Full 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid Review
What's New for 2015
The Ford Fusion Hybrid heads into 2015 with only minor changes. Most notably, a rearview camera is now standard equipment.
Having a roomy and comfortable midsize sedan with the fuel economy of a subcompact car is pretty much the design brief for hybrid-powered family sedans, and Ford hits the mark with the 2015 Fusion Hybrid. It's stylish outside, exceptionally quiet and beautifully outfitted inside and delivers on the fuel economy promise that drives most customers to seek a hybrid in the first place.
The Fusion Hybrid's combined fuel economy rating of 42 mpg isn't the best in the segment, but it's still very good. More importantly, though, you don't sacrifice performance to get it: Acceleration is respectably quick and handling is reassuring around turns. Additionally, the ride is supple and quiet and the interior is spacious and appointed with high-quality materials.
You also get an array of the latest electronic luxury and safety features that rival what's available in prestige brand vehicles costing a great deal more. Everything from blind-spot warning and adaptive cruise control to automatic parallel parking can be had on the 2015 Fusion Hybrid -- and that's before you get to the ever-expanding capabilities of the current MyFord Touch driver-interface system. Although it still has quirks, it does offer some very useful customization and voice control functionality.
In your search for a hybrid family sedan, you'll also want to consider the Honda Accord Hybrid. It can't match the Fusion's style, but its acceleration and EPA numbers are better and it also drives exceptionally well. Other hybrid sedans, including the Toyota Camry Hybrid, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and related Kia Optima Hybrid, are also solid choices, though they can't match the overall appeal of the Fusion or Accord. Our pick is the Fusion, but you're not going to go wrong with either one of the class leaders.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid is available in three trim levels: S, SE and Titanium. The Fusion Energi, the plug-in, extended-range version of the Fusion Hybrid, is reviewed separately.
Standard equipment on the S includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, full power accessories, a rearview camera, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer, a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, the voice-activated Sync audio and cell phone interface and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack and USB port/iPod interface.
The SE adds heated mirrors, exterior keypad entry, rear air vents, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), a six-way power passenger seat, a rear seat center armrest and satellite radio.
A few option packages are also available for the SE. The Appearance package (Equipment Group 501A) adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, foglights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Luxury package (Equipment Group 502A) includes foglights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, heated front seats and driver-seat memory settings. Opting for the MyFord Touch Technology package equips the SE with rear parking sensors, the MyFord Touch electronics interface (with 8-inch touchscreen and two configurable gauge cluster displays), an upgraded version of Sync and a 110-volt power outlet.
Springing for the top of the line Titanium effectively gets you the SE's optional features listed above as standard as well as keyless ignition and entry, remote start, sport front seats, eight-way power adjustment for the passenger seat and an upgraded Sony 12-speaker audio system with HD radio.
The Fusion Hybrid SE (with the Technology package selected) and Titanium can also be equipped with a navigation system, an automated parallel-parking system, a heated steering wheel and adaptive cruise control with a collision warning system and automatic braking. For the SE and Titanium, Ford additionally offers the Luxury Driver Assist package, which includes rain-sensing wipers, automatic high-beam control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-departure warning and lane keeping assist. A sunroof is optional for both the SE and Titanium, and the Titanium can be had with ventilated front seats.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that works in concert with an electric motor that's powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. Combined, they can generate as much as 188 hp to drive the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
In mid-2014, Ford revealed it had erroneously rated the Fusion Hybrid's fuel economy and revised the figures downward, to a combined 42 mpg (44 city/41 highway) compared with the original 47 mpg rating for all three cycles. It was enough to tug down the Fusion Hybrid from its top spot in the class. The latter honor now goes to the Honda Accord Hybrid, which has a combined rating of 47 mpg.
In Edmunds track testing, the Fusion Hybrid posted an 8.4-second time to 60 mph, which is slower than the Accord Hybrid but pretty much the same as the Kia Optima Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid.
The 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, a rearview camera, front seat side airbags, front knee airbags and side curtain airbags. The Ford Sync system includes an emergency crash notification feature that automatically dials 911 when paired with a compatible cell phone. Also standard is Ford's MyKey, which can be used to set certain parameters for teen drivers.
Optional equipment includes parking sensors, Ford's nifty inflatable seatbelts in the rear seat and a variety of electronic driver-assist systems. These include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, driver drowsiness detection, lane-departure warning and lane keeping assist (it automatically helps the driver keep the car in its lane). There is also frontal collision warning with brake priming.
In Edmunds testing, the 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, about average for its class.
The government gave the Fusion Hybrid five out of five stars for overall crash protection, with five stars for total frontal protection and four stars for total side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the non-hybrid but otherwise similar Fusion the highest possible rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests. In the small-overlap frontal-offset test, the Fusion earned a second-best rating of "Acceptable." Its head restraints and seatbelts earned a "Good" rating for their whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
Cabin design and execution of the 2015 Ford Fusion echoes that of its exterior. There's a cool and urbane style to the seats and dash, a tone set largely by the high-quality finishes and, of course, the lack of center stack buttons afforded by the optional MyFord Touch touchscreen system. The emphasis is on having large, nicely textured surfaces and removing extraneous clutter, and it mostly works.
Nonetheless, Ford's interior designers got all the basics right, with a driver seat that's easy to adjust into a just-right position and good sight lines out the front and sides. It's harder to see through the sloping rear window, so it's good a rearview camera now is standard.
Any review of a contemporary Ford must also address the optional MyFord Touch infotainment interface. Without it, the base radio and climate controls are still somewhat complicated to use and less aesthetically pleasing. You get a much sleeker look with MFT thanks to its 8-inch touchscreen. And backed by many redundant voice commands, it can be a powerful tool for configuring and controlling the car and your smartphone. But there can be a steep learning curve for getting accustomed to even basic functions. And even though the system works significantly better than when it debuted, it can still be sluggish to operate at times.
Compared with the standard Fusion, the Hybrid's trunk space takes a hit due to the packaging of the battery pack. As such, the Hybrid's checks in at 12 cubic feet, or 4 fewer cubes than the non-hybrid Fusion. Still, that's on par with the trunks of other midsize hybrid sedans. And, as a bonus compared to its chief rival, the Accord Hybrid, the Ford offers a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, which gives it greater versatility.
The 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid is no high-powered sport sedan -- and surely most seeking a hybrid wouldn't expect it to be -- but everyday acceleration is certainly adequate for most driving situations. It will take you some time to get used to the slightly artificial feel of the regenerative braking that helps to recharge the batteries when you slow down.
Other than when accelerating hard, the Fusion Hybrid has premium-sedan levels of road and wind noise. Highway cruising is hushed and serene to a point few competitors can approach. We also like the way the 2015 Fusion Hybrid drives around turns: Its steering is sharp and direct, and the ride is compliant. In general, its handling is oriented pleasingly toward the sporty side of the spectrum for a hybrid.