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2019 Ford Fusion Hybrid: New Car Review

You won’t be giving up much other than a little trunk space if you opt for the 2019 Ford Fusion Hybrid, and you’ll be gaining some fuel economy. The most fuel-efficient, gasoline-only Fusion delivers an estimated 27 miles per gallon in combined driving. The hybrid version soundly bests that with 42 mpg combined. Beyond the powertrain and price, Ford has introduced little difference between the regular Fusion and its hybrid cousin. The styling is handsome, the interior is roomy and both are loaded with some fairly compelling technology.

What’s New for 2019?

The S and Platinum trims are out, and the new SEL grade is in. Ford’s Co-Pilot360 with auto high beams, blind spot monitoring with cross traffic alert, reverse camera, lane-keeping assist and pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection and emergency braking is standard on all grades. A few minor tweaks to the exterior sum up the visual changes. FordPass Connect is standard, replacing SYNC Connect on SE and above trims. New electric storage system speeds up charging.

What We Like

Great looks; smart handling; high energy efficiency; serious technology; family sedan convenience

What We Don’t

Narrow front seats; compromised trunk capacity due to battery pack

How Much?

$28,450 — $35,380

Fuel Economy

The Fusion Hybrid uses a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Total system output is rated at 188 horsepower. The transmission is a continuously variable automatic (CVT) and front-wheel drive is the only configuration. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates fuel economy at 43 mpg city/41 mpg hwy/42 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 Ford Fusion Hybrid is available in SE, SEL and Titanium trim levels. Prices include the $895 factory delivery charge.

The Hybrid SE ($28,450) anchors the grades with 17-in aluminum wheels, a capless fuel filler, power dual outboard mirrors, power windows, a rearview camera, LED taillamps, a reverse sensing system, eight airbags, power door locks, keyless entry, a keyless-entry keypad, Ford Co-Pilot360, a 10-way power driver’s seat, a 6-way power front passenger’s seat, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 6-speaker audio system, SYNC3, FordPass Connect, satellite radio capability, a voice-activated navigation system, rain-sensing wipers, active noise control, hill start assist, a trip computer, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, push-button start and Ford MyKey. Options include a power moonroof, remote start and leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The Hybrid SEL ($32,415) builds on the SE with heated front seats, an 11-speaker audio system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, LED headlamps, a universal garage-door opener, remote start and a rear decklid spoiler. Options include a power moon roof.

The Hybrid Titanium ($35,380) adds the power moon roof, heated/cooled front seats, a 10-way front passenger’s seat, leather seating, a 12-speaker Sony audio system, ambient lighting, a heated steering wheel, a chrome-mesh grille, LED fog lamps, inflatable rear seat belts and 18-in aluminum wheels.

A rather crudely installed lithium-ion battery pack reduces cargo capacity compared with the regular Fusion. But in fairness, a trunk space of 12 cu ft. isn’t bad by hybrid standards, and at least the rear seats can fold down.

Safety

The Fusion Hybrid comes standard with 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and eight airbags (front, front side, front knee and full-length side curtain). Inflatable rear seat belts are standard on Titanium.

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

In government crash testing, the Fusion Hybrid received five stars out of five overall: five stars for front impacts and four stars for side impacts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the regular Fusion its top score of Good in all categories, except for the small-overlap frontal-offset test, where the car still achieved the second-best Acceptable rating.

Behind the Wheel

This is a tech-rich car right down to its cabin. The dashboard and controls have an impressive sleekness. Slimmer types will enjoy the narrow, supportive front seats, but those of a broader build might find them a tad confining. Rear passengers are well looked after. There’s just enough headroom for 6-footers despite the fastback roofline and legroom is fairly generous as well.

Although the gasoline engine can be noisy at full throttle, the hybrid drivetrain is quite brisk, thanks to instant torque from the electric motor. And the CVT is surprisingly responsive, which makes a welcome change from most units of this kind.

The European-influenced sporty character of the regular Fusion makes its way into the Hybrid. Corners are taken with confidence, while the steering is precise and direct. The ride around town is slightly firm, but not harsh.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Toyota Camry Hybrid — All-new last year and capable of 52 mpg combined. Clever packaging means trunk space is unaffected, so there’s 15.1 cu ft. to use.

2019 Honda Accord Hybrid — Also brand-new for 2018. Achieves 50 mpg combined and comes with 17 cu ft. of trunk space.

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid — Well-priced, well-equipped, well-made and achieves 42 mpg combined. There’s a plug-in hybrid variant as well. Updated for 2018.

2019 Kia Optima Hybrid — Essentially the same as the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. Neither model beats the Fusion Hybrid on trunk space.

Used Lexus ES 300h — Essentially a luxurious version of the previous-generation Camry Hybrid, the ES 300h can be acquired at a considerable discount via the Lexus certified pre-owned (CPO) program.

Autotrader’s Advice

The SE version is well equipped with all the same safety/driver-assist systems as the more expensive trims, so that would be our choice. But if your budget allows you to aim higher, go right ahead.

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