2017 Ford Fusion
2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid: A fine sedan, hybridized
By G. R. Whale
Jan. 12, 2017
The Fusion Hybrid uses 40 per cent less fuel than the standard Fusion while maintaining that’s car‘s handsome design, refinement and palette of features. This is for those seeking hybrid fuel consumption in a regular sedan experience.
Pros & Cons
- + Refined drive
- + Good fuel efficiency
- + Styling
- - Trunk space
- - Price of options
- - Front passenger legroom
Entering its fifth year, Fusion is proof that relationships with Aston Martin and Land Rover didn’t hurt Ford’s styling division. The graceful lines have aged well—and I still fit in the rear seat despite the sloping roof, the rear spoiler’s as much sporty sedan as hybrid aero cheat, and it even ladles chrome where many hybrids are ashamed to show a tailpipe.
Newspaper delivery parents and ride-hailing drivers will appreciate fog lights great for finding addresses, LED lighting fore and aft catches attention, and the mirror repeater has good coverage without blinking back at you during lane changes.
Fusion is comfortable for four adults but that didn’t stop me from loading five for an hour and no one complained. Good front seat and steering wheel adjustments allow any driver to get comfortable, and I thought the driver’s footwell roomier than the passenger’s but can’t explain why as other markets offer right-hand drive.
Subtle trim highlights break up the monotone cabin without glare or going too far, and uncrowded center controls add an element of simple luxury. Gauges are clear and configurable, materials fit family sedan duty and thoughtful touches include rear-seat vents, deep console bins that won’t eject contents during brisk acceleration or evasive maneuvers, and rear-seat cushion/door aperture trim that saves detritus getting stuck in the carpet.
At 340 litres trunk space splits standard and plug-in Fusions, about 10 per cent less than most competitors. However, it does maintain the 60/40 folding rear seat that makes a level “floor” for the pass-through.
Outward visibility doesn’t match a Jetta or Accord, but it’s satisfactory and doesn’t feel claustrophobic inside, and the dash icons don’t dim with gauge lighting, leaving some very bright greens staring back at night.
I never thought of towing with a Fusion but the rear camera display’s center hash line will make it easier if you do. That was the oddest thing I found. Ford’s standard MyKey allows some “parental controls” and there are myriad ways to track fuel consumption. The touchscreen worked as desired, plenty big since it didn’t have navigation.
More advanced items are all extras: Top parking assistant is $600; adaptive cruise control and collision-mitigation braking with pedestrian-detection is $1,500; the $1,950 driver assist pack includes blind-spot warning, lane-keeping, auto high-beam plus a 110-volt outlet and a heated steering wheel. This loaded tester had all of it and I got zero false alarms or any impetus to turn any off.
While it accelerates from stop faster than most Fusions, you buy a hybrid for efficiency, and apart from half-km cold-start trips at 6.6 l/100km I recorded 5.2-6.0 no matter what I did (including stuffing it with five adults, six suitcases, running defrost and seat/wheel heaters) and averaged 5.7 l/100km.
And this car is nice to drive with well-damped body motions that didn’t go wallowy even with the aforementioned stuffing, crisp response, admirable grip limits and good steering weighting. Brake feel is typical hybrid but easy to modulate for best regeneration, there was no fade hammering down switchbacks and the transitions between gas and electric power are so seamless only the driver realized when the engine is running because you feel a hint in the gas pedal and there’s no noise.
Indeed, the cabin is very quiet, the ride refined, the feel one of solidity—you’d be very happy to land in one of these at the rental car counter. Only two unwanted noises may come in—a chirping front Michelin overwhelmed with too much torque before traction control reigns it in and—on long steep descents with a charged battery—engine noise characteristic of hybrids that bleed off extra battery capacity by spinning the engine…technically it’s neither running nor using fuel.
From $29,000 to $39,500 tested it’s right in line with similar hybrids (Camry XLE, $37,000; Sonata Ultimate, $37,500; Optima Premium, $39,100; Accord Touring, $37,300; Malibu from $29,000 and 2016 Jetta from $36,900). On numbers the Accord’s top power, efficiency and trunk space look good but it may be good looks, specific features or packaging that sways you otherwise.
The best thing about the Fusion Hybrid is that it’s Fusion first, hybrid second. All the good stuff of the Fusion, at a cost of 25 per cent in trunk space and just $500 because the Titanium Fusion is turbocharged and all-wheel drive (10.1 l/100km combined). Call it $1,500 with a set of winter tires, and smile every time you pass a filling station.