2020 Ford Fusion Energi

Style

The Ford Fusion is characterized by a wide stance, open grille, and a sloping roofline in the back. While the Fusion is generally considered to be handsome, the design is conservative—perhaps even boring, especially on the inside.

There really aren’t any plug-in hybrid sedans below $40,000 that stir much excitement. The best-seller is the Toyota Prius Prime, which has quintessential nerdy hybrid looks. The closest match to the Fusion Energi’s specs, prices, and design is the Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid.

We’re not big fans of the Honda Clarity’s choppy looks, although it’s bigger and bumps up EV range to 48 miles.

Performance

With its full-size proportions, and weighing about 4,000 pounds, the Fusion Energi is not a zippy, little electric car. That’s not its raison d'être. Instead, this plug-in hybrid, when driving in pure electric mode, glides sedately through city streets, providing a compliant and pleasant cruising experience.

Plenty of oomph is available from the 88-kW (118-horsepower) electric motor, especially for urban routes. Those all-electric miles are zero emissions, smooth, and quiet—although uneven road surfaces intrude into the cabin and can be felt. Noise-cancellation technology helps keep the decibel level to a minimum.

When more power is required, it can be found from Ford’s two-liter, four-cylinder engine, assisted by the electric motor. When working in combination, the two power sources produce palpable results—a jump in total horsepower output to 188 ponies. Zero-to-60 performance is likely around eight seconds. That’s not sporty, but perfectly fine for efficient, daily driving—precisely what the Fusion Energi was designed to provide.

There is little rumble or vibration to indicate when the gas engine swings into action—yet power is evident by capable highway on-ramp and passing maneuvers.

By choosing the EV Now mode, you can restrain the use of power from the gasoline engine in favor of all-electric driving for about 26 miles of driving after a full charge. The Energi has a standard EcoSelect button that automatically adjusts power usage for maximum efficiency.

Reviewers believe that the Fusion’s suspension is not well-tuned, resulting in a bumpy ride. They also criticize the brakes as having an unnatural feel and mediocre stopping power.

Efficiency/Range

The 2019 version of the Fusion Energi got a bump in battery size to 9 kilowatt-hours. That increases the all-electric driving range to 26 miles—on par with competitors like the Toyota Prius Prime and Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid.

When gas-power is added to the equation, the Fusion Energi’s range covers 610 miles.

The EPA certifies the Fusion Energi to deliver a combined 103 MPGe while there is charge in the battery pack. That’s not bad for a mid-size plug-in hybrid, but it lags behind the efficient Prius Prime’s 133 MPGe. All of these relatively large plug-in hybrid cars are extraordinarily fuel-thrifty, and the difference between them amounts to a few gallons per year (as well as a few cheap kilowatt-hours of electricity).

After the pack is drained, the Fusion Energi manages to deliver a combined city/highway rating of 42 mpg. That’s good for a vehicle as big and roomy as the Fusion, exactly matching the post-battery efficiency of the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, although not as good as the Prius Prime's impressive 54 miles per gallon.

In our test drives, trips in the Fusion Energi that started all-electric for the first 20 miles or so, but continued for another 50 or miles, registered around 75 mpg. Over a few days of driving, the vehicle averaged 55 mpg.

2020 Ford Fusion Energi

Charging

A complete empty-to-full charge time for the Fusion Energi should be about 2.5 hours with a 240-volt source, and 7 hours from a standard household outlet. There’s a strong argument for saving the money on special EV charging equipment and managing with a trickle charge from 110 volts.

One of the chief benefits of a plug-in hybrid, versus a pure electric vehicle, is the relatively quick recharge time of its smaller battery pack. Of course, you can't go as far purely on electricity. Still, if you can plug in at various times of the day to quickly fill up, then you can enjoy many of the benefits of an EV, without having to consider the demands and wait times for charging a larger pack.

Passenger/Cargo Room

The Fusion Energi’s comfortable interior has seating for five. Fit and finish are good, even if the dashboard instrumentation is a bit outdated. That said, the controls are logical and intuitive with abundant physical buttons. Ford’s dashboard features an 8.0-inch touchscreen with the respectable SYNC3 user interface.

Head- and leg-room are generous up front, and only slightly less so in the back because the rear seats are positioned higher.

While the no-plug Fusion has a deep, spacious trunk—measuring 16 feet—the copious cargo room is unfortunately diminished in the Energi version to accommodate the battery pack. This reduces the trunk space to 8.2 cubic feet. (For comparison, the Mustang convertible offers 11.4 cubic feet.) That can be a problem for families. The resulting odd dimensions leave room for about two carry-on suitcases and perhaps two duffel bags depending on their size.

Safety

The Fusion earned a “top safety pick” designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That is based on “Good” readings—the highest score—in front, side, rear, and roof-strength tests. The only test in which the Fusion received an “acceptable” was the “Small Overlap Front Test.” The headlights got a "Poor" rating from IIHS.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Fusion an overall rating of five stars. It earned five stars in the frontal crash, and four stars respectively in side crash and rollover evaluations.

The Fusion Energi now comes standard with Ford Co-Pilot 360 driver-assist system, which includes forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, automatic high beams, and a reverse camera.

Ford Fusion Energi

Price

The single trim choice for the 2020 Ford Fusion Energi sells for $36,200. That’s before the federal tax credit of $4,609, which drops the effective price to about $31,500. The power moonroof adds back $1,095.

The pricing positions the Ford Fusion Energi alongside the Hyundai Sonata and Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrids as true midsize sedans. The hatchback plug-in hybrids from Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia are closer to the mid-$20,000 range—although not as spacious.

The Fusion Energi’s single trim comes with perforated black or brown leather seats throughout the car. The front seats are heated, ventilated, and 10-way adjustable with position memory. Dual-zone climate control is included. The steering wheel is leather-trimmed and heated.

Ford Fusion Energi specifications

Availability: Now
Base MSRP: $33900
Est. tax credit: $4600
Technology: Plug-in Hybrid
Body type: Sedan
Seats: 5
EPA Range: 26 miles electric + gasoline
Battery size: 9 kWh
Charging rate: 3.3 kW

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