The hybrid market these days is slim for pickings especially if you’re looking for a vehicle with upscale luxury but without the upscale price. This is where the Ford Fusion Hybrid comes in with its sleek styling, upscale comfort, and a modest price tag.
Performance – A hybrid is a vehicle that utilizes two engines to power the vehicle. In most cases there is a primary gasoline engine and a secondary electric motor. These engines can work together to provide maximum acceleration or separately to provide maximum fuel efficiency. The gasoline engine in this Fusion is a 2.0L inline-4 producing 141 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor brings that number up to a total horsepower rating of 188. While that is a modest amount of power for a large sedan, it actually feels faster than it really is. The reason for that is because the electric motor can provide a lot of torque (all of its available torque in fact) at the moment it starts spinning. So the electric motor provides instantaneous acceleration from a stop and the gasoline engine provides the rest of the power once it reaches its optimal rpms. Also the gasoline engine will always be in its optimal operating range because it is mated to a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) which holds the rpms at a set amount when accelerating.
Unlike a normal vehicle with only a gasoline engine, the gasoline engine in this Fusion Hybrid doesn’t even have to be operating when driving around a city. That’s because the electric motor is powerful enough to drive the nearly 1700kg Fusion all by itself. In fact, the electric motor alone can be used at speeds of up to 100km/h. This means excellent fuel economy especially when driving in busy rush hour traffic where the speeds rarely exceed 60km/h. As a result, this car is capable of achieving a fuel consumption rating of 4.0L/100km in a city and 4.1L/100km on a highway which is better than any of its hybrid rivals from Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, and Volkswagen.
To drive, the Fusion doesn’t feel too different from a normal mid-size sedan. As mentioned before, acceleration feels fast and instant which means that you’ll never have a problem accelerating on a highway on-ramp and matching the speed of traffic. Unfortunately around corners it is not as composed and as sporty as the 2015 Mazda6 due to the hefty weight of the Lithium-Ion batteries but amongst other hybrids it feels like it is the sporty one of the bunch.
Comfort – Ford has really stepped up their efforts in the interior styling and comfort departments. The suspension is on the softer side which makes for a very smooth and comfortable ride, perfect for long distance trips or potholed downtown streets. To further add to the comfort of the Fusion, the cabin has been very well insulated from the noises of the outside world. I’m even inclined to say that at 100km/h while running on the electric motor only, the cabin is as quiet and as relaxing as the $100,000+ Tesla Model S. Unfortunately at higher speeds or when you have your foot hard down on the accelerator pedal, the gasoline engine makes a lot of noise that does intrude into the cabin.
This being a mid-size sedan, the interior space is comparable to other hybrid sedans and even non-hybrids. While trunk space is sacrificed a bit due to the batteries, driver and passenger leg and head room is not an unlike other hybrids, the Fusion has 60/40 split folding rear seats for greater versatility.
Ford continues its revamped styling with the fresh styling of the center console and dashboard. A higher trimmed Fusion is available with satellite navigation but that comes with a different style of center dash layout that has touch sensitive buttons which I am not a fan of because sometimes they don’t sense the touch and it can get frustrating. Thankfully this mid-trim model has elegantly styled “traditional” buttons that are easy to use and work all the time.
Odds and Ends – Yes, this car does look a bit like an Aston Martin. But is that such a bad thing? You don’t criticize someone for looking “too much like a celebrity”, so why should this car be criticized for looking like a car that once called Ford its parent company? I really like the design to the Fusion and other Ford models that have the Aston Martin-ish front grille.
When hybrids were first introduced, I was never a fan of them. But over the years as cities became more jammed with traffic and average speeds of a commute declined, it’s starting to make more sense to own a hybrid. Sure they’re not the first thing you think of when someone says the word “sporty” (although McLaren, Ferrari, and Porsche are working on that) and they do cost more than their gasoline only counterparts, but as governments impose tougher fuel emissions fuel prices rise, the hybrid vehicle will only become better and more affordable as more and more people look for better ways of saving money.
Thank you to West Coast Ford Lincoln for providing the vehicle and visit their website to view this and other vehicles that are available for purchase or lease. www.WestCoastFordLincoln.com