2013 Ford Fusion Energi SE Sedan (2.0L 4-cyl. Plug-In Hybrid CVT Automatic)
Driven On 6/11/2013
The Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid is every bit as good as any pure gasoline-powered Fusion. But this is a double-edged sword. It's a near $40,000 car that looks like $30,000; the extra cost is hard to see or recoup. That said, it may well work if you are a patient sort of driver with a short commute and ready plug-in access or simply want access to the carpool lane.
PerformanceThe Ford Fusion Energi steers, brakes and handles with the same poise and confidence of a regular Ford Fusion. Except, of course, for the utterly smooth 20-ish electric miles it offers. Forced EV-only mode is painfully slow; use the Auto Hybrid/EV mode instead.
Plenty of acceleration in Auto Hybrid/EV mode, but the Energi is much slower in the forced pure EV mode. Were talking 0-60 in 7.8 seconds versus 15 seconds. That's not a typo.
Stops are straight and secure, and the pedal doesn't come across as detached as some other hybrids and EVs tend to; the brakes feel quite normal and reassuring, in fact.
Pleasant and confidence-inspiring. It's not overly sensitive when going straight and it feels connected in corners. There's some feel and feedback here.
Fair and balanced. Ultimate cornering grip is sufficient for a family sedan such as this and it has poise when corners come back to back. No quirks or surprises here.
Smooth take offs and zero shift sensation, whether in EV mode or hybrid mode. Engine note doesn't always match what's happening, but that's a hybrid for you.
ComfortThe Ford Fusion Energi has a sophiscated ride that absorbs and damps out rough road impacts without floating down the road overmuch. It's got comfy seats and good noise isolation. It's a good environment for long road trips.
The well-shaped front seats provide good support and comfort over the long haul. Generous range of adjustment. Telescopic steering allows you to set the seat where your legs want it.
Impact damping is admirably good on rough, broken asphalt. Smooth without being overly buoyant or floaty.
Surprisingly good at supressing outside noises, even in the silent EV mode. On-again, off-again engine is quiet, but does rev at odd times, which is typical of hybrids.
InteriorGood interior space and visibility, but the touch-sensitive controls and touchscreen are an annoyance. The Fusion Energi's battery leaves behind a small, oddly-shaped trunk that's impractical for long trips, airport runs or shopping.
Generally good in a macro sense, but the touchpad climate control buttons are more flash than function. Fuel door and auto-park buttons easy for passenger to accidentally deploy.
Doors are generously sized. Easy entry and exit, but sloping rear roofline does make it slightly interesting for taller folks getting into the back seat.
Plenty of leg and shoulder room all around. There's lots of front headroom, but the sloping roof is somewhat low for tall folks and those with big hair.
The driver enjoys a good view all around. Small quarter windows behind the rear doors are in just the right place and the rear window offers a better view than the swoopy styling suggests.
Here is where the Plug-In hybrid's large battery takes its toll. The trunk is small (8.2 cubic feet) and oddly shaped. Too small for Big Shopping, the main weekly grocery run, or warehouse stores.
ValueIt's hard to do math that makes a plug-in hybrid pay for itself. But if you're determined to own a PHEV, the Ford Fusion Energi is a lot of PHEV for the money. And it’s a nice car.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Build quality stands pat at the basic Fusion level. The significant extra cost of the Energi is mostly in the plug-in hybrid system. You won't see extra worth in the materials or fit and finish.
The Fusion Energi SE comes standard with several items that are optional on the hybrid. But most of the money is in the hybrid and plug-in battery systems, the primary features you're paying for.
This plug-in hybrid costs several thousand dollars more than a regular Fusion hybrid, an amount you won't recover in fuel savings. Reasonably priced compared to other plug-In hybrids, though.
Careful driving allowed us to match (and exceed) the Energi's 21-mile EV range and 43-mpg gasoline ratings. But both fall off quickly if you drive in a hurry; a patient approach works best.
A 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty covers the engine and transmission, but the hybrid elements are covered for 8 years/100,000 miles. The rest is covered for 3 years/36,000 miles.
A special 240-volt charger is not strictly necessary as the battery charges in 5-6 hours through a standard 120V outlet. And it is eligible for HOV lane access in California and eleswhere.
Fun To DriveFun? Not particulary; it's a family sedan. But the Fusion Energi's plug-in powertrain is interesting, and the built-in coaching system is engaging if you're inclined to play along. You probably ought to be, otherwise the Energi isn't for you.
The Fusion Energi drives pretty much like a well-sorted family sedan. The plug-in EV mode is quiet and serene, though. And it's interesting to show off to curious friends. It's also satisfying to sail past others in the carpool lane.
The new Fusion looks smooth and sleek, with a grille shape borrowed shamelessly from Aston Martin. But that's as far as it goes.