If you're interested in an electric car but are not convinced that a limited driving range will fit your lifestyle, a plug-in hybrid might be your best bet. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles — known as PHEVs to their friends — provide less electric-only range, but when the juice runs out they operate like any other gasoline-electric hybrid. The Ford Fusion Energi is just such a PHEV, and it is based on the Ford Fusion, one of our highest-rated midsize four-doors.
Why are we so fond of the Fusion? We like this sedan's attractive exterior and its roomy, technology-packed interior. The Energi's bulky battery pack does intrude on trunk space, which limits the practicality of this particular version of the Fusion. But that battery is what gives the Fusion Energi the ability to travel up to 20 miles on electricity alone. That range is shorter than some of the Fusion's plug-in hybrid rivals, but it may well be enough for the average suburban runaround.
When it isn't running on pure battery power, the Fusion Energi is motivated by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that works with a pair of electric motors to deliver a total system output of 188 hp to the front wheels. The EPA rates the Fusion Energi at 42 mpg combined when it's running on gasoline in this hybrid mode. In Edmunds testing, 0-60 mph acceleration in took 7.8 seconds, a reasonably quick showing considering its size and fuel economy potential.
Thing is, the same acceleration test run in battery-only EV Now mode persisted for an agonizing 15 seconds and took a big bite out of the 20-mile electric range. Obviously, we'd recommend saving the electricity for leisurely urban or suburban driving, which is easy to do by engaging the Energi's EV Later mode. For the most part, we like driving the Fusion Energi, though the brakes can be grabby and difficult to modulate until you get used to them.
Like other Fusion models — Ford also makes a regular hybrid that lacks the plug-in battery as well as straight gasoline-powered examples — the Energi has a nicely finished and well-equipped interior with technology features that rival those found luxury cars. We like the Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment system, and the active noise canceling feature was a pleasant surprise; the ride in the Fusion Energi is commendably quiet, particularly in EV mode. We like the Fusion's cabin, which has plenty of stretch-out space for five, but the small trunk is a major drawback — the Fusion Energi has just 8.2 cubic feet of trunk space, 4 cubes less than the Fusion Hybrid and about half of what non-hybrid Fusions offer.
Ford sells the Fusion Energi in SE Luxury, Titanium, and Platinum trims. The SE Luxury is well equipped, and while the Titanium adds some nice-to-have equipment, opting for the Platinum trim turns the Fusion Energy into a wannabe luxury car. Edmunds can help find the best 2017 Ford Fusion Energi for you.