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.
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.
A new 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 savings at the pump.
Fuel economy isn't the first thing that comes to mind when viewing the Fusion'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.
Things aren't nearly as stylish inside, although soft-touch materials and low levels of road and engine noise do impart a sense of luxury. One feature that buyers will want to test out in the showroom is Ford's MyFord Touch interface, which includes a touchscreen display and capacitive controls. Some find it intuitive, while others find it distracting and somewhat confusing.
As with many recent Ford models, the Fusion Hybrid traces its roots to Europe, riding on a heavily revised version of the previous Mondeo (Ford's midsize old world sedan) platform. With McPherson struts up front and a new multilink suspension setup at the rear, Ford promises that the chassis provides an ideal balance between ride comfort and agile handling. Exterior dimensions are up only slightly compared to the outgoing Fusion, but a five-inch longer wheelbase allows for a more spacious and practical cabin.
Standard and Optional Features
The Fusion Hybrid is available in SE and Titanium trim levels.
The SE comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-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, a power-adjustable driver's seat, automatic headlamps, LED taillights and 17-inch painted aluminum wheels.
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.
Driver Assistance Technologies
The Fusion 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 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.