2017 Ford Fusion Energi Long Distance Performance

2017 Ford Fusion Energi
2017 Ford Fusion Energi Long Distance Performance
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About the Author

R. G. Beltzner

R. G. Beltzner

A long time automobile enthusiast, and competitive race driver, Rainer Beltzner provides performance driving and racing instruction for Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari owners and clubs. He's been doing this for over 25 years. Often, Rainer is found driving/teaching on one of the Canadian Tire Motorsport, Shannonville or Watkins Glen tracks. During the “off-season”, Rainer spends his spare time driving and evaluating a broad range of vehicles. Follow Rainer on Twitter @redy2rol.

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During the past year, I have reviewed both the Fusion Hybrid as well as the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi. More recently, I had the opportunity to take a 2017 Ford Fusion Energi on a long distance drive of over 1,200 km in a period of 14 continuous hours. This is one way to test out driver and passenger comfort as well as vehicle functionality.

To begin the journey, I took advantage of the excellent navigation system ($800 option) to select my destination near Grand Rapids, Michigan. To my amusement, the first route suggested by the navigation system took me through Fort Erie, expanding the normal driving time from Oakville – Grand Rapids to over 13 hours. Lesson # 1 on navigation systems – make sure the default settings are appropriate. Once reprogrammed to proper settings, the route displayed made much more sense and suggested an approximate 7-hour drive.

Along the way, we had a need to find a pharmacy – an easy task with the navigation search function. During the drive, the system provided timely voice and visual prompts that were especially helpful getting through some of the more complicated interstate exchanges.

On the return trip, I decided to try a different return route by entering a waypoint. That all worked very well EXCEPT for when the system went totally blank during a complicated intersection of roads. In addition to a blank screen leaving me guessing where to drive, my preset destination no longer existed when the system came back alive a minute later. No problem I thought – just drive on, go to the previous destination on the menu and “enter”. My desired address did not exist on the previous destination and of course, you can’t enter a new destination while the car is in drive mode. So I had to pull over on a side street to look up and re-enter my destination.

For this trip, my passenger had a bit of luggage to bring along. That is when I found out that the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi has the trunk space of a small sports car – very limited! Fortunately the rear seats took the overflow. If you’re looking for a car to hold four people and their luggage – best to look at some other options like the Ford Edge.

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As a 6’6” 250lb driver, I suffer from lower back stiffness and leg cramping especially in smaller vehicles. I’m happy to report that 14 straight hours in the driver seat were not a problem for me. The leather driver’s seat as well as the steering wheel was sufficiently adjustable for my size. Cruise control helped to give my legs some time to stretch out once in a while, to minimize cramping. I also had lots of opportunity to use the SiriusXM satellite radio and audio system with 11 speakers. Given a choice, I would upgrade the audio system to the optional Sony system with 22 speakers. The “regular” system just doesn’t have the sound clarity at higher volumes.

The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi advertisements include some interesting statements on how far you can drive on a tank of fuel. My experience with two occupants, some luggage and an average speed over the trip of 96 km/hr resulted in a fuel economy of 6.9L/100km (676 km range on a tank) and 6.1L/100 (722km range on a tank) with one occupant, no luggage on the return trip. The plug-in hybrid does not offer any better fuel economy than the regular Fusion hybrid when driving long distances. For a comparison to another sedan, I repeated the same 14-hour trip a week later in our 2009 Genesis (V6) with a consistent fuel economy of 8.1L/100km and every bit of luggage stored in the spacious trunk.

Despite the one-time navigation system failure and insufficient trunk space, I really enjoyed the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi on this long road trip. However, unless you regularly drive short distances and remember to plug in the car at night, there is not a lot of advantage having the “Energi” model over the “Hybrid” model – other than the $7,000+ rebate from the government and the right to use HOV lanes on our 400 systems in Ontario.

In addition to the equipment group 800A and destination/delivery charges that increased the base price of this SE model, the vehicle also included $1,250 moon-roof with universal garage door opener; $600 for active park assist; $100 for an engine block heater; $150 for all weather floor mats; $800 navigation system; $700 for painted 18” wheels; $200 for 3M paint protection film; and finally, $1,650 for the driver assist package that includes blind spot detection and lane keeping system.

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