By on March 20, 2018

Image: Ford

Squint harder. Yes, there are changes afoot in the 2019 Ford Fusion’s visage, though you’ll be forgiven if you can’t spot them from across the Lowe’s parking lot.

The automaker released images and information for the lightly refreshed model on Tuesday, ahead of its official debut at the upcoming New York Auto Show. Besides styling tweaks designed to keep things young and pert, all 2019 Fusion trim levels boast one of Ford’s new Co-Pilot 360 suite of driver assist features — even the lowly S model. For green car aficionados, the Blue Oval added an extra helping of electrons to the plug-in hybrid Energi model. Expect to burn ever so slightly fewer gallons of gas in a given year.

For now, Ford isn’t saying what others have: that this might be the last Fusion we ever see.

Evidence abounds of the model’s looming cancellation in 2020, or soon thereafter. Certainly, there was little mention of cars during last week’s product plan reveal, nor have we heard of a resurrection of the cancelled Fusion redesign program. That leaves us with this 2019 model, now living under a lowering sky, anxiously awaiting its fate.

But cheer up! There’s goodies to be had before the bad thing happens. These goodies include, appearance-wise, a new grille mesh on Titanium trims, a new five-bar grille on lesser trims, a reworked lower fascia with isolated foglights (now aligned vertically), and a lightly refreshed tail. Expect greater simplicity at ordering time, as Ford, in the interest of cost-cutting streamlining, has chopped the number of orderable configurations. Too much choice spoils the child, or something like that.

There’s also new colors and wheels, so you’ll be too dazzled to worry about the combos you can no longer have. Ford’s especially proud of its driver-assist packages, bundled into Ford Co-Pilot 360 Protect or Ford Co-Pilot 360 Assist (this bundling is itself another efficiency measure). “Protect” comes standard, and includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, lane keeping, a rear backup camera, and auto high-beam lighting. The 2019 Fusion is the first Ford vehicle to get this treatment; it won’t be the last.

Moving up to Co-Pilot360 Assist adds adaptive cruise control to the mix, as well as voice-activated navigation and SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. (The latter three features can be found on the Hybrid SEL, Titanium, and V6 Sport.) Ford’s adaptive cruise control now includes a stop-and-go feature, allowing the vehicle to, well, stop and go without driver intervention.

The volume SE model, positioned one level above base, gains new content for 2019. Gone is the old 2.5-liter four-cylinder, replaced by the 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine, and SE (and above) buyers can enjoy 4G LTE Wi-Fi  with 10 plug-in points. You can use that connectivity to brag to friends about your SYNC 3 infotainment system and 8.0-inch touchscreen, which also joins the model as standard kit. A Ford+Alexa app offers occupants the option of barking orders at the car.

Because it’s not hard to fall behind in the plug-in hybrid segment, the Fusion Energi sees a range boost of nearly 20 percent for 2019. If you’re wondering what that means in the real world, dig this: four miles. Yes, the Energi goes from an EPA-rated 21 miles of range to 25 miles. Hey, every little bit counts.

The 2019 Fusion heads to dealers this summer, but Ford isn’t willing to give up pricing information just yet.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

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36 Comments on “Spot the Changes: 2019 Ford Fusion Gains Newish Face, Plug-in Version Now Takes the Long(er) Way Home...”

  • avatar

    When I look at that side view and see those doors, the word that comes to mind is “slab”. Ford mailed this one in.

  • avatar

    Suddenly it’s 2013!!!

  • avatar

    An equivalent boost in range to our C-Max Energi would probably cut the number of trips where we use the gas engine in half. It makes a difference.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s true. Twenty or 25 miles doesn’t sound like much, but unlike with pure EVs, it’s not the end of the trip. And just as a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, every daily drive has its first 20 miles- and sometimes, not many more. The benefits of the plug-in battery don’t stop there, because it can recover and use braking energy at a higher rate than a regular hybrid. Your mileage will vary, but my C-Max’s Energi system boosts my overall 10k cumulative mileage to 66 mpg, which is more than I expected.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    It’ll be time to pour one out soon. Five full model years in and this car still stands out for having that “Germanic” solid feel and ride/handling balance. Very nice car in 2.0T SE and Titanium trims, and quite cheap lightly used.

    The pronounced and intrusive whine from the engine bay under acceleration was a bit off-putting for someone looking to keep the car for awhile, though. The brand-new one I tried before didn’t make that noise.

    • 0 avatar

      My brother loves his 2015 (iirc, might be a 16) S. So far its been quite good to him, says its far less tiring to drive on his long commute.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I don’t doubt it. The Fusion seems like a very good long distance car whether it’s interstate slab or winding two-lanes. It’s quiet, the ride is comfortable but very controlled, the steering is accurate and steady but not hyperactive, and it doesn’t fall apart in the turns.

