Sizing Up The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid

The Fusion Hybrid finally cracks the code to unravel Toyota’s stranglehold on the eco market by offering consumers what they actually want: a gorgeous sedan shape, a quiet cabin and very good handling. These are all places where the Prius cannot compete. The Ford also runs lithium-ion batteries for a 47 mpg rating, despite costing just $27,000.

Ford’s most promising hybrid to date is joined by a plug-in model called the Fusion Energi. The Hybrid is the volume electrified sedan and packs some great technology into one of the most attractive midsize car shapes on the market.

The Hybrid might actually be the pick of the range that also includes a 1.6-liter EcoBoost and a base 2.5-liter four-cylinder in a new-for-2014 ‘S’ trim at the bottom of the range.

The Fusion Hybrid offers nearly all of the Energi’s benefits for about $10,000 less. This makes it a really viable contender among urban dwellers without access to a garage plug.

The 47/47/47 mpg across all EPA categories takes most of the headlines but the Fusion Hybrid also drives really nicely and is more balanced that the typical sedan, thanks the trunk-mounted battery pack helping even the weight distribution of this front-drive car.

Conventional Hybrid sedans are just starting to really move up the sales charts versus the dedicated Prius hatchback. Even among Prius owners, there is some latent desire for a classic large sedan’s refinement and handling. The Fusion Hybrid aces these criteria and many more, via a sophisticated suite of interior technologies and active safety options that are from a class above.

How will the Ford fare versus this fall’s supercharged Nissan Altima Hybrid and the popular Toyota Camry Hybrid?

Exterior

3.

The Fusion is easily the best-looking Ford sedan since… the 1986 Taurus? No, the Fusion is the best-looking Ford sedan ever made. It recreates some of the Audi A7’s fastback profile but does so with a conventional trunk.

Hatchbacks are practical but loud inside and not favored by Americans, Russians or the Chinese. One reason is because if you have to open the hatch in the winter to drop someone off with luggage, then the whole interior gets cold and snowy.

Forget all the flak about the nose being an Aston Martin knockoff. Aston Martin grilles are not really this shape. In fact, this grille is the shape of the Ford Focus ST’s grille when it is upside down.

The Ford execution looks great regardless of its inspirations and it is enhanced by extra-slim, upward-tilting headlights, a solid painted bumper shape forming a V in the nose and good faux air vents grounding the design.

The detailing within the grille consists of twin chrome horizontal bars tightly spaced in just the upper grille. This recalls the Audi S4 more than most recent Aston Martins. In a unique touch, the blue oval is smaller and mounted flush near the edge of the hood versus living in the grille.

The headlights lack LED driving lights but do offer a unique light signature via their adjustable beam height. The way the halogen light is packed into just half the projector ball is something that is reminiscent of the latest BMW models with the optional LED headlamps.

The Fusion Hybrid has a deep body kit to enhance its appearance in spite of the small wheels. In the Ice Storm color of some of the photos, the car looks really wimpy. The design feels more cohesive and impressive in that sharp blue or other dark colors. The Fusion’s design is not as color sensitive as the Camry and Altima. It also looks sharp in white and silver but much more eco-nerdy in this light green.

In the blue car’s profile, there’s a real sense of premium proportions within the Fusion Hybrid that is totally absent in its Camry and Altima competitors. From the back, the interesting LED taillights are ringed in by a solid LED band. Inside, there are some individual chrome reflectors for each brake light LED.

The Fusion’s LED taillights are very current and far classier than the chrome-trimmed taillights that keep appearing on many Toyota models.

Something unusual that’s visible on the test Fusion Hybrid – as well as other Fusions on the road – is that the trunk and the taillights do not exactly shut or align properly on the left-hand side. Not a big deal but also not a fault that would be shipped by some luxury brands.

Even comparing the Fusion’s style and exterior finish to the current Audi range speaks volumes for the tasteful Ford design. The Hybrid Appearance pack is a nice upgrade that includes larger wheels, fog lights and a tasteful trunk spoiler.

