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2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 10/3/2017 ALEXANDER STOKLOSA

2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid - Instrumented Test Among the Ford Fusion hybrid’s biggest changes for 2017—besides a mild cosmetic update—was the addition of a new range-topping, luxurious Platinum trim level. That version elevates the car to a new level with the inclusion of a special leather interior and practically every option available on lesser Fusion hybrids. The Fusion hybrid tested here, however, is not the Platinum.

It instead is an SE, the well-equipped and affordable middle-of-the-road Fusion hybrid that sits above the base S and beneath the Titanium and Platinum in the four-tier lineup. Compared with the $38,005 Platinum, the $26,975 SE surely will find its way into more driveways, making it the more populist barometer of Ford’s efforts.

A Little Bit of This . . .

Like all Fusions, the hybrid gained a slimmer version of the Aston Martin–like grille that made a splash when the current-generation Fusion debuted for 2013. It’s a subtle change, and along with the mildly recontoured projector-beam headlights (Titanium and Platinum models wear LED units), the latest update amounts to a tailoring rather than an entirely new suit. The cabin receives a new, rotary-dial shifter for the transmission; unlike many shifters of this type, the Ford’s dial actually frees up space on the center console that has been put to use housing a bin perfect for stowing a phone.

2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid© ALEXANDER STOKLOSA 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid

As before, the Fusion hybrid sports the same 141-hp Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter inline-four, 1.4-kWh lithium-ion battery, and planetary-gear continuously variable automatic transmission housing two electric motor/generators. The carryover powertrain produces acceleration numbers similar to an earlier Fusion hybrid we previously tested. Acceleration is less than sprightly, with the Fusion reaching 60 mph in 8.9 seconds, a full second behind the all-new 2018 Toyota Camry hybrid. The payoff, of course, is fuel economy. It earns a 42-mpg combined EPA estimate, a 41-mpg highway figure, and 43 mpg in the city. On our 75-mph highway test, the Ford recorded a solid 39 mpg, but that’s 5 mpg less than what we saw with the Camry hybrid.

While the Toyota might have the Ford beat at the track, the Fusion doesn’t feel that sluggish in the real world. The Ford steps smartly away from a stop, its electric motors and gasoline engine seamlessly blending together with no odd surging or hiccups. Stomp on the Fusion’s accelerator, and the engine can make sad growling noises like the ones made by your stomach after skipping breakfast. That’s the only complaint we have regarding the powertrain—well, that and the fact that the small battery allows only the briefest episodes of electric-only driving. For more EV-only operation in this segment, you’ll need to look at either the Fusion hybrid’s plug-in sibling, the Energi, or Toyota’s more modern Camry hybrid. (For 2017, the SE trim level of the Energi carried a premium of about $6500 compared with the SE hybrid; the gap tightens to about $5000 for 2018.)

2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid© Chris Doane Automotive 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid

And a Little Bit of That . . .

The rest of the Fusion hybrid’s performance is as familiar as the powertrain. Ford has tuned the Fusion’s suspension for comfort without compromising body control, so the sedan holds its own when driven hard, and when it ultimately gives up grip it does so with the yowl of predictable understeer. The isolated, light steering makes getting to such a point unappealing anyway. And the brake pedal, like many hybrids’, suffers from a distinct step between its actuation of the electric motor’s regenerative-braking efforts and the friction brakes that ultimately bring the car to a stop.

More in keeping with the Fusion hybrid’s mission, it is exceedingly quiet. Credit the active-noise-cancellation system and the Fusion’s solid-feeling platform, which helps tamp down on wind, road, and tire noise on the freeway. We only wish the Fusion’s aging cabin reflected the same overall refinement. Although screwed together well, the interior is starting to show its age via its unimaginative design and average material quality. One bright spot in our test car was the optional 8.0-inch Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment system, which added a splash of modernity with its intuitive menus and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. It’s included with the $995 Technology package that also brings a premium audio system, rear parking sensors, a 110-volt AC outlet, dual USB ports, and a 4.2-inch color driver-information display.

Our Fusion was further optioned with the latest active-safety items such as blind-spot monitoring, automatic high-beams, lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warning, and rain-sensing wipers via the $1575 Driver Assist package. (The kit also includes a heated steering wheel, a must have for those of us in cold-weather states.) Opting for the Driver Assist bundle requires stepping up to the Tech package and the $2505 SE Hybrid Luxury package, the latter of which brings niceties including a 10-way power driver’s seat with memory, heated front seats, proximity-key entry with push-button start, LED headlights, extra chrome trim, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. All in, this brought our Fusion hybrid to a still reasonable $32,835. Even with the baked-in $2850 price premium over a standard Fusion SE, that’s normal-sedan money. Other Fusion hybrid trim levels cost between $380 and $3175 more than their gas counterparts.

You could spend more on the hybridized Fusion Platinum, but the SE is essentially the same car—offering a similar driving experience and available with many of the same tech and safety features—for thousands less. That feels like the more appropriate price stratum for an aging and innocuous hybrid sedan that still returns excellent fuel economy, at least to those who aren’t in a hurry.

2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid© Chris Doane Automotive 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid


VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED: $32,835 (base price: $26,170)

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter inline-4, 141 hp, 129 lb-ft; permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor, 118 hp, 177 lb-ft; combined output, 188 hp; 1.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack

TRANSMISSION: continuously variable automatic


Wheelbase: 112.2 in

Length: 191.8 in

Width: 72.9 in Height: 58.0 in

Passenger volume: 106 cu ft

Trunk volume: 12 cu ft

Curb weight: 3716 lb


Zero to 60 mph: 8.9 sec

Zero to 100 mph: 23.7 sec

Zero to 110 mph: 30.7 sec

Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 9.8 sec

Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.2 sec

Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.8 sec

Standing ¼-mile: 16.9 sec @ 85 mph

Top speed (governor limited): 118 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 187 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.73 g



Observed: 36 mpg

75-mph highway driving: 39 mpg

Highway range: 520 mi

EPA FUEL ECONOMY:Combined/city/highway: 42/43/41 mpg


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