Saturday, October 22, 2016 9:00 am ·  0 Comments
Two weeks ago I experienced the Fusion Energi, a “plug-in hybrid”. This week, it’s the 2017 Fusion Hybrid. For a discussion on the difference between a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid – go to my recent review article on the Ford Fusion Energi.
Driving and handling characteristics
The Fusion Hybrid comes with a 141-hp 2.0 liter four cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine and a 118-hp electric motor (1.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack) combining to give you a total of 188 horsepower. I found the Fusion Hybrid Titanium to be quite an acceptable handling car for pretty well all of the driving conditions that we typically encounter. Having said that, there is nothing beyond the novelty of a hybrid engine that provides anything of interest or special appeal. The car drives smoothly, brakes work well and steering feels normal. Acceleration is just ok, enough to get you merging into highway traffic but insufficient to comfortably pass cars on two lane roads. This is not a car that you will feel motivated to drive aggressively – simply because it won’t respond with any excitement.
What I found a bit amusing was my initial tendency to drive the car more sedately in order to see how much I could take advantage of the “hybrid” fuel savings – at times being a little distracted with the growth of leaves in the dash display. Unfortunately, that also irritated some drivers behind me, who did not appreciate my toddling along at 95 km/hr in the “slow” lane on the QEW, encouraging me with a few horn honks. Did they not understand that I was trying to leverage the ability of the hybrid to save fuel? My brief experiment in maximizing fuel savings on the highway quickly deteriorated into my regular higher speed driving. Even my “in city” experiments with slower acceleration and smoother braking seemed to cause other drivers some upset. I could only conclude that these “other” drivers had no concept of what driving a hybrid vehicle was all about.
Comfort and Styling
The Hybrid Titanium is near the top of the Fusion line and comes reasonably equipped as a comfortable but uninspiring vehicle. Starting with the soft ceramic leather heated 10-way power driver’s seat with two memory settings and 10-way power passenger seat, you also get the leather wrapped and heated steering wheel. Rear passengers also get A/C and heat vents as they recline on fold down 60/40 split seat backs. This Fusion Titanium comes standard with the excellent Sony 12 speaker audio system, Sync3 and Sirius XM. I like the exterior style of the car and the interior finish of the Titanium model is quite adequate but not exceptional. Once you add the optional paint ($450); premium floor mats ($150); moon-roof with universal garage door opener ($1,250); active park assist ($600); engine block heater ($100); cooled and heated seats ($600); adaptive cruise control ($1,500); voice activated navigation system ($800); and the driver’s assist package for lane keeping, blind spot detection, driver alert, and rain sensing wipers ($1,950) for a grand total of $7,500 on top of the base price, I think you might as well go for the very much nicer finished Hybrid Platinum at much the same cost.
Ford has done a very good job with their safety and “convenience” features and the Hybrid Titanium has many of the necessary safety features as standard equipment. However, some of the desirable safety and convenient items are optional and quickly increase the base price of the car.
Things to consider
The Ford Fusion Hybrid first generation came to market in 2010 through to 2012. A second generation was introduced in 2013 and the current 2017 model shows many positive style refinements. There are four models in the Fusion Hybrid line-up and depending on your need for features and comfort, the base price ranges from $28,888 to $41,988 (before taxes & delivery). As I indicated in the article, I would much rather drive the Hybrid Platinum than spend the same amount on a Titanium and adding many of the desirable options to the base cost.
Does a hybrid model save you money over the gasoline only version? For the Fusion “Titanium” model, the regular gas version is $500 cheaper at the base price. However, opting for the less expensive S or SE models, the difference is much more significant at $4,000 – $5,200. As you go up the model price range, the difference in base price gets smaller. Opting for the Platinum version of the Hybrid will actually reduce your base price over the gasoline only version by $300.
Comparing fuel economy ratings between the 2.0 L eco-boost engine (10.1 L/100 combined) and the 2.0 L Atkinson hybrid engine (5.6 L/100 combined) suggests a possible saving of 4.5 L of gasoline for every 100 kilometers driven. Assuming you drive 15,000 kilometers per year, you could reduce your gasoline consumption by 675 liters saving you roughly $800 per year depending on our fluctuating gasoline prices.
If you keep your car for 7 years or 105,000 kilometers, you could save up to $5,600 offsetting the price differential to go hybrid on the lower end models. If you are willing to go to the high end of the hybrid model line, you will quite likely pocket the potential $5,600 saving recognizing that you have also paid a significant premium much higher than the savings potential to go upscale. Ontario offers a $7,730 rebate for buying any of the Fusion Energi models. That makes the Fusion Energi the cheapest (after rebate) of the other Titanium or Platinum models and even cheaper than the Hybrid SE model.
(1) MSRP plus delivery and taxes
(2) MSRP plus delivery and taxes less $7,730 Ontario rebate (assuming car purchase)
If you’re willing to spend the extra cash to go for the higher-end models of the Ford Fusion, then I would definitely consider the Fusion Hybrid or the Fusion Energi. None of this considers the on-going maintenance cost or eventual resale value.
As a final note, my attempts at reducing fuel consumption over a total 464.3 km resulted in 5.9 L/100km and that included 174.1 EV kilometers.