• 2019 Ford Fusion Energi

Road Test: 2019 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium PHEV

Uber Efficient Midsize Sedan

The auto business is tough and is going through one of the largest transformations in its history. The reliance on the gasoline internal combustion engine (ICE) and the popularity of sedans are coming to an end. This doesn’t mean either will go away completely, they just won’t be the most popular choices in the next 20+ years.

2019 Ford Fusion Energi

The last of a dying breed

Ford announced that by 2020 they were dropping their sedans in favor of crossovers, SUVs and trucks, and that all future Ford vehicles will have some sort of electric option. This means the Taurus, Fiesta, C-Max hybrid and Fusion will be gone. The only current nameplates remaining will be the Mustang, which will get a hybrid option, and the Focus, reconfigured as a compact crossover.

So, this brings us to the 2019 Ford Fusion Energi. This plug-in electric hybrid vehicle (PHEV) is one of the sedans being dropped (though unlike the other models, its end date is still uncertain). What will replace it is unknown, but it had better offer no less comfort, style and fuel economy than the Fusion Energi. This midsize sedan may be in declining demand, but chucking it without an improved replacement will not serve Ford well at all.

Efficient, Smooth Driving

The 2019 Ford Fusion Energi is powered by a 2.0-liter I4 engine with an 88 kilowatt electric motor, putting out 188 total system horsepower. Mated to an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (eCVT), the EPA rates fuel economy at 42 miles per gallon for the gasoline engine only. But add-in the electric motor and you get a robust 97 MPGe highway/109 city/103 combined. MPGe is a measurement of how efficient a car powered by electricity is, using the same amount of energy contained in one gallon of gasoline. Use MPGe to compare to other electric vehicles.

2019 Ford Fusion Energi

The power is there to get where you need to go

In 339 miles of driving throughout Southern California, Clean Fleet Report averaged 48.2 mpg. For a 3,668-pound sedan that can seat five adults, this is excellent fuel economy. Had we spent more time in town, where we could have used the 25 miles of pure electric driving, the average would have been much higher.

The 2019 Ford Fusion Energi is a true open road cruiser. It isn’t fast off the line, but the added boost from the electric motor comes on strong and helps move things along when needed. Acceleration is smooth and consistent at any speed. The electric power-assisted steering gave good road feedback, with the front MacPherson struts and the independent multi-link rear suspension providing a quiet and smooth ride. Hard cornering and attacking mountain curves are not what the Fusion Energi was designed to do. It handles those well when adhering to the posted speed limit.

Ford’s hybrid system automatically switches between the electric drive mode, combined electric motor and gasoline engine, and gasoline-only engine power. The unnoticeable transitions can be monitored by viewing the dash gauges. Energy is added to the lithium-ion battery when applying the brakes or coasting by the regenerative charging system, which converts kinetic energy into electric energy and stores it in the battery. This process can also be viewed on the center-mounted Energy Flow screen, where you can watch the power flow into and out of the battery and engine.

The nine-kilowatt-hour battery also can be charged by plugging it into a 120V (Level I) or 240V (Level II) outlet. Level I takes seven hours while the faster Level II will give a full recharge in 2.15 hours.

Exterior Style

2019 Ford Fusion Energi

Style that will get you there economically

The 2019 Fusion Energi is a nice-looking sedan, with our Titanium test car being a head-turner. The Titanium-only chrome mesh grill against the Rich Copper Metallic was very attractive. The LED headlights sweep far back into the fenders and sit above fog lamps in the lower fascia. The lines are sleek and smooth, ending with a short trunk lid and a demure spoiler sitting over the LED tail lights. Except for the charging door on the left front fender and the nearly inconspicuous “ENERGI” badge sitting below the left tail light, the Fusion Energi is not shouting to the world it is a plug-in electric vehicle.

The 17-inch Sparkle silver-painted aluminum wheels were mounted with 225/50R Michelin Energy Saver all-season tires, providing good traction and a quiet ride.

