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.
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:
|Overall Length||191.8 In.|
|Overall Width||72.9 In.|
|Overall Height||58.0 In.|
|Track (Front/Rear)||62.3/62.0 In.|
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:
|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 Volume||12 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)
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
The Fusion Hybrid handles with an eagerness not seen elsewhere in the segment from the Altima or Camry. The car has a very smooth and quiet ride on the 17-inch wheels but can still be hurled into corners with impressive agility.
The combination of a lightweight aluminum 2.0-liter and the li-ion batteries in the trunk means the car is nicely balanced. The suspension is soothing in part because of the gas-pressurized struts at all four corners. These are the new progressive design that can really tighten up under cornering loads but are otherwise very relaxed.
The engine runs the Atkinson cycle for efficiency but still produces 141 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. Both of these stats put the 98-horsepower Prius Plug-in on notice. The car feels quick in city driving, thanks to the combined hybrid and gasoline power rating of 188 horsepower.
The Fusion Hybrid’s single electric motor on its own is more than twice as powerful as the dual electric motors in the Prius PHEV.
The sprint time climbs slightly from the previous Fusion Hybrid’s 8.0-second time up to 8.5 seconds to 60 mph. The eCVT is still a CVT but the Fusion Hybrid’s transition to engine power from electricity is marked only by a slight growl from somewhere under the car.
As with all hybrids, the Fusion Hybrid is a dream in traffic thanks to effortless coasting and creeping that flips the car to EV mode. There is no button to manually select EV mode, like in the Fusion Energi, but still the Hybrid seems to rely more on its batteries than any Prius PHEV so far and especially versus the Camry Hybrid.
2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid – Mechanical Details:
|Engine Size And Type||DOHC, Four Valves Per Cylinder, Intake Variable Camshaft Timing (IVCT)|
|Peak Power||141 Horsepower|
|Peak Torque||129 Pound-Feet|
|Peak Torque – Electric||177 Pound-Feet|
|Peak Combined Power||188 Horsepower|
|0-To-60 Mph||8.5 Seconds, Est|
|Top Speed||108 Mph, Est|
|EPA Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined)||47/47/47|
The Ford Fusion Hybrid is a Top Safety Pick Plus by the IIHS and a five-star car from the NHTSA. You can see the strength of the car’s car structures in the very difficult new IIHS small overlap test. Ford modified the vehicle structure in December 2012 following less impressive original results in the new test.
The Fusion Hybrid includes eight standard airbags and front knee bags that help minimize leg injuries during frontal collisions. The long-running Ford keyless entry pad continues in the latest models via a subtle illuminated touch panel on the car’s B-pillar. This continues the helpful lockout and family-entry benefits in a more subtle package than the visible keypad previously mounted on the body panels.
Another safety innovation beats even the vaunted 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-class to the market: inflatable airbags in the rear seatbelts are available on the Fusion Hybrid for 2014. These promise more support area than belts alone during a crash. This lessens potential rope burn injuries that are possible across passenger chests and shoulders from a normal seatbelt.
2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid – Standard Safety Features:
- Dual front airbags, front seat side airbags, 1st- and 2nd-row side air curtains
- Driver and front passenger knee airbag
- Inside trunk safety release
- Seat belt pre-tensioners
- Tire pressure monitoring system
- AdvanceTrac with Electronic Stability Control and Torque Vectoring Control
- LATCH (lower anchor and tethers for children) system
- Child Safety Locks – rear doors
- SOS post-crash Alert
- Perimeter alarm, SecuriLock passive anti-theft system
- SecuriCode keyless entry keypad, Keyless Entry Keyfob
- Emergency Brake Assist
2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid – Optional Safety Features:
- Driver assistance package: BLIS, Lane-Keep Assist, automatic high-beams and rain-sensing wipers ($1,140)
- Blind-spot alert system
- Active parking assistant with forward proximity sensors ($895)
- Adaptive cruise control ($995)
The Fusion Hybrid is priced from $27,200 and comes in S, SE and Titanium trim levels. The SE increases to $29,980 and the price jumps to $32,100 for the Titanium model. This is good value compared with the $33,000 base price for the Prius Plug-in and especially the Fusion Energi’s $38,000 price.
It does come in slightly higher than some base Camry and Altima Hybrids but all are very close when similarly equipped.
The Camry Hybrid uses up-sized Prius components but the EPA highway mileage is far worse at 39 mpg versus the Ford’s 47 mpg. The Camry is slightly quicker but a worse drive overall,l thanks to its unrefined drivetrain and cheap interior. It goes without saying that the Camry is not nearly as attractive as the Ford in the exterior design department.
The Altima goes its own way with a new hybrid design for 2014 that combines a supercharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder with li-ion batteries. Expected to cost almost exactly the same as the Ford, the Altima is expected to accelerate faster but be less confident in corners due to its floaty ride.
There are a few ways to concretely measure the desirability of a new car model. One is total sales and another is how quickly dealers can sell a car once on the lot. By this last measure, the Fusion is the most desirable Ford available. Fusion Hybrids average just ten days at dealers before being sold versus a 40-plus average in the industry.
This is great news for Ford and even better news for those in the market for an efficient hybrid with real-car appeal. Ford’s latest Fusion is a seriously impressive vehicle and the Hybrid trim offers the best value of the group with its ease of use and stunning efficiency.
The really impressive parts of the Fusion extend across all models. The car has a very good quality interior that’s spacious, high-tech and very comfortable. Additionally, the exterior easily makes all Fusions look significantly more expensive than they are.
Delightful details abound in the Fusion Hybrid. The modern architecture can be intimidating at first but shortly becomes second-nature and makes all other cars in the price range seem poorly equipped.
The Fusion Hybrid is genuinely entertaining to drive quickly and has great handling. At the same time, it is also informative and interesting via the hybrid energy displays.
The only thing more impressive to buyers than the Ford’s efficiency and style will be the Fusion Hybrid’s quiet and smooth ride.
|Driving||A||Great Handling Balance, Smooth Ride, Quiet Cabin|
|Performance||B||Not Speedy In Sprints But Peppy And Responsive Electric Assist|
|Look||A-||The Fusion Hybrid Looks Terrific With The Optional Wheels|
|Value||A-||Much Cheaper Than Prius Plug-In And Fusion Energi; Sophisticated Interior|
|Overall||A-||The Best Mid-Size Hybrid Sedan On The Market|