2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid – Standard Exterior Features:

  • Integrated spotter mirrors
  • Security approach lamps/heated exterior power mirrors
  • Chrome grille
  • Halogen projector headlamps
  • LED tail lamps
  • Body-color rocker extension
  • Single exhaust with bright tip

2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid – Optional Exterior Features:

  • Hybrid Appearance Package includes: 18-inch machined aluminum wheels, rear trunk spoiler, leather-wrapped steering wheel, fog lamps and charcoal cloth seats with red contrast stitching on seats, console and armrest

2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid – Exterior Dimensions:

Wheelbase112.2 In.
Overall Length191.8 In.
Overall Width72.9 In.
Overall Height58.0 In.
Track (Front/Rear)62.3/62.0 In.
Weight3,668 Pounds
Drag Coefficient0.28

Interior

The interior of the Fusion is less of a homerun than the exterior but has many merits of its own. The design is somewhere between Volkswagen Scirocco and Ford Taurus SHO. The seats have that signature VW lateral ribbing while the center stack rises at a broad angle and houses the climate and infotainment functions.

The Fusion Hybrid comes in three levels of infotainment: the base knob/buttons system, an upgraded SE MyFord Technology Package that has knobs but also the touchscreen, and finally the full MyFord Touch with Sony branding and the big central control knob. Overall, the test car’s SE tech package plus navigation is the best of both worlds by blending the deep and configurable MyFord touchscreen navigation, radio and entertainment with some simpler knobs for volume control and tuning.

There are many published gripes about Ford’s touch systems, but overall it is a logically designed and satisfying interface with built-in tutorials and help prompts. The biggest issue people may have is with some basic controls, like fan direction buried in the menus. Another is that the touch controls for the climate buttons and the nav screen both require a practiced hand.

It only takes about five minutes in the car to get comfortable enough to avoid unregistered taps.

Both the nav screen and the climate controls require the same technique of consistent, patient prods. While unlike the multi-touch controls on an iPad or a Tesla Model S, the Ford’s controls are a good compromise at this price. The slight button lag is likely down to limited processing power.

The Ford’s A/C system continues to be extremely powerful versus the Camry or Altima’s anemic fans. The Fusion Hybrid includes a long-time Ford-exclusive “Max AC” button that is treasured during summer time.

There is a huge range of adjustment for the seats and especially the tilt/telescoping steering column. It’s possible to sit pretty reclined and still have the wheel low and nearby. The adjustable headrest angle is also a welcome addition versus some Fords, like the Mustang.

Both the Hybrid Luxury and the SE MyFord Touch packs bring the cabin significantly upmarket via leather heated seats, a backup camera, auto-dimming mirrors and leather for the steering wheel and gear knob.

Two new options for the 2014 Fusion Hybrid Titanium are red leather seats and also power heated and cooled seats.

2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid – Interior Dimensions:

Seating Capacity5
Headroom (Front/Rear)39.2/37.8 In.
Legroom (Front/Rear)44.3/38.3 In.
Hip Room (Front/Rear)55.0/54.4 In.
Shoulder Room (Front/Rear)57.8/56.9 In.
EPA Cargo Volume12 Cubic-Feet

2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid – Standard Interior Features:

  • 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar and 2-way power passenger seat with front 4-way adjustable head restraints
  • Eco-friendly cloth seating, Seat-back map pockets
  • Dual-Zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (DEATC), Cabin air filter
  • AM/FM Stereo with CD Player, MP3 Capability, Six Speakers, Audio input jack
  • SYNC With MyFord Voice-Activated Communications and Entertainment System
  • Urethane shift knob, Floor mats (1st row)
  • Power door locks, Intermittent/speed-sensitive wipers, Remote trunk release
  • Power windows — one touch up/down driver and all passenger windows; Global Window Open / Close Feature
  • Steering wheel with cruise and audio controls
  • Automatic headlamps
  • Dual LCD SmartGauge Cluster with Eco Guide
  • Cruise Control with EcoCruise

2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid – Interior Options:

  • The Hybrid Luxury Package ($2,000): Leather heated front seats, leather-wrapped wheel and gearknob, auto-dimming outside memory mirrors, fog lamps
  • SE MyFord Touch Technology Package: Backup camera, dual-zone auto climate control, SYNC with MyFord Touch and a 110-volt outlet in the car ($895)
  • Navigation system into above option ($795)
  • Moonroof ($995)
  • Remote start ($100)
  • Rear proximity sensors ($295)
  • Rear-seat DVD players ($349 for one, $729 for two)
  • Illuminated door sill plates (200)

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