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2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid & 2015 Ford Fusion Energi: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2015

Suppose you're interested in the 2015 Ford Fusion, but you're not sold on its maximum of 37 miles per gallon on the highway. That's pretty good for a family sedan, of course, but maybe you'd like a little more, or you'd prefer to use no gasoline at all.

Fortunately for Fusion fans like you, Ford offers two additional variants with impeccable green credentials. The 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid delivers a whopping 42 mpg combined, while the 2015 Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid provides full electric propulsion for up to 20 miles on a single charge. And other than their reduced trunk capacity (hey, the battery pack has to go somewhere), these eco-friendly Fusions are basically the same as their conventionally powered siblings.

But the best news of all may be the pricing. The Hybrid starts at around $27,000, and even the top-of-the-line Energi Titanium model comes in well under $40,000. That's a lot of technology for not a lot of coin. If you're looking for efficiency in this segment, these Fusions are a great place to start.

What's New for 2015?

The SE trim level gets a standard 6-way power passenger seat, while the Titanium trim adds a 10-way power passenger seat. All models now come with a rearview camera.

What We Like

Looks great; handles smartly; highly energy-efficient; serious technology; family-sedan convenience

What We Don't

Narrow front seats; compromised trunk capacity due to hybrid/electric hardware

How Much?

$26,910-$37,455

Fuel Economy

The Fusion Hybrid employs the one-two punch of a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and an electric motor (AC-synchronous type). Total system output is rated at 188 horsepower. The transmission is a continuously variable automatic (CVT). Fuel economy is estimated at 44 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.

The Fusion Energi has the same powertrain, but it does the Hybrid one better by adding plug-in functionality. That means you can charge it up like a smartphone and run exclusively on electric power for up to 20 miles, thanks to a much larger battery pack in the trunk. After that, the gas engine kicks in, effectively turning the Energi into a regular hybrid.

Once those 20 electric miles are up and you're running on hybrid power, the Environmental Protection Agency rates the Energi at 40 mpg city/38 mpg hwy (slightly under the output of the Hybrid model).

Standard Features & Options

The Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi are offered in three trim levels: S, SE and Titanium.

The Hybrid S ($26,910) starts with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, dual LCD EcoGuide displays, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with auxiliary controls, a height-adjustable manual driver's seat, a trip computer, MyKey parental-control capability, Bluetooth, SYNC voice-command functionality with MyFord mobile-app support, a rearview camera and a 6-speaker audio system with an auxiliary input jack.

The Hybrid SE ($27,715) steps up to SecuriCode keypad access, heated exterior mirrors with puddle lamps, a 10-way power driver's seat, a 6-way power passenger seat and satellite radio. It's also eligible for some options that don't apply to the base S, including automatic high beams, fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and the MyFord Touch infotainment system with an 8-in touchscreen.

The Hybrid Titanium ($32,665) gets those options as standard, plus 18-in wheels, keyless entry/start, leather upholstery, heated front seats with 10-way power passenger adjustments, rear parking sensors and an exclusive 12-speaker Sony audio system.

The plug-in Energi SE Luxury ($35,625) is equipped similarly to the Hybrid SE, while the plug-in Energi Titanium ($37,455) is equipped similarly to the Hybrid Titanium.

Unfortunately, cargo capacity is compromised by the rather crudely installed battery pack, which creates an unsightly bulge in the trunk floor. To be fair, the Hybrid's trunk of 12 cu ft. is pretty decent by hybrid standards, but the Energi drops to just 8.8 cu ft. due to its larger battery pack.

Safety

The 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid and 2015 Fusion Energi come standard with 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and eight airbags (front, front-side, front-knee and full-length side-curtain). Crash-mitigating inflatable rear seat belts are optional.

Available electronic driving aids include a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist and a radar-based adaptive cruise-control system with forward-collision mitigation.

In government crash-testing, the 2015 Fusion Hybrid received five stars out of five overall, including five stars for front impacts and four stars for side impacts. Oddly, the structurally similar 2015 Fusion Energi received five stars all around, including side impacts.

Behind the Wheel

In our interior evaluation, we were impressed with the sleekness of the Fusion's dashboard and controls. This is a technologically advanced vehicle, and it has a cabin to match. Our slimmer staffers enjoyed the narrow, supportive front seats, but if you're broader of beam, you might find them a bit confining.

Rear passengers will likely have few complaints. Although the fastback rear roofline presents a challenge, Ford's engineers were up to the task; there's enough headroom for 6-footers. Legroom is generous, as well. But given how long the Fusion looks from the side, you might expect even more.

Under the hood, the hybrid powerplant makes both the Hybrid and Energi feel quicker than they are, thanks to its always-on electric torque. The CVT is surprisingly responsive; when you floor it, these cars get up and go. The gas engine is rather noisy, though, especially at full throttle. With the Energi, of course, you may never have to listen to that gas engine if your commute is sufficiently short. It's a cool experience to be whisked along silently by the Energi's electric motor, and the all-electric acceleration is satisfying in its own right, though certainly not as quick.

On the road, the Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi share the sporty demeanor of their conventional platform mates. Corners are taken in stride, and the steering is sharp and direct. Around town, the Fusions ride a bit firmly but never harshly. Overall, there's a taut European feel here that's a nice bonus in this eco-conscious class.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid -- New for 2015, the plug-in Accord is drawing rave reviews for its hybrid technology and frugal performance.

2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid -- Although the Camry Hybrid can't quite match the Fusion Hybrid's fuel economy, it comes close, and it's still the standard by which other midsize hybrids are judged.

2015 Toyota Prius -- Available as both a regular and a plug-in hybrid, the Prius' popularity speaks for itself. However, the plug-in version isn't as capable in full electric mode as the Fusion Energi.

Used Lexus ES 300h -- Essentially a luxurious version of the Camry Hybrid, the ES 300h can be had at a considerable discount via Lexus' certified pre-owned program.

Autotrader's Advice

These are both excellent cars. If we had our druthers, though, we'd spring for the versatile Energi, as the electric-only mode is a real boon for commuters. Just make sure you're OK with the limited trunk space.

Find a Ford Fusion Hybrid for sale

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid & 2015 Ford Fusion Energi: New Car Review - Autotrader