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First Drive: 2014 Ford Fusion Energi –

Review by Paul Williams, photos by Paul Williams and courtesy Ford Motor Company

The 2014 Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid sedan was available for testing at Ford’s 2014 Preview Event held recently in Dearborn, Michigan. Testing was limited, however, as the challenge was to maximize fuel efficiency by driving in convoy on a closed course, and many journalists in attendance were keen to win a prize doing so.

This apparently meant driving at a snail’s pace in order to run in Electric Vehicle (EV) mode continuously, conserving gasoline in the process.

You can do this of course, although Ford engineers pointed out that their experience with the Fusion Energi saw the best fuel economy at around 70 km/h. Apparently there was no advantage gained by driving at such slow speeds.

All that said, colleague Lesley Wimbush and I weren’t interested in winning the go-slow prize anyway, choosing to break from the pack and drive at normal speeds to get more realistic driving impressions of the new car.

The 2014 Ford Fusion Energi is, like all the new Fusions, a fine looking automobile. Sleek and purposeful in execution, the car gives the impression of being more expensive than it is. Fusions arrive in several flavours starting with the $22,499 Fusion S, which is powered by a 170 horsepower, 2.5L, four-cylinder normally aspirated engine. Two EcoBoost direct-injected engines are also available (178-hp 1.6L and 240-hp 2.0L), along with Hybrid and Energi (plug-in hybrid) versions.

2014 Ford Fusion Energi. Click image to enlarge
The Fusion Energi is a front-wheel drive vehicle (all-wheel drive can be specified with the 2.0L EcoBoost versions) that uses an electronic continuously variable transmission (e-CVT) as opposed to the six-speed automatic with which the gasoline models are equipped.

The 2.0L Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder engine makes 141 hp, but in combination with the electric motor, its total system horsepower rises to 188. In operation the Fusion Energi is blissfully quiet in whatever mode you choose.

Energi is Ford’s proprietary term for ‘Plug-in Hybrid’ which means that after charging this Fusion model via normal household current or a faster 220-volt station, you can drive in EV mode for something over 30 kilometres. If you have access to suitably located charging stations, and depending on your urban driving routine, you could conceivably charge the Lithium-Ion battery in this car as required and run on electricity indefinitely.

Chances are that won’t be the case, though. Once the battery is depleted, the Fusion Energi conveniently operates as a conventional hybrid vehicle and you continue driving in that mode until you recharge the battery.

It’s worth noting that starting with a fully charged battery and a full tank of gasoline, the Fusion Energi can achieve a range of up to 992 kilometres according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to Ford, the EPA anticipates that the Fusion Energi’s fuel consumption could help save customers an estimated $6,850 (US) in fuel costs compared with an average new car over the course of five years.

It is a somewhat pricey vehicle, though, so you will spend to save – if that’s your primary reason for a Fusion Energi purchase.



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