For the most part, the pickings in the midsize hybrid sedan segment are fairly mundane. One exception is the Ford Fusion Hybrid, a sedan that offers better fuel economy than its main competitors while also being more enjoyable to drive.
Though driving enjoyment typically isn't high on the list of a hybrid buyer's list of priorities, the Fusion Hybrid delivers an unusually lively experience behind the wheel. If you're shopping for a new or used hybrid-powered sedan, this Ford should definitely be near the top of your list. Its unusual combination of solid driving dynamics and superior fuel economy, along with its good looks, comfortable ride and accommodating interior, makes it easy to recommend.
Current Ford Fusion Hybrid
The Ford Fusion Hybrid is a midsize four-door sedan that's available in three trim levels: S, SE and Titanium. There is also the plug-in, extended-range version, called the Fusion Energi, which is reviewed separately.
The hybrid powertrain consists of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine working in concert with an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. All told, there's 188 horsepower on tap along with impressive EPA fuel economy estimates of 47 mpg in all three cycles: city, highway and combined.
Standard equipment highlights on the S include 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, the voice-activated Sync audio/cell phone interface and a sound system with a CD player and USB/iPod interface. The SE adds a keyless entry keypad, a power driver seat, a rear seat center armrest, satellite radio and numerous options. The Titanium's highlights include 18-inch alloy wheels, remote start, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, heated front sport seats, a power passenger seat, the MyFord Touch electronics interface (with configurable gauge displays), a rearview camera and an upgraded audio system. Key options include a navigation system, adaptive cruise control, automated parking assist and blind-spot detection.
In reviews, this Fusion Hybrid impressed us with its athletic handling and communicative steering that provides a more engaging driving experience than you'd expect from a fuel sipper. At the same time, the ride is supple over bumps and ruts, the cabin is supremely quiet and Ford has made strides in making braking effort seem more natural: a previous complaint with the Fusion and indeed many hybrids. And while the trunk is compromised by the presence of its battery pack, the remaining space is more useful than that of rival hybrid sedans. If there is a primary drawback, it's that Ford's electronic interfaces are less unintuitive than other systems.
Used Ford Fusion Hybrid Models
The current, second-generation Ford Fusion Hybrid was introduced for 2013. All told, Ford managed to take all the attributes of the previous Fusion Hybrid -- notably, excellent fuel economy, sharp styling, sporty handling, a smooth ride and plenty of handy features ? and bolster it with more dramatic exterior styling, improved driving dynamics and the latest in electronics and features. These Fusion Hybrids are identical to the latest version with a few minor exceptions. Specifically, they lack the availability of the S trim level, inflatable rear seatbelts, a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats.
The first-generation Ford Fusion Hybrid debuted for the 2010 model year and ran through 2012. It was a midsize sedan that employed a 2.5-liter inline-4 gasoline engine paired with an electric motor and a nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack to produce 191 hp. The power was sent to the front wheels through a CVT. Along with a fuel mileage estimate of 39 mpg in combined driving, this Fusion Hybrid had the ability under low load conditions to propel itself to nearly 50 mph on battery power alone.
The handsome cabin sported quality materials and a wealth of standard features. The latter included 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, the MyKey system (limits top speed and audio volume), a keyless-entry security code pad, automatic headlamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. There was also the Sync electronics interface (includes voice commands, Bluetooth and iPod control) and a six-speaker sound system with CD/MP3 player, satellite radio and steering-wheel controls. Options included a rearview camera, a premium audio system, a sunroof and a navigation system with Sirius Travel Link.
In reviews, we were pleasantly surprised by the Ford Fusion Hybrid's well-sorted chassis. It's not a sport sedan, but it is sportier than you'd expect a hybrid sedan to be. Granted, you'll get even better mileage out of cars like the smaller Honda Insight and ubiquitous Toyota Prius. But when you compare apples to apples, the first-generation Ford Fusion Hybrid is an excellent choice for a used hybrid family sedan.