2017 Ford Fusion Energi Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 7.5

The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi is at home when driven around the city. Its electric motor provides instant power for darting between traffic lights, its ride is smooth, and it uses less fuel in the city than on the highway. The Fusion Energi’s regenerative brakes feel smooth when they’re engaged, which isn’t the case with all regenerative brakes. Still, the Fusion Energi isn’t particularly athletic around turns, and power on the highway is only adequate. Additionally, some plug-in hybrid competitors have longer ranges in electric-only mode.

  • "Driven sensibly, the Energi is pleasant, and the silent electric-mode operation and smooth ride are totally in character with the Platinum version's luxury pretensions." -- Car and Driver
  • "While its fuel economy is a big part of its appeal, the Fusion Energi also offers the same handsome styling, nimble handling, smooth ride and quiet cabin as the rest of the Fusion lineup." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "The Energi has a firm suspension that keeps its 3986 pounds under control, but weighing 622 more pounds than a conventional, gas-powered Fusion SE takes its toll on the Energi's athleticism." -- Car and Driver (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Fusion Energi comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor that together generate 188 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission, which functions like an automatic, is standard. The Fusion Energi has a top speed of 85 mph if you’re driving in electric-only mode.

When driving using only the electric motor, the Fusion Energi gets 97 mpg-equivalent. That’s a lot less than the Chevrolet Volt, which gets 106 mpg-e. Once the battery is depleted, the gas engine will kick in to recharge the batteries and propel the car. With the gas engine running, the Fusion Energi gets 43 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. That’s the same fuel economy you’d get with the Fusion Hybrid, and less than you can achieve with some other hybrids like the Honda Accord Hybrid and Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid.

The Fusion Energi is best suited to city driving. Its electric motor delivers power instantaneously from a stop, so you can quickly pull away from traffic lights. Acceleration is less satisfactory when driving on the highway, so be sure to give yourself room to merge. You can choose to limit the gasoline engine’s performance to rely more on electricity. Some hybrids have touchy throttles that will quickly engage the gas engine, but the Energi’s will stay off until you need more power. The transition from electric to gas propulsion is seamless, too, so there’s very little vibration when the gas engine fires up.

  • "Electrons alone can propel the Fusion up to 85 mph—which we confirmed—but, unlike with the standard hybrid, you don't have to feather-foot the throttle to prevent the gasoline engine from kicking on during normal acceleration. The Energi's EV mode lets the driver choose to restrict the gas engine's participation to extreme power demands only, such as when passing another car on a steep hill." -- Car and Driver
  • "With both power sources working, the 2015 Ford Fusion Energi produces acceptable acceleration in daily driving. Highway passing maneuvers will require a bit of forethought at first, as speed builds more gradually here than what you may be used to, but in general the Energi will seem a lot like any other midsize sedan." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "Electrics deliver all their power instantly, so the car squirts away from stoplights just fine. It's suitable for steady-state highway cruising. But electrics have little left to give once the car is underway, so flooring the throttle at, say, 30 mph results in a very sluggish increase in velocity." -- USA Today (2013)

Alternative Fuels and Charging

Using a standard 120-volt outlet, you can recharge the Fusion Energi's battery pack in around seven hours. You can get a home charging station that uses a 240-volt outlet to cut charging time down to about 2 1/2 hours. A light around the charge port will notify you when charging is complete. You can also check battery status or find charging stations using the MyFord Mobile smartphone app.

With a fully charged battery, the Fusion Energi can travel up to 21 miles using only electricity. Rival plug-in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt and Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid travel farther on a single charge: The Volt goes 53 miles, while the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid goes 27 miles.

Handling and Braking

The Fusion Energi is primarily a comfortable cruiser for long trips down the highway or daily commuting around town. It smooths out most bumps in the road, and it stays flat and composed around turns in normal driving. The Fusion Energi's steering is compliant, too, which helps to make the Energi easy to maneuver. However, if you try to take a turn too aggressively, its low-rolling-resistance tires (which help improve fuel efficiency) can start to lose grip.

Hybrids use regenerative brakes to convert some of the car's momentum back into electricity to charge the battery. Regenerative brakes often are derided for feeling grabby when engaged. The Fusion Energi's regenerative brakes are much better than most and feel more like traditional brakes.

Plug-in hybrids are not known for being the lithest cars on the market. However, if you do want a little bit of fun while still getting excellent fuel economy, you might be happy with the Fusion Hybrid. It can't be plugged in or driven solely on electricity, but it is fairly agile for a hybrid.

  • "The low-rolling-resistance tires prioritize fuel economy over grip, so sharp maneuvers prompt a fair bit of squeal followed by urgent intervention from the stability-control system. Driven more calmly, both the steering and the brakes offer wonderfully natural feel." -- Car and Driver
  • "Software improvements have the regenerative braking systems in both the Hybrid and Energi operating more invisibly." -- Autoblog
  • "Around town and on the highway, the Fusion Energi has a pleasingly quiet and smooth ride. It's also pretty responsive and precise around turns, which is something not many hybrid models can claim." -- Edmunds (2015)

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