Welcoming Interior

Clean Fleet Report’s Fusion Energi Titanium has a driver friendly cockpit design with high-quality materials. The two-toned Russet and black interior was as tasteful and attractive as any we have seen. The gauges, including the hybrid management system, were all in easy sight and the controls in easy reach. The rear and side visibility was good, but the raked windshield necessitated a head duck when getting in. The rear seat was easily accessed through long doors, and even those approaching six-feet had ample headroom.

2019 Ford Fusion Energi

A great place to spend some time

It took only a few short minutes to pair the phone and adjust the 10-way power, heated/cooled leather driver seat. The front passenger seat also had 10-way power adjustments with heating and cooling. The heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, with controls for audio, hands-free telephone operation and adaptive cruise control, was adjusted by the tilt and telescopic steering column.

The 12-speaker Sony infotainment (information and entertainment) system, came with an 8.0-inch LCD capacitive high-resolution touch-screen. The SYNC3 system included voice command navigation along with SiriusXM/FM/CD/HDAM with MP3 playback capability. The SiriusXM service is included for six months. There is an auxiliary audio jack, USB ports with iPod connectivity, music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Where the Fusion Energi falls short to its competition is in the trunk space. The Fusion began as a gasoline powered car, then was converted to a hybrid, and now the Energi is a PHEV. For those last two configurations an increasing portion of the trunk was sacrificed for the battery.

Safety

The Fusion Energi is well-equipped for safety with eight air bags, a tire pressure monitoring system, collapsible steering column, anti-theft alarm, engine immobilizer and wipers that are rain and speed sensitive.

Standard for 2019 is Ford’s Co-Pilot360 driver-assist technology that includes a rear view camera, blind spot monitor, hill start assist, lane keeping and rear cross traffic emergency braking, to list just a few of this encompassing package.

Pricing and Warranties

2019 Ford Fusion Energi

Subtle reminders of the plug

The 2019 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium has a base MSRP of $36,595. Clean Fleet Report’s test car had a total price, including $395 in options, but less the Fusion Energi Discount of $2,000, of $37,885. Pricing excludes the $895 destination and delivery fee. Being a plug-in electric vehicle, the Fusion Energi will qualify for federal and state rebates.

The 2019 Ford Fusion Energi comes with these warranties.

  • Hybrid Components  Eight years/100,000 miles
  • Powertrain                   Five years/60,000 miles
  • Basic                             Three years/36,000 miles         
  • Anti-perforation         Five years/Unlimited miles
  • Roadside Assistance  Five years/60,000 mi.                               

Observations: 2019 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium

Ford estimates a 26-mile all-electric range for the 2019 Ford Fusion Energi, which will handle the local driving needs for most people. This would certainly cover driving the kids to school, and then around town shopping and running other errands. Plus, for many people it would also cover or take a big bite out of a daily work commute. Imagine carpooling with two or three co-workers who will gladly chip-in for gas (or electricity).

2019 Ford Fusion Energi

Plugging in extends the electric range

Clean Fleet Report has driven and reviewed many sedans from several different manufacturers, and can report quality has never been better. It is a shame more people are not considering sedans when shopping for their next vehicle, which, of course, is the reason Ford is making this huge shift in its vehicles in the coming years.

When at your local Ford dealer, check-out the 2019 Ford Fusion Energi and the Fusion Hybrid. The latter doesn’t plug-in, but has comparable fuel economy and costs a bit less.

Whatever you end up buying, Happy Driving!

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Road Test: 2018 Toyota Prius Prime

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Disclosure:

Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

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About Author: John Faulkner

John Faulkner is an automotive marketing professional with more than 30 years experience branding, launching and marketing automobiles. He has worked with General Motors (all Divisions), Chrysler (Dodge, Jeep, Eagle), Ford and Lincoln-Mercury, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota on consumer events and sales training programs. His interest in automobiles is broad and deep, beginning as a child riding in the back seat of his parent's 1950 Studebaker. He has a keen appreciation of Art Deco design, no bias for domestic versus foreign makes and loves competition - whether that be F1, IndyCar, Sports Cars, NASCAR or participating in Track Days at places such as Laguna Seca, Thunderhill or Willow Springs. John lives in Dana Point, CA, and enjoys a top-down drive on PCH on an early Sunday morning.

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