        • 0 avatar

          Yep. I rode in a buddy’s girlfriend’s Fusion SE, I really liked the seats.

          I’m thinking of picking up my brother’s former commuter, 01 Altima GLE, to flip. Needs a distributor and I think a radiator.

          I was planning on offering it for trade for one of those Japanese Kei trucks, maybe a Kei van. Maybe using it to do a mobile oil change service around my community. Don’t really want to use big block Ford for that, LOL I’d go broke trying to keep fuel in it.

    • 0 avatar

      This is a very good platform. Two years in to ownership of my MKZ, it still impresses. It’s solid, reliable, comfortable and with the 3.7/AWD drivetrain, delightfully quick and responsive. It’s a fun car to hustle down a back road and an excellent distance cruiser. After hearing Commander Cody on the radio on one drive, I’ve taken to calling it the Hot Rod Lincoln.

      It would be a shame if Ford let this car die on the vine as they did with the Taurus. Most people might want CUVs, but not everyone does.

  • avatar

    No mention of the Sport model.

  • avatar

    The proportions of the current Fusion always made its Aston and Audi styling details seem tacked on and garish. The new catfish grill suits this amorphous blob of a car much better.

    • 0 avatar

      You hate this Ford? I’m shocked. I guess not everything can be as sexy as a beige Camry. No matter, they’ll all be in the junkyard 56 miles after the warranty expires.

      So, do you and EcoBoostFlex share expenses on all that Hateraid? I hope so.

  • avatar

    Fusion was a nice car – the best midsize Ford ever made. But 8 years without change? RIP Fusion.

  • avatar

    I’m a big fan of the Fusion, particularly in hybrid trim. Great driving sedan, quiet, ride is perfect for a sedan, handles excellently, very good brakes. It really is a superb automobile in my opinion.

    I’m glad to see it getting an update, but think Ford is absolutely crazy to walk away from the sales this thing produces.

    I am just getting way to many vibes of Jacques Nasser and the SUV-overloaded 90’s and 2000’s from Ford over the last year, and I don’t like it one bit. Even if financially getting rid of this car makes sense, I am still quite concerned that cost-cutting mentality will float around top-to-bottom, suppliers, quality control, attention to the ride and handling details that Ford generally nails better than just about anyone.

    The cost cutting (streamlining or whatever) works for a bit. Until every car in the lineup has been cost cut to death and then what? Bad-old-Ford days return!

  • avatar

    Maybe they can just start rebadging Mazdas! Sedans still make money all over the world! Helped both companies since the 80s! Cheaper developement for both, more volume for Mazda

    • 0 avatar

      Rumor has it that Mazda is teaming up with Toyota, so that’s out.

      Also, Mazda is overpriced for what it is. Ford buyers aren’t going to pay that much money for something that doesn’t have an overall advantage over the Fusion.

  • avatar

    Hopefully Ford has a full rebody for the Fusion in 2020, since they scrapped the new platform.

    • 0 avatar

      For what it’s worth, I rented a 2016 Fusion hybrid late last year while my own car was recovering from dancing with a deer. I was thoroughly satisfied. It was quiet and composed, extremely comfortable, and it made my commute (sort of) fun. It was used lightly enough that it still had genuine new car smell.

      I’m normally a Chevy guy, but thanks to that experience, if I were in the market, a Fusion would be a candidate. It’ll be a shame to see them go. They look better than just about any CUVpod on the road today.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s what I was thinking. It’s a good platform, so do a new Fusion on the same platform. So what if the roofline still looks similar. Toyota did that on the Camry a couple times. You’d think 200K sales a year would be worth it.

  • avatar

    I wonder why they never offered a plug-in hybrid version of a Lincoln MkZephyr?

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe they saw this coming.

      And for the sake of tax payers, I hope it spreads to other states.

      Without the tax breaks, there will be even fewer people wanting to buy EVs, PEVs and Hybrids.

      • 0 avatar

        The guy who bragged about his 30-year record of tax evasion (aka “working off the books”) is going to render opinions about how tax dollars should be spent? That, my friend, takes some nerve.

        • 0 avatar

          Absolutely. What you call tax evasion is actually legal tax avoidance, and millions of people do it.

          Unless you are a tax attorney enrolled to practice before the IRS, you have no idea.

          So many tax payers are overpaying when they could be taking legal deductions for their work-related expenses, or avoid having to pay taxes altogether.

          But eventually even the tax avoidance comes to an end, like when you convert retirement plans into annuities, and the stock market takes off, and you’re forced to take extra cash payouts. Now you’re talking Big Bucks!

          Man, the list is endless.

          Fortunately, my wife’s brother-in-law is a tax attorney with his own business and he is doing all our personal and business taxes.

          The word for this phase of our lives is….”Trusts”.

      • 0 avatar

        With gas prices pushing to about $1 US per liter in Ontario ($1.28 Cdn per liter for regular), I didn’t need any subsidies to justify the cost of my MkZephyr Hybrid. Especially since Lincoln didn’t charge any extra over conventional MkZephyr at the time.

        • 0 avatar

          Here in the Great American Southwest we complain when gasoline hits $2.199 per US gallon.

          I filled up the brute today (the Sequoia) before heading out to El Paso, TX, and it took 15.4 gallons.

          While 86-octane RegUnl was $2.159 per gallon, the 91-octane Premium I chose to use sold for $2.759 per gallon.

          That’s high for this area. But you gotta get gas to get where you’re going in spite of the great distances involved.

          • 0 avatar

            Today’s price for regular would be $3.75 a gallon. ($1.31 Cdn per liter, 1 gal ~ 3.78 L, Exchange rate 1.3).

  • avatar

    The Fusion is a really good car. I also remember renting a 2015 model back in 2014 when I took a road trip to Vegas for 4 days. It had the standard 4 cylinder, not the eco boost model, but the car drove well and was comfortable for the most part.

    The only issue I noticed was the transmission felt harsh at times especially when shifting from R to D. It would slam into gear violently which was shocking for a new car at the time.

    The slight buzzing vibrations from the 4 was also off putting as the vibrations entered the cabin far too easily.

    Other than that, the car has good styling and definitely has “normal” looking grill that isn’t offensive, angry or psychotic looking like the new Camry for instance which is absolutely atrocious!

    I see tons of Fusions on the road, so it would be suicidal if the company discontinued the model for the sake of CUV’s. Every automaker still needs sedans to offer for buyers that choose not to want an SUV. Less people are having kids these days too, so it doesn’t make much sense for one to own a CUV if it’s just yourself and you have no children. We need options, and it’s about giving the consumers just that.

  • avatar

    As I transition through my 40’s I’ve had my eye on Buicks and the MKZ as my next possible quiet and comfortable heavily-depreciated used car purchase. I never really looked at these, but just did and holy crap are they cheap. Will give them a look. Never driven one yet. The sedanapocolypse means I’m going to have some great choices ahead of me.

  • avatar

    Driving a 2018 SE Hybrid as a rental car at the moment. Solid car.

    Does not feel as maneuverable as the 2016 Escape I drove last week. Notwithstanding that, I think the trend towards CUVs is easy of entry/exit and perceived forward visibility. The Fusion is significantly lower hip point than the Escape. I also think visibility was better in the Escape.

    I also sat in a 2018 Accord at the Twin Cities auto show last week and was surprised how very low that car is again – think mid-90s Hondas. I’d pick the Accord over the Fusion from sitting in both drivers seats, but admit not having driving the Honda.

    Ford appears ready to go all in on SUV/CUVs, with potetnial for only the Focus and Mustang to be their traditional “car” offerings. I heard a news item on talk radio that the national average for a gallon of gas is creeping up near $3.00. AAA had done a survey indicating that the $3.00/gal price is the point at which consumers would change their driving and/or purchase habits. I know Ford has made the comment that advancements in CUVs mean there is no significant difference in mileage between a sedan/CUV, but real world results may vary and there is likely to be a perception that CUVs will get lesser MPGs.

  • avatar

    I have a 2017 Fusion SE and it has been a solid long distance commuter for me. As others have mentioned, a great ride and handling balance for a midsize sedan. Also, one of very few choices to offer power lumbar support on their mid-level trim. The massive amount of cash on the hood did not hurt either. For needs something in the segment. I can see them combining the Fusion and Taurus into one model and the Taurus name may have a bit more cache than the Fusion.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s not a bad idea. I drive a ’13 Taurus and I’m completely impressed by it (the automotive press was very wrong about it). I drove and was also impressed by the Fusion. I chose the Taurus over the Fusion, because it offered more for the same [street] price. Merge the two and you might have something.

  • avatar

    I have a 2013 Fusion in Titanium trim. Bought it as the 2014’s were coming on and the dealer threw a lot of cash on the hood to move it. So, four years in now and have been very pleased. At the time I was replacing an Accord that I had for over a decade and thought I’d just re-up at the Honda shop being quite pleased. Did the proverbial spin in the Cam-cords and then was blown away by the Fusion. Clearly a segment leader at that time…and still to this day if you go by the 2018 model Camry’s I’ve had on rental lots. Now I haven’t driven a 2018 Fusion and knowing Ford’s (everyone’s) tendency to cut more and more the longer a model runs the new ones might not be as heavy and solid feeling as mine. That being said I still say foolish not to do a full refresh and keep this model going beyond 2019. Thought I’d never come back to Ford after years away and now they might repeat old mistakes.

  • avatar

    Hey, Fusion. 2005 Ford Five-hundred called; it wants its grill back.

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