Ford’s Mainstream PHEV Gets More Range & Driver Assist Technology
The midsize Ford Fusion four-door sedan is on its sixth year of production and continues to get better with age.
There are nine versions of the Fusion and at the top is the Energi Titanium with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technologies that gained almost 20 percent more range for 2019 with a larger 9-kilowatt-hour (kWh) air-cooled battery.
Best-in-Class Hybrid Powertrain
The Fusion Energi is powered by a 2.0-liter iVCT Atkinson-Cycle four-cylindeer hybrid gas-electric power plant that has 188 horsepower—the gas engine providing 141 horsepower and the electric traction motor making up the balance. Power is directed to the front wheels by an electronic CVT transmission. Regenerative braking is standard, along with the ability to operate in either a mixed mode or as a pure EV. In the pure EV mode, the Fusion has an EPA range of 25 miles with an MPGe (miles per gallon-equivalent, which measures miles traveled by an electric car on the electric energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline) of 103. The Fusion Energi has a total EPA range of 588 miles, and EPA estimated mpg rating of 43 city/41 highway/42 combined. Our Velocity Blue car handily beat that range with an average of 58 mpg during our time with it. Our 0-60 mph times are average for an EV or PHEV at 8.5 seconds.
Moving between gas and electric, it is incredible smooth, with no jerking or hesitation. The only indication that the car is operating in gas mode is the faint droning of the gas engine.
25 Miles of EV Range
Conveniently located on the left front fender is the Fusion’s 3.5kW J1772 110/240V charging plug. Recharge time from empty takes about 2.5 hours at 240V, and almost double the time with the provided 110<<V L1 (household current) charger. The Fusion Energi has an EV-only advertised range of 25 miles and we were able to squeeze out about that much in regular city driving, with regenerative charging allowing the battery to top-off while the car was in motion. A half-depleted battery can regen recharge in about 2-3 hours of regular driving. A nice touch on the charging port is a colored ring that shows the state of charge of the traction battery. The only downside of the PHEV version of the Fusion is that the 9-kWh battery pack has to go somewhere, and that is in the trunk. Because of that, almost half of the trunk space is occupied by the battery. Regular Fusions have a trunk size of 18 cubic-feet, but the Energi reduces that 8.2 cu-ft.
The Fusion Energi retains its 60/40 fold-down seats, but access to the trunk is reduced to a slit. The size of the gas tank is also reduced to 14 gallons to accommodate the battery, and the car weighs almost two tons.
For remote access, the Fusion uses the MyFord mobile app and website to monitor and schedule charging. This can be handy as the cabin can be pre-conditioned using the MyFord app.
The Fusion Energi is Well-Appointed
The 2019 Ford Fusion Energi receives a new front and rear design, with the top of the line Energi Titanium checking off every feature: LED headlights, tail lights and fog lights, auto dim and folding exterior mirrors, a rear spoiler, 10-way leather power front seats with heating and cooling, dual-zone climate control, heated steering wheel, keyless entry with remote start, rain-sensing windshield wipers, rearview camera, Sync3 8.0-inch center screen with Apple CarPlay, navigation, perimeter alarm and anti-theft systems are all standard. For 2019, Sync3 with the Ford+Alexa app offers access to Alexa skills, like adding items to a shopping list or playing music. New Waze compatibility will help drivers avoid troublesome traffic spots.
New for the 2019 Fusion is the debut of Ford’s Level 2 autonomous driver assist system, Ford Co-Pilot360. This system is a “Hands-on, eyes-on” system that provides the same suite of services as provided by other manufacturers like Volvo, Jaguar, Nissan and Tesla. Co-Pilot360 includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping and alert, blind-spot monitoring, pre-collision with automatic emergency braking, automatic stop and go which automatically accelerates and brakes to a full stop when traffic halts while maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, pedestrian detection, auto high-beam LED lighting, SOS post-crash alert system and dynamic brake support.
The Fusion also includes a myriad of airbags, including inflating rear seatbelts and knee airbags.
In earlier years, the Energi was available in all of the different Fusion trim levels, but Ford learned that the Titanium trim version was where most of the sales were so for 2019 only the Titanium trim is available as a PHEV. The Energi has just about every safety and comfort option as standard with the only option being a power moonroof. Pricing is pretty straight forward at about $36,500 before incentives and discounts.
A Long-Distance Cruiser
Driving the 2019 ford Fusion Energi is very comfortable, quiet, and enjoyable. The Sync
3 media stack has a decent sound system, and the ability to use Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM, as well as different streaming music services makes long-distance traveling a breeze.
The strength of this car is also its weakness. Taking a long-distance road trip in the Fusion Energi with its 588-mile range, along with its comfortable cabin is the Fusion’s strong suite, that is, if it’s just for two people. The minuscule trunk space means that unless you are traveling ultra light, most of your luggage is going to have to go in the backseat. Taking the family on a vacation trip will be difficult, if not impossible, in this car without a roof rack.
The Death of the Four-Door Sedan is Near
This demise is not just the Fusion Energi’s problem alone. It’s every four-door sedan’s issue. The proliferation of CUVs, SUVs and other tall five-door pseudo-trucks has pretty much put the nail in the coffin for sedans. Four-door sedans have gone from best-selling car status to niche vehicles that only have a following as company cars, rentals, taxis, and police vehicles.
It’s that sales trend that led Ford last summer to announce that late 2019 it will discontinue the Fiesta, Taurus, Focus and the Fusion in the U.S. and Canada. By 2020, almost 90 percent of the Ford offerings in North America will be trucks, utility and commercial vehicles. While the Fusion is on the chopping block, it will probably be the last to go. The 2019 version is as good as it will get. This move follows similar announcements by Fiat Chrysler in 2017; GM announced last year that they too are retiring most, if not all, of its sedan models.
The 2019 Ford Fusion Energi is going out with a bang. It’s a well-equipped PHEV that has all of the bells and whistles that you would expect on a luxury four-door sedan, but for the price of a compact car. If a competent, well designed PHEV four-door sedan is on your radar, now is the time to consider the Fusion Energi before it’s gone for good.
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