Spot the Changes: 2019 Ford Fusion Gains Newish Face, Plug-in Version Now Takes the Long(er) Way Home

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • 200k-min 200k-min on Mar 22, 2018

    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.

  • Olivehead Olivehead on Mar 23, 2018

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