2015 Ford Fusion Energi Review
Pros & Cons
- High fuel economy with plug-in functionality
- many advanced technology and safety features available
- relatively sharp handling
- composed ride
- quiet cabin
- eye-catching style.
- Costs significantly more than the regular Ford Fusion Hybrid
- MyFord Touch electronics interface is less intuitive to use than some rivals' systems.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Although the 2015 Ford Fusion Energi is pricey compared with the already very fuel-efficient Fusion Hybrid, it's still a great choice if you're looking for a hybrid car with plug-in capability.
Most bystanders aren't going to be able to tell that the 2015 Ford Fusion Energi is anything special compared to a regular Fusion. But the little round charging port on its front fender is the telltale giveaway that an advanced plug-in hybrid powertrain lurks underneath, enabling the Fusion Energi to quietly travel nearly 20 miles in all-electric mode. After that initial charge is spent, this Ford functions more like a typical hybrid, with its 2.0-liter gasoline engine coming online to provide propulsion in concert with the electric motor.
Twenty miles isn't a whole lot, but it can be enough to cover a lot of back-and-forth errands from your house. Plus, recharging takes just a few hours with a 240-volt power source. Once the juice has run out, the Energi switches over to normal hybrid operation. At this point, the Fusion Energi earns an EPA rating of 38 mpg in combined city and highway driving, which is a little less than the regular Fusion Hybrid's 42 mpg combined. As such, the Energi makes most sense if your daily commute is within that 20-mile range.
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. There's also a long list of the latest technology on offer, from adaptive cruise control to an automated parallel parking system. We're less fond of the MyFord Touch electronic interfaces, though the latest version is less frustrating to use and less prone to glitches.
The more significant drawback to the 2015 Fusion Energi is price. Compare as-new pricing and you'll discover the bottom line on this plug-in hybrid's window sticker is thousands more than a comparably equipped version of the regular Fusion Hybrid. It's also more than the 2015 Chevrolet Volt, which boasts nearly twice the range in all-electric mode. At the same time, though, the Volt's cramped two-person rear seat is likely to be an issue for some buyers.
You could also consider the 2015 Toyota Prius Plug-In, but its all-electric range is just 15 miles and its driving experience pales in comparison to the Fusion's. Given that, we think the Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid is the rival you should examine most closely. It's more expensive than the Ford but it boasts notably better fuel economy numbers. All things considered, though, the 2015 Ford Fusion Energi remains an attractive choice for buyers with the right sort of commute looking for maximum fuel economy from a stylish and well-rounded midsize sedan.
2015 Ford Fusion Energi models
The 2015 Ford Fusion Energi is a five-passenger plug-in hybrid sedan that comes in two trim levels: SE and Titanium.
The SE comes well-equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, heated mirrors with driver-side auto-dimming, keypad entry, rear parking sensors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated power front seats (eight-way driver and four-way passenger), driver seat memory settings, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a trip computer and a 110-volt household-style power outlet. Electronic features include Sync voice-activated audio and cell phone integration, the MyFord Touch electronics interface (with an 8-inch touchscreen), a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface.
The Titanium trim adds a rear spoiler, keyless ignition and entry, remote ignition, front sport seats, an eight-way power passenger seat and an upgraded audio system with 12 speakers and HD radio.
The optional Driver Assist package bundles automatic high-beam control, automatic wipers, a blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. Stand-alone options include adaptive cruise control, an automated parallel parking feature, a sunroof, a navigation system and a heated steering wheel. On the Titanium, you can also get a Red Leather Appearance package and ventilated front seats.
Performance & mpg
The 2015 Ford Fusion Energi is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor that's fed by a lithium-ion battery pack. The combined output of 195 horsepower is sent to the front wheels. The battery pack, which is considerably larger than that of the standard Fusion Hybrid, allows the Energi to reach speeds of up to 85 mph or to be driven up to 19 miles on electric power alone. That said, aggressive driving will cause the gasoline engine to start up at much lower speeds when the car is in its default EV Auto mode.
The EPA gives the Fusion Energi an energy consumption estimate of 34 kWh used per 100 miles (the lower the kWh number here, the better), which is essentially a measure of how efficient the Energi is during all-electric driving. Once that all-electric range is used up, the Energi's powertrain operates like that of the Fusion Hybrid and earns an EPA rating of 38 mpg combined (40 city/36 highway).
In Edmunds testing, we measured consistent 0-60 acceleration times of just under 8 seconds, or about a second quicker than a Chevrolet Volt. Incidentally, we also put the Fusion Energi into its EV Now mode (which locks in all-electric operation) and recorded an electric-only 0-60 run at a painfully slow 15 seconds, which is 6 seconds behind a Volt in EV mode. Obviously, the Ford's EV Now mode is not intended for maximum acceleration, but rather for maximum efficiency and is best used in city driving conditions.
Ford says the battery can be fully charged in 7 hours with a 120-volt power source or in 2.5 hours using a 240-volt source. We validated these claims in our testing.
The 2015 Ford Fusion Energi comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, 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 parents can use to set certain restrictions for their teen drivers.
Optional equipment includes inflatable rear seatbelts, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, driver-drowsiness detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist (it automatically helps the driver keep the car in its lane) and frontal collision warning with brake priming.
In Edmunds testing, the Fusion Energi came to a stop from 60 mph in a segment-average 128 feet.
The government gave the Fusion Energi five out of five stars for overall crash protection, along with five stars for frontal protection and four stars for side 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 impact test and a second-best "Acceptable" in the small-overlap frontal-offset impact test. The Fusion received a "Good" rating in the remaining side-impact, roof-strength and seatbelt and head restraint (whiplash protection) tests.
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.
The Fusion Energi also gives the driver some control over the car's powertrain. The EV Mode button makes it possible to toggle among three distinct settings. Selecting EV Now engages all-electric operation up to 85 mph or for up to 19 miles. The EV Auto setting allows the computer to decide how best to divvy up the load between the gasoline engine and electric motor, while the EV Later mode relies primarily on the gas engine, thereby saving the battery for use in conditions for which it is best suited like stop-and-go traffic.
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. The only negative here is that, as with most hybrids, the Energi's brakes can be tricky to smoothly modulate until you get used to the pedal's feel.
While its plug-in hybrid powertrain may be what first attracts you to the 2015 Ford Fusion Energi, you'll also appreciate its stylish and well-equipped interior. It features clean lines and quality materials that give the space a decidedly high-end feel.
Front seats are comfortable and supportive, and the combination of the power driver seat and tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel offer a degree of adjustability that makes it easy for a wide range of drivers to get comfortable. The roof's rearward slope cuts into rear seat headroom, but not so much as to make most average-height rear passengers uncomfortable.
The list of available technology here rivals that of many luxury models. Standard active noise canceling helps create a hushed environment, especially when driving in all-electric mode. The center touchscreen (MyFord Touch), backed by Sync's many redundant voice commands, 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.
With the Energi, you do get some handy remote features, accessed via the MyFord Mobile smartphone app or personal computer. The system makes it possible to view the battery's state of charge and remaining driving range, preheat (or cool) the car's interior or locate charging stations near your destination or along the way.
Perhaps the Fusion Energi's biggest practical limitation is its relatively small trunk. With the oversize battery pack eating up a good chunk of cargo space, there are just 8.2 cubic feet available -- 4 cubic feet less than the Fusion Hybrid's and roughly half of what's available on standard models. The Energi does give you a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, though, something not offered on the Accord Plug-In.