EV Review: 2017 Ford Fusion Energi
There’s a Ford Fusion for virtually any car buyer. Strictly gas-powered has several options. The Ford Fusion Hybrid has been around for a while. And the most recent edition is the Ford Fusion Energi, a plug-in hybrid gas-electric midsize sedan. In its segment, there are very few direct competitors, so the Fusion Hybrid, with little to compare the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi to directly, it must perform strictly on its own merits.
In that aspect, it’s a mixed reaction. The Fusion Hybrid has a fantastic extended range with its combined gas and electric motor, cruising up to 610 miles before requiring a pit stop for petrol. Like the rest of the Fusion family, it is a comfortable ride that can even be described as spirited. But as a midsize sedan, there’s an expectation of cargo capacity for those long-range trips, and the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi falls short.
There are plenty of really great components to the Fusion Energi, and it’s far from the bottom of the pack. Yet, the increased battery size obviously impacts its function as a midsize sedan, and that’s something that can put a damper on one of the key pain points for midsize car shoppers.
Unless you notice the round charging port door or the light ring around it when it’s charging, there’s a high likelihood you’ll miss the fact it’s a plug-in hybrid. The styling is precisely like the rest of the Fusion lineup, and that’s something to appreciate. There are no gaudy blue trims or bizarre shapes; just a classic midsize sedan appearance. It comes in three trims: SE, Titanium, and Platinum, all of which are well-equipped with nice alloy wheels and bits of bling for trim.
LED fog lamps, LED signature lighting, and LED headlamps are standard on the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi. Ford’s athletic appearance for the Fusion lineup continues, including an attractive chrome grille and body-color door handles. It would be a nice touch to add puddle lights as well, but it’s a good-looking car as it is. The Fusion Energi Platinum does add a trunk lid spoiler, a slight differentiator on the exterior.
It’s no surprise that the Ford Fusion Energi is well put together. The Fusion has been around for a few years in its current design, and the 2017 Fusion Energi benefits from that history. So, let’s first address the one major issue: trunk space, or lack thereof. With the much larger hybrid battery, the 2017 Fusion Energi loses the most important difference between it and a compact sedan. Slashed in half, it accommodates just 8.2 cubic feet of trunk room, down from 16 cu. ft. in the gas-powered Fusion.
Trying hard to make up for it is the Fusion’s interior and equipment. The SE trim has great fabric upholstery while the Titanium and Platinum trims both receive high-grade leather surfaces. Rain-sensing wipers, Lane Keeping System and Blind Spot Information System, as well as Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go are available on SE and Titanium and standard on Platinum. Infotainment is done particularly well with a Ford SYNC 3 system that includes hybrid-specific displays. On all trims, a rotary shift dial replaces the traditional shifter.
It’s a midsize sedan with true seating for five adults comfortably. For connected folks, there are three 12V power points and a 110-volt outlet, and several USB plug-ins for charging.
The gas-powered Fusion is a decent performer, even with the four-cylinder engine. So, it’s expected the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi would be the same or near to it. It isn’t. The Fusion Energi suffers significantly due to its excess weight; the junk in the trunk that gives it 21 miles on electric power. Tacking on 550 pounds of battery, the Fusion Energi feels bulky and cumbersome, and out of balance. The electric motor torque feels good off the line and at low speeds, but there’s nothing to support the acceleration.
Steering is mushy and dead, with electric power steering that overcompensates. Its brake pedal, with regenerative braking, is alarmingly soft. And with the extra burden of weight, the stopping distance can be troublesome too.
It’s not a terrible car to drive – far from it. It’s just expected that in its fifth year in production, the kinks would be worked out of the Fusion Energi’s performance already. For example, the interior is quiet and the vibration is minimal. Its acceleration is refreshing, and you feel confident in the driver’s seat. It’s just the steering, handling, and braking that could use some attention from the engineering floor.
|Electric Range||21 miles / 34 km|
|Total Range||310 miles / 981 km|
|Time to Charge||2.5 hours (Level 2)|
|Electric Motor||88 kW|
|Battery Capacity||7.6 kWh|
|Top Speed||85 mph / 137 km/h|
|Warranty||3 Years / 36,000 miles or 60,000 km|
Most likely, this 2017 Ford Fusion Energi will remain a business-class or fleet-based sedan. It has most of the structure that could make it an excellent family car but the reduced trunk space limits its real functionality. If the user doesn’t require cargo capacity, the Fusion Energi is ideal.
Even more specifically, short-distance drivers will best enjoy the benefits of the plug-in hybrid’s extended range and 21-mile EV mode. Just don’t expect too much from the 2017 Fusion Energi’s handling or you’ll be disappointed.