Ford Fusion Hybrid
When Your Mantra is MPG
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD. – If you hate filling up your car at the local service station where personal service went out with tail fins, this is a car is worth looking into.
Why? Forty-three miles per gallon city, 41 highway, for a combined 42. In the past 1,200 miles of operation, the test Fusion Hybrid registered 40.3 mpg. All of that is good news for those who check the price of crude on world markets on a regular basis. (It went up on Friday.)
And this hybrid will go out of its way to help you extract the maximum distance from a gallon of petrol.
In the instrument cluster there were configurable screens such as Engage where you’ll see separate gauges for engine power and lithium-ion battery power. In Empower, which includes all the information in Engage, you’ll also see how close you are to the gasoline engine on/off threshold and the amount of power being requested based on how far you’re depressing the accelerator pedal.
The screen on the right will show you how good you have been eco wise by displaying leaves. Unlike your front yard, the more leaves the better.
Those just getting into the economy movement might wonder, what is Regenerative Braking and Brake Coach? Does he work for the NFL?
Well, during braking regenerative braking recovers more than 94 percent of this energy and sends it back to the battery to be stored for later use. Hence, you do not have to plug in the car when you put it to bed.
Plus, one can see how hybrid technology has advanced in the smooth transition between regenerative and friction brakes. That was not the case in earlier hybrids.
Under the sleek hood, was a 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle four with 141 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque. Add in the electric motor and there is 188 horsepower to propel the Fusion forward. It is matched to one of the better CVT’s that I have driven.
While the 0-60 times (upper 8 second low 9 second range) are on the slow end there is enough power here to blend in on fast moving interstates. But one does wonder why Ford added a rear spoiler.
Those seeking more get up and go should check out the V6 Sport Fusion with 325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque.
The hybrid will move forward in just the electric mode, but a very soft touch is need on the accelerator.
After initial fidgeting, the leather clad 10-way adjustable driver’s seat was comfortable with memory to lock favorite settings. There was ample total room for four adults.
The center dash housed an 8.0-inch touchscreen running the Sync 3 system, Ford’s newest generation of audio, phone, and navigation controls. It works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
A center console mounted rotary switch took the place of the traditional shift lever and opened up some additional storage space.
Out on the road, there was very little wind, engine or tire noise on 70 mph highways with I prefixes.
So how much does gas sipping cost? A base model hybrid starts at $25,295 on up to $35,155 for the “Blue Lightning” test car. But it was missing some key ingredients such as navi for one thing, and a remote trunk opener.
Optional packages totaling $3,760 brought Park Assist Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping System, and Cross Traffic Alert. The hyper Driver Alert went off twice when I was making a couple of routine lane changes. It told me to stop for caffeine.
Go for lots of equipment in the Platinum model for 2018 and the starting point is $39,305.
In sum, if the prospective owner is seeking not only fuel economy, but also abundant safety equipment, this is the car to be driven off the lot.
Consumer Reports said the reliability of the Fusion models is better than average.
It is basically unchanged for 2018.