The 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid is a stylish sedan that offers good performance and darn good gas mileage. It looks a lot like the traditional Fusion on the outside, which may be viewed as a plus for folks who want better fuel efficiency but who don’t necessarily want to announce to the world that they’re driving a “green” car as they would in a Prius.
The Fusion Hybrid got a makeover for 2013 and gets a few tweaks for 2017 including new bumper styling, a new rotary gear shifter and the updated SYNC 3 infotainment system.
The Fusion Hybrid is attractive inside and out. I received many compliments during my week-long test drive. A couple folks thought it had lines similar to a Jaguar.
It’s available in S, SE, Titanium and Platinum trims. Starting prices range from $25,785 to $37,130. It seats five passengers.
The front-wheel-drive Fusion Hybrid is powered by a 1.0-liter four cylinder engine which is paired with an electric motor and continuously variable automatic transmission. The system generates 188 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque.
The Fusion Hybrid is surprisingly fun to drive for a hybrid sedan. The electric motor means it’s quick off the line in busy city traffic, and you’ll have the urge to let it go a bit on twisty backroads. It’s also a smooth cruiser on the freeway and there’s plenty of passing power when you need it. The ride is quiet and smooth even over rough roads. You’ll probably not notice the switch between the gas- and electric-powered engines as it happens very smoothly.
EPA mileage estimates are 43 mpg city and 41 mpg highway with a combined rating of 42 mpg. I got 40 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is nicely appointed. Materials have a nice look and feel. Most plastics are soft-touch. Controls are well laid out. The new rotary transmission knob looks modern in the center console.
Even taller passengers will enjoy lots of leg- and headroom in the front seats. But headroom will be a bit tight in back for taller adults due to the sloping roofline.
The trunk is 12 cubic feet which is smaller than the 16 cubes in the regular Fusion, due to the hybrid battery. The rear seats split 60/40 giving you flexibility in hauling passengers and cargo.
My tester has the SYNC 3 infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen that you can pinch and swipe, just as you would your tablet or smartphone. Voice commands worked great for making phone calls and entering addresses. The system also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Hybrid S and SE trims only get the more basic SYNC system with a 4.2-inch screen.
If you have a driving teenager at home, you’ll be glad to know that all Fusion Hybrids come with Ford’s MyKey system, which lets you set maximum speed and radio volume limits for different drivers.
Competitors include the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Kia Optima Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid. Premium hybrids include the Lexus ES, Lincoln MKZ and Toyota Avalon. And, of course, you can’t forget the Toyota Prius.
Relatively low starting price
Nicely appointed and roomy interior
Respectable fuel efficiency
Surprisingly fun to drive for a hybrid sedan
The not so good:
The base model doesn’t come with many bells and whistles
Options can quickly send the price above 30-grand
Rear headroom and visibility is compromised by the sloping roofline
Many competitors have better reliability ratings
The Fusion Hybrid offers a fairly low starting price, good driving dynamics and respectable fuel efficiency. But the mid-size Hybrid sedan category is fiercely competitive so you’ll also want to consider the other options.