2017 Ford Fusion Energi Review
Pros & Cons
- Many advanced technology and safety features are available
- Interior is quiet on the highway
- EV range isn't as long as that of some other plug-in hybrids
- Battery takes up a lot of trunk space
- Takes some time to get used to the grabby brakes
Edmunds' Expert Review
If you're interested in one of the many electric vehicles on the market but aren't sure that their limited ranges suit your needs, then a plug-in hybrid might be right up your alley. Unlike pure EVs, plug-in hybrids can tap into a gasoline-powered engine once the electricity runs out. The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi is just such a vehicle, and it is based on the excellent 2017 Ford Fusion, one of our highest-rated midsize sedans.
This means the Fusion Energi has a handsome exterior, high-quality interior appointments and room for five (although the batteries reduce the trunk space somewhat). Driven normally, it can travel up to 20 miles and at speeds up to 85 mph on electric power before the gasoline engine kicks on. After that, the hybrid power plant earns 38 mpg combined, a few less than the regular Fusion Hybrid.
There are a few other choices for a plug-in you might want to consider, though. The Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid midsize sedan offers a slightly longer range in EV mode (27 miles), and it's a tad more fuel-efficient when the gas engine comes into play. It's possible that Honda will reintroduce its Accord Plug-In Hybrid sedan for 2017, and Toyota will have its new plug-in Prius Prime. There's also the Chevrolet Volt, which tops them all with an estimated 53 miles of plug-in electric range before it switches to gas. Overall, though, we like the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi. While its hybrid and EV credentials don't really stand out in this class, the vehicle as a whole is pretty appealing.
The 2017 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 are a rearview camera and Ford's MyKey, which can be used to set certain parameters for secondary drivers such as teens or valets.
Optional equipment includes inflatable rear seatbelts, blind spot monitoring paired with rear cross-traffic alert, driver drowsiness detection, lane departure warning, lane departure intervention (which automatically helps the driver keep the car in its lane) and frontal collision warning with brake priming. Rear parking sensors are standard, while front parking sensors are optional.
In Edmunds testing, the Fusion Energi came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet, which is an average stopping distance for a plug-in hybrid sedan.
While the 2017 Fusion Energi has not yet been tested, in government crash tests of last year's model, the Fusion Energi received a top five-star rating for overall crash protection, including five stars for total frontal-impact safety and four stars for total side-impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the regular Fusion the highest possible rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact test and the second-best "Acceptable" rating in its 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.
2017 Ford Fusion Energi models
The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi is a five-passenger plug-in hybrid sedan that comes in three trim levels: SE Luxury, Titanium and Platinum.
The SE Luxury comes well-equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, LED foglights and taillights, heated mirrors with driver-side auto-dimming, keypad entry, rear parking sensors, keyless entry and ignition, remote ignition, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air vents, leather upholstery, heated power front seats (eight-way driver and six-way passenger), driver memory settings, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a 110-volt household-style power outlet.
Standard technology features include voice controls, the Sync 3 interface (with an 8-inch touchscreen and twin 4.2-inch configurable screens in the instrument cluster), a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity and an 11-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and two USB ports.
The Titanium trim adds a rear spoiler, ambient interior lighting, front sport seats, an eight-way power passenger seat and an upgraded Sony 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 intervention, and a heated steering wheel. Stand-alone options include adaptive cruise control (includes frontal collision warning and mitigation), an automated parallel and perpendicular parking feature (includes front and side parking sensors), a sunroof and a navigation system. On the Titanium, you can also get ventilated front seats.
The Platinum includes all above features, in addition to upgraded leather upholstery, additional leather trim and a power-adjustable steering wheel.
Eighteen-inch wheels are optional on the Titanium and Platinum, while inflatable rear seatbelts are available on all trims.
The One To Buy
Fuel economy is the same no matter which Fusion Energi trim you pick, so it's more about getting the right mix of desired features. Our pick, though, is the base SE Luxury. It comes nicely equipped with standard features, including the new Sync 3 interface, and is available with plenty of options, so it's unlikely that you'll want a whole lot more.
The 2017 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 20 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.
While official fuel economy estimates have not yet been published, we don't expect them to change much from last year's model. The EPA gave the 2016 Fusion Energi an energy consumption estimate of 37 kilowatt-hours (kWh) used per 100 miles (the lower the number here, the better), which is essentially a measure of how efficient the Energi is during all-electric driving. For comparison, the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid uses 34 kWh per 100 miles.
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, a Ford Fusion Energi in Hybrid mode went from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, a decently quick sprint for such an eco-focused model. In electric-only EV Now mode, however, the Fusion Energi needed a painfully slow 15 seconds to accomplish the same task. Obviously, EV Now mode is intended for maximum efficiency and is best used in leisurely driving conditions.
Ford says the battery can be fully charged in seven hours with a 120-volt power source or in 2.5 hours using a 240-volt source. We validated these claims in our testing.
With its dual power sources, the Fusion Energi gives the driver plenty of control over the car's propulsion. The EV Mode button makes it possible to toggle among three distinct settings. Selecting EV Now engages all-electric operation (battery charge permitting), while the EV Auto setting lets the computer decide how best to divvy up the load. There's also a nifty EV Later mode that relies primarily on the gas engine, thereby saving the battery for use in optimal conditions like stop-and-go traffic.
Under combined gas-electric power, the 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 zips around as capably as a conventional midsize sedan. Performance is sluggish on battery power alone, though, serving well enough in low-speed driving but trailing most pure EVs by a wide margin.
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 many hybrids, the Energi's brakes can be tricky to smoothly modulate until you get used to the pedal's feel.
Like the standard gasoline-powered Fusion, the Energi has a stylish and well-equipped interior. It features clean lines and quality materials that give the space a pleasantly high-end feel. Front seats are comfortable and supportive, with a significant amount 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 only unusually tall rear passengers will have cause to complain.
The Fusion Energi's technology features rival those of many luxury models. Standard active noise-canceling helps create a hushed environment, especially when driving in all-electric mode. The center touchscreen, powered by the Sync 3 infotainment system, is a powerful tool for configuring and controlling the car and your smartphone. The attractive interface is easy to use, without a steep learning curve like last year's MyFord Touch system.
With the Energi, you get some additional remote features that are accessible via the MyFord Mobile smartphone app or your personal computer. The system makes it possible to view the battery's state of charge and remaining driving range, heat (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 shy of the Fusion Hybrid and roughly half of what's available on standard models. The Energi does give you a 60/40-split folding rear seat, though, which somewhat alleviates compact trunk space.