The original Ford Fusion Hybrid was no slouch in the efficiency department, but the second-generation model raises the bar even higher with a class-leading 47-mpg combined rating. Factor in European-flavored handling, striking looks and a plethora of high-tech options, and Fusion Hybrid becomes one of the top choices in the midsize hybrid sedan segment.
In addition to the hybrid model, the Fusion is also available in Energi (Ford-speak for plug-in hybrid) and conventionally-powered forms.
The Energi gains a less-expensive S trim level in addition to several new options - a heated steering wheel, ventilated seats and rear inflatable seatbelts - for the latest model year.
At the heart of the Fusion Hybrid is Ford's latest gas-electric powertrain, which consists of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that runs on the economical Atkinson cycle and pairs with an AC synchronous motor for a total system. With a continuously variable transmission sending power efficiently to the front wheels, the setup is good for EPA-certified mileage of 47 mpg in the city and 47 mpg on the highway. Some drivers have reported significantly lower real-world mileage, however, and achieving maximum mpgs
requires a very light right foot.
A lithium-ion battery pack, which is lighter and more powerful than the nickel-metal hydride unit that it replaces, is another key element of the powertrain. It helps the Fusion Hybrid to operate only using electric power at speeds of up to 62 mph (provided the driver has an extremely light right foot).
With its gasoline and electric motors working in conjunction, total system output is 188 horsepower. That's down slightly from the first-gen model, and along with a greater overall focus on greenness it means that acceleration is marginally slower than before - a compromise many buyers will likely be willing to make for the potential savings at the pump.
Fuel economy isn't the first thing that comes to mind when viewing the Fusion Hybrid's fast roofline and athletic profile, however. Inspired by the sleek Evos concept of 2011, the Fusion Hybrid features a sporty, upswept stance along with a premium look fostered by the sparing but effective use of chrome on the prominent hexagonal grille and along the side windows.
The Inside Story
Inside, the dashboard is marked by flowing lines, contoured shapes and plenty of soft-touch surfaces. The instrument panel contains screens on either side of the speedometer that display efficiency-related information. On the left, "SmartGauge with EcoGuide" includes a brake coach function that helps drivers capture the maximum energy possible through regenerative braking, while on the right there's an "Efficiency Leaves" graphic that rewards efficient driving with leaves and vines that accumulate over the course of a drive to create an animated forest.
All Fusion Hybrid models come standard with Ford's Bluetooth-based SYNC connectivity system, which allows smartphone users to place calls and stream music by using voice commands or steering wheel-mounted buttons. It can also read incoming texts aloud to help the driver keep his or her eyes on the road.
Also standard is MyFord Touch, which builds on SYNC by letting users control everything from navigation to climate control to the sound system with voice commands. MyFord Touch also replaces conventional knobs and buttons with a center-mounted touchscreen and touch-sensitive controls in the center stack. Many consumers report that the system is a "love it or hate it" item, so those interested in the Fusion Hybrid are advised to try before they buy.
Standard and Optional Features
The Fusion Hybrid is available in S, SE and Titanium trim levels.
The S comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo system with an AUX input and SiriusXM satellite radio, SYNC Bluetooth smartphone connectivity with MyFord voice-activated entertainment and communications system, automatic headlamps, LED taillights and 17-inch painted aluminum wheels.
The SE adds a power-adjustable driver's seat, SiriusXM satellite radio, heated mirrors, rear air vents and a rear seat center armrest.
An optional Hybrid Appearance Package adds 18-inch machined aluminum wheels, a rear decklid spoiler, fog lamps, a leather-wrapped steering whel and charcoal cloth seats with red contrast stitching on the seats, console and armrest. The Luxury Package brings leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable passenger's seat, memory functionality for the front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, auto-dimming exterior mirrors and fog lamps.
The Titanium features leather upholstery, a 12-speaker Sony audio system with HD radio, MyFord Touch, ambient lighting a rearview camera with a reverse sensing system, fog lamps, chrome-accented door handles, a rear deck spoiler and polished 18-inch alloy wheels.
Options include a navigation system, adaptive cruise control, a sunroof, a heated steering wheel and ventilated seats.
Driver Assistance Technologies
The Fusion Hybrid is available with a number of driver assistance and convenience technologies designed to make driving a bit easier.
The Lane Keeping System uses a small, forward-facing camera behind the inside rearview mirror to "looks" down the road and monitor lane lines to determine that the car is on course. The system will alert the driver if drowsiness or erratic lane-keeping is detected, use steering wheel vibration to signal that the Fusion is drifting too close to an adjacent lane, or actually apply pressure on the steering to help bring the car back into proper lane.
Ford's Active Parking System makes parking a snap by identifying suitable parallel parking spots and actually steering the car safety into the place while the driver controls the accelerator and brake pedals.
The Blind Spot Information system employs sensors in the rear quarter-panels to warn the driver of vehicles in the blind spot, while Adaptive Cruise Control uses radar to slow the Fusion when slower-moving traffic is detected ahead.
All Fusion Hybrid models come standard with dual front, front knee, front side and side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems, a tire pressure monitoring system and emergency brake assist.
Rivals to the Fusion Hybrid include the popular Toyota Camry Hybrid, the stylish Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and the Kia Optima Hybrid.