For a number of years, the Ford Fusion Energi Hybrid has been rated as one of the best plug-in hybrids available. That ranking could well become a thing of the past, as more and more manufacturers are producing entries in both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid arena.
For the 2017 model year, Ford has refreshed the Fusion Energi with an exterior facelift along with some significant interior upgrades, and the addition of a more upscale Platinum model for consumers who are ecologically minded, but who also want to be pampered with luxurious features.
There are new LED headlamps and taillamps, the front fascia is new, and features a wider, more angular grille, chrome garnishes and LED fog lamps. The rear fascia and lower decklid are also new, and the17-inch wheels have been redesigned. Visually, the 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, which 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 car’s lines are smoothly curved, suggesting rapid forward motion, even when parked.
The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid test vehicle came in Platinum trim. The base sticker read $41,120, but the final cost came to $39,995 after adding in the Destination and Delivery charge and then subtracting the significant government tax credits available. The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi is higher priced than the non-plug-in Fusion hybrid, but local, regional and national EV incentives can significantly reduce the sticker price, bringing the cost more in line with its non-hybrid stablemates.
The Energi’s front-wheel power source remains the same with a 118-hp electric motor working in conjunction with a 141-hp 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gas engine that puts out a total of 188 horsepower. The Fusion Energi can be propelled at speeds up to 85 mph on electricity alone. The Energi’s 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 7.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack continues to provide the energy for the electric motive force, drawing its charge while underway from a second motor/generator driven by the engine and from the regenerative braking system. An external electrical source handles recharging duty when plugged in to a charger. The Energi provides a larger battery pack, over the conventional non-plug-in 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. For drivers who are able plug in often and who commute only short distances in a reserved fashion can enjoy incredibly impressive fuel economy.The Fusion Energi is able to travel 22 miles exclusively on electricity, unlike the regular hybrid. If never plugging in, the Energi simply becomes a 42-mpg hybrid that’s no more efficient than its standard and lighter weight hybrid sibling.
When driven in a responsible and sensible manner, the Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid provides a pleasantly smooth and quiet ride quality in its electric mode. Tipping the scale at almost two tons, the combined 188 horsepower in its hybrid mode is not a dragster — it’s even slower in the pure electric mode. But hurtling through the atmosphere at break-neck speed isn’t what the Energi is all about.
When the gasoline engine kicks in, it is a seamless transition. The tires are the low-rolling-resistance variety and place the emphasis on fuel economy rather than grip, so race track 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 press the Low Gear button atop the shift dial.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
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, but it does look good (and, in my opinion, better than many other options). And the Fusion hybrids drive well, providing the latest in safety features, infotainment and technology. Comfort and convenience features abound.
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 opt for the more expensive Platinum model get Medium Soft Ceramic toned, quilted leather seats and stitched, thickly padded leather in antiqued cocoa atop the dash and on the steering wheel.
TFLCAR’s TAKE: For Blue Oval fans who are in the market for a hybrid vehicle, the Ford Fusion Energi Hybrid is a reasonable choice, unless you absolutely hate CVT transmissions.
For a more detailed look at the Platinum trim on Ford’s 2017 Fusion, check out TFLcar’s video below.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Ford Fusion Energi Hybrid
- Base Price: $41,120
- Price as Tested: $39,995
- Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve Atkinson Cycle inline 4-cylinder Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with ECVT auto Trans powersplit
- Horsepower (bhp): 141 @ 6,000 rpm
- Torque (ft./ lbs.): 129 @ 4,000 rpm
- Electric Motor: 88kW Permanent Magnet AC Synchronous motor, 7.6 kWh Lithium-Ion battery with 35 kW Battery Peak Power. Total combined system horsepower=188 (195 in VCharge-Depletion Mode)
- Transmission: Hybrid E-CVT
- Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.
- Tires: Michelin Energy Saver A/S 225/50 R17 V mounted on 5-“V”-spoke silver painted alloy wheels
- Fuel Capacity: 14.0 gallons
- EV Range: 21 miles
- Total Range: 610
- EPA Mileage Estimates:
- 43 mpg city / 41 mpg highway
- 104 city / 91 highway MPGe