2014 Ford Fusion Energi: Euro-styled hybrid surprises

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Now slightly more than a year old, the Ford Fusion Energi, a gas plug-in electric hybrid, further adds to the Fusion hybrid lineup. The family debuted in the spring of 2009 as 2010 models for Ford and Mercury.

The latter brand is gone, but the Fusion hybrid is now available in eight trims. The 2014 Fusion Energi can travel 21 miles in pure-electric mode and as far as 620 miles total before the battery needs recharging or the gas tank filled. Recharging is estimated at seven hours with 120-volt outlet or 2 1/2 hours with 240 volts.

The Ford Fusion Energi has European, sports car styling.
The Ford Fusion Energi has European, sports car styling. All images © James Raia/2014

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

Plenty of hybrids look like cars I don’t want to own. The original Toyota Prius comes to mind. It’s more popular than all other hybrids combined, but it’s far from handsome. Had the Ford Fusion arrived first, I suspect its looks as well as its impressive styling and efficiency would have combined to produce a lot more hybrid sales.

My Weekly Driver was the SE trim, the least expensive of two Energi options. Like other Fusion models, the Energi is equipped with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline. But it also features a larger lithium-ion battery pack (in the trunk area) that can be recharged via an AC outlet from the driver’s side front panel plug hidden behind a rotating cover.

There’s an Energi badge below the word Fusion on the front passenger door panel and below the trunk. Both are subtle and the only hybrid identifications. Several observers still didn’t believe the Fusion was a hybrid because it looks more like a sporty sedan. And it drives and has the comfort of a near-luxury sedan.

Like other hybrids, the Ford Fusion is quiet. The gas motor kicks in while accelerating and the electric motor regenerates while braking. The system is seamless, which corresponds to the near seamless flow of the interior design. The dash and dials are clean and simple. The leather seats are attractive. The interior is spacious.

There’s no mistaking the Fusion Energi for a sports car. But as a hybrid sedan, it has surprisingly strong acceleration and it maneuvers through traffic with confidence.

Likes:

Great fuel economy.

Exterior styling of a European luxury sedan.

Qualifies for high-occupancy vehicle lane access in California.

Sleek dashboard.

The front grille: Stolen from Aston Martin? Cool.

Great manufacturer rebate as a hybrid, and an additional rebate if you life in California.

Attractive exterior color: “Dark Side.” The metallic tones change colors, depending on the amount of sun or shade.

Dislikes:

Small trunk space, good for only a few grocery bags.

Premium price over non-hybrid Fusion excessive.

Facts & Figures: 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid (Energi)

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.0 seconds.
Airbags: (6).
Fuel economy: Combined city/highway, all-electric mode, 100 mpg equivalent (MPG-e), Hybrid operation (charge-sustaining mode), 44 mpg city, 41 mpg hwy., 43 combined.
Horsepower: 195.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $36,700.00.
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.ford.com.
Price As Tested: $40,585.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 6 years/100,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 5 years/50,000 miles; Hybrid components: 8 years/100,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“Thanks to its sophisticated suspension design, the Energi possesses impressive handling and ride dynamics. Driven around turns, the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi is confident and composed, and its steering is remarkably communicative.” — Edmunds.com.

“Our 2014 Ford Fusion Energi SE didn’t disappoint. This is a car that exudes quality all around, from the weight of the doors to the fit and finish of the interior components.” — AutoWeek.

“If you’re looking for a sporty sedan, a luxurious touring car, a fuel-efficient family car or just something to impress the neighbors, you’ll find it all in the 2014 Ford Fusion.” — Kelley Blue Book.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words

“It looks like a stylish sedan because it is. Oh, it’s a electric hybrid with good acceleration, good maneuverability and great gas mileage. It’s what all hybrids should aspire to be.”

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