that for the second generation of Prius that we got in the US there are many owners who have gone over 200K with doing nothing more than oil changes and tires, not even having to touch the brakes thanks to the regen braking. Yes the earliest versions did have problems with battery packs and a fair number of them did have their transmissions fail, but once the bugs were worked out they have proven to be the most reliable and require the least amount of maintenance and repairs of any vehicle sold in the US. Compare that to the VW diesels the most common diesel found in the US and you’ll find owners who have spent more on just fuel filter replacement than Prius owners have spent on all their maintenance combined.

          I am all for choice and if someone wants to spend extra money to be tortured in a less than full size truck, or pay through the nose to save money on a diesel powered car then I say let them do it.

          I drive what I want and that means a fleet of gas V8 powered vehicles for me. From my full size F350 to my compact pickup a Scout II to my Panthers. For my wife’s car however a mid size car is the right vehicle for her. Of those that meet her needs and desires the clear winner was the Fusion in Hybrid form. Her car gets driven about 30K per year so since we could get a car that consistently gets 40 MPG in her driving and will go 200K w/o anything more than a set of spark plugs, fluid changes and tires it was the lowest cost option.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Scoutdude
            That’s why I like debating people like you, DiM, Pch101, you guys never relent.

            The diesel regulations in the US are a trade barrier and to promote gasoline, even though gasoline emits 10 times the particulates of a diesel.

            Your diesel is of a lower standard which makes it more expensive to meet your emission requirement.

            This is akin to stating we cut our log to within a few thou and use a micrometer to measure our logs, but all you have is a chainsaw to work with.

            Now you can see why I and how I look at the insular US emission regulations.

            They are like your safety regulations, different but no better and maybe even worse in some instances.

            It’s called spin.

  • avatar
    CapVandal

    I rented a Fusion Titanium for a week, and was surprised with the quality. I would have never thought of considering one prior to my rental experience — my local Enterprise pretty much gives me one of their handful of vehicles on premises, and they usually have one that is pretty nice. The infotainment system was confusing — but there are a lot of controls that can be operated from the steering wheel, which is better then buttons. Right now, I listen to one or two radio stations and an iPod, and should be able to figure it out in a couple of hours with the manual. Like everyone else, RTFM is a last resort.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Otherwise, if you want to plug it in to charge during a rainstorm, you may be in for a zappy surprise. Without a garage, forget about the 220V charger.”

    All incorrect statements. Guess what: the mfrs thought of this. How do you think outdoor chargers work safely without killing EV drivers every day? I’ll even wash my Leaf while it’s plugged in.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    Wow. This review is a complete joke. No where does it mention the Consumer Reports last place reliability in Fusion Hybrid, CMax, and CMax Energi. Since Fusion Energi is almost the same, it should have the same reliability score.

    Talk about stupid … spending 40K on a Ford that has the worst reliability known to exist in the hybrid marketplace. Sounds like 40K down the drain. Imagine the resale on something that scores that low in Consumer Reports.

    Just think … a Camry Hybrid can be had in the low 20s … top reliability and resale. But, who would want to “suffer” in a reliable Camry Hybrid when you can get a far less reliable Fusion Energi for nearly twice the price.

  • avatar
    tsofting

    Great review, but a slip with German grammar. It should be “Das Vaterland”, not “der Vaterland”.

  • avatar
    redav

    “All Fusions have a solid platform that’s got a bunch of high-strength steel in it. That makes it go down the road more solidly than any other midsizer.”

    The purpose of high strength steel is to use less steel in the structure to save weight. However, that does not make it more rigid–without any other change, it would actually increase flex, even if it is stronger.

    Strength describes a material’s resistance to permanent deformation, not its resistance to deflection. To get a more rigid (i.e., solid) car, either the materials needs to be stiffer (I honestly don’t know if car makers are using alloys with higher moduli) and/or change the shape/configuration of the structure.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    I’d like to see the next gen of the Fusion Energi, Accord PHEV, and Volt compared, where all manufacturers finally have purpose-built platforms to handle adequate batteries without impinging on interior room.

    I’d also like to see 40kWh usable, which can drain 3-4C constantly along with an 8-10C ‘boost’ mode, powering at least 200kW-combined-capable rear motor(s) to do thru-the-road AWD.

  • avatar
    CoffeeLover

    Winston, thanks for your detailed and thoughtful review. And lots of useful comments from the B&B.

    I am a Ford retiree, so my choices are constrained to company, by my own preference. That said, all the discussion about the various Fusion models and options and the MKZ is very useful to me, as I will be purchasing soon.

    I am unlikely to choose the Energi, as I don’t drive a lot (only 100 miles some weeks) and when I do it is mostly highway. I can also avoid most heavy traffic. And most of all, my electricity here comes from burning Wyoming coal. Not a green power source, although admittedly cheap.

    If anyone has used the parking assist and Driver Assist Package, I would be interested in feedback. A combination of glaucoma-caused loss of some peripheral vision (I just this month passed the DMV’s test, though) and arthritis in my neck makes [all but pull through] parking and lane changes painful, if not scary. Thanks in advance.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I have used the Parking Assist feature on a number of Ford and Lincoln products. It is very easy to use and works very well, even on our gigantic MKT. You press the active park button, find a spot, drive past the spot, put your foot on the brake, put the car in reverse, and follow the instuctions. Done. Soon Ford will be adding angled and perpindicular park assist to its vehicles